According to Statista, WhatsApp is the most popular global mobile messenger app, with more than 2 Bn users across 180+ countries
With CM.com’s conversational AI solutions, businesses can respond to customer queries, send personalised marketing messages and enable people to shop and transact on WhatsApp Business Platform
Chennai-based OOR Cabs has started using CM.com’s solutions to allow its customers to book cabs on WhatsApp Business Platform
Communication with customers at every step of the purchase journey is critical for business success. New-age consumers value convenience and experience above all else, and a proactive B2C communication strategy can hugely improve customer experience.
As instant gratification is the need of the hour, businesses are increasingly moving to messaging apps to respond to customer queries, share order updates and keep users informed about the latest deals and discounts, among other things.
In fact, WhatsApp and Messenger by Meta, WeChat and Telegram have emerged as the most popular social messaging apps worldwide, helping businesses connect with a large customer base.
According to Statista, Meta-owned WhatsApp is the most popular global mobile messenger app, with more than 2 Bn users across 180+ countries, followed by WeChat and Facebook Messenger.
“If you look around, almost everyone has WhatsApp installed on their phones. Businesses are realising that to get close to their target audience, they have to be present on the platform. Companies want to execute their sales and marketing communications through WhatsApp,” said a spokesperson from CM.com.
The global cloud software firm for conversational commerce operates as a BSP (business solution provider) on the WhatsApp Business Platform and is also one of Meta’s business partners.
Launched in 2018, the WhatsApp Business Platform enables companies, especially large and medium enterprises, to provide customer support through communication and deploy time-critical, personalised notifications.
BSPs are third-party solution providers that integrate with WhatsApp Business API and facilitate a seamless communication flow for businesses. They enable customer support and personalise user engagement on WhatsApp.
BSPs like CM.com help develop WhatsApp Business chatbots that fully automate conversations and boost customer engagement. Besides, the conversational commerce company works with businesses across sectors and caters to major edtech, healthtech, fintech and ecommerce entities.
CM.com’s suite of solutions also includes a proprietary Mobile Marketing Cloud (MMC), a multichannel engagement solution for mobile messaging channels like SMS and WhatsApp Business Platform, and the Mobile Service Cloud (MSC), an all-in-one chat tool helping support agents respond to customer queries across mobile channels from a single dashboard.
Can WhatsApp Business Platform Cement B2C Engagement To Drive Sales?
Is WhatsApp Business Platform overrated as a business communication tool? That’s not what the data shows. In a hybrid world where attention span is short and time is at a premium, a fast but effective engagement cycle works best for crisis communication and time-bound offers. Here are four critical data points that tell us how customer expectations are rising and what brands should do to stay ahead of the competition.
Consider the following:
- 89% of consumers say they expect a response within 24 hours when they contact a brand.
- Convenience is the key, as a Kantar study reveals. More than 70% of Indians prefer to message instead of emailing or visiting their websites.
- A recent survey by Meta says 7 in 10 businesses across sectors consider business messaging as very/extremely crucial for their business.
- About 80% of the messages sent on WhatsApp are seen within five minutes.
CM.com’s spokesperson sounds another cautionary note, asking businesses to steer clear of random spray-and-pray messaging. Instead, a brand should identify its target audience based on several demographic and behavioural parameters such as gender, age, preference and more.
“Businesses can sync user data captured by CM.com’s customer data platform (CDP) to target and retarget people with the right communication,” he said.
The CDP collects first-party data that customers themselves share with companies. This data is captured from multiple sources (websites, apps, social media, CRM systems and more), helping businesses derive actionable insights by analysing consumer behaviour and preferences.
Here is a case in point.
CM.com works closely with an Indian jewellery brand (the name is not disclosed) to help it drive sales using WhatsApp Business Platform.
“The brand gets a 360° view of its customers using the CDP. Leveraging this data, it targets customers with the right set of communication,” the spokesperson said.
For instance, based on their previous purchases, CM.com’s WhatsApp Business Platform chatbot shows customers similar designs and metal types (gold, silver, platinum and more) in specific price ranges to catch their attention.
“The chatbot acts like a digital sales assistant and shows a customer the right set of products. Clicking on the product link takes them to the website where they can make a purchase. But with WhatsApp Payments (built atop UPI that enables bank transfers), the transaction can happen on the chat window too,” he added.
As WhatsApp Business Platform is a messenger tool, customers can also type their queries in the chat window, and the automated chatbot will respond. If the question is a complex one and the chatbot cannot answer, the prospect will be directed to the sales team using MSC, and the agent at the other end will get in touch with the customer via the same chat window.
Talking about why WhatsApp Business is a go-to channel for business communication, the spokesperson pointed out an interesting trend.
“Today, brands are moving away from websites and building mobile apps because apps offer users a more seamless mobile experience. But when you think about it, one app (WhatsApp) is installed on every user’s mobile. Businesses can leverage WhatsApp Business Platform to execute all activities that may require an app,” he said.
He mentioned another interesting use case highlighting how a brand used WhatsApp Business Platform instead of its mobile app to carry out customer-facing functions.
In February 2022, CM.com partnered with Chennai-based taxi-hailing service OOR Cabs. Initially, it operated like Ola and Uber, where customers requested cabs, and the brand matched their demand with the cabs using its mobile app.
“Now, OOR Cabs has brought the entire app experience on WhatsApp Business Platform using our chatbot. Customers can view their past trips, book cabs based on trip types, fares and car models, and get real-time updates on cab status,” said CM.com’s spokesperson.
Additionally, customers can book and cancel cabs, share their feedback and track the vehicle using OOR Cab’s WhatsApp Business chat window.
“OOR Cabs’ WhatsApp Business digital assistant is a step in the right direction ensuring customers can book anywhere, anytime in the language of their choice. We can provide state-of-art customer experience through the channel that our customers prefer,” said Maria Antony Samy Issac, founder of OOR Cabs.
In August 2022, even cab-hailing giant Uber rolled out its WhatsApp message service to enable users to book cabs using WhatsApp. The service was launched after its successful pilot in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in 2021 and is currently available in Delhi NCR.
What The Future Of Business Communication Will Look Like
“If you ask me, WhatsApp commerce will change the future of B2C interactions. I believe the app will serve as a marketplace of sorts for different businesses. People can book a cab on the app, buy groceries and do a lot more things. The possibilities are endless,” said the spokesperson.
Business messaging is on the rise and it will be an upward trend, according to a recent study by Meta. The report says that 80% of the APAC consumers plan to maintain or increase their interactions with businesses on messaging channels.
According to Gartner, more than 60% of all customer service engagements will be delivered via digital and self-service channels (like social messaging, chat apps and live chat) by 2023.
Given this scenario, brands are increasing and strengthening their presence across these channels, with WhatsApp emerging as one of the most preferred communication tools. Globally, more than 500 Mn businesses use WhatsApp Business daily to communicate with their customers.
Will more businesses join the WhatsApp Business Platform bandwagon soon and seek the services of BSPs like CM.com?
It isn’t easy to predict. Consider how millennials and Gen Z shifted from Facebook to apps like Instagram and Snapchat with the rise of the creator economy. People are always searching for new and convenient techvantages, and the same may happen to WhatsApp as competitors like Signal and Telegram are gaining traction.
Privacy concerns may also put WhatsApp Business at risk.
Eventually, it will boil down to a brand’s communication strategy and how it intends to strike a balance between user data privacy, proactive engagement and personalised targeting.