We at Parkmobile, started WhatsApp Customer Care over a year ago, august 2015. With the word “mobile” completing our brand name and running a full “mobile first” business it was an obvious next step in our customer care strategy.
A year later it is safe to say that WhatsApp is a full grown channel within our Customer Care team. Are we 100% happy yes … no … let’s say it has its ups and downs.
When we started in 2015 our primary goal was to see if WhatsApp would be a communication channel that our customers felt comfortable with. NPS NIPO research at the time stated that:
“73 percent of customers prefer a chat and WhatsApp in comparison to e-mail.”
In addition we expected the following:
- Ease for customers;
- Shift contact from calls to WhatsApp, to improve planning;
- Better way of sharing information, by sending screenshots and movies to the customer;
- Brand Awareness, being first to market early adopting company (yes I’m still a marketer).
If we look at these goals we can tick all boxes. Transition from call to WhatsApp has happened, in a limited factor. Due to our enormous customer growth it’s difficult to add an exact figure.
We answer 97% of our chats within 30 minutes when our team is online. (1) Our average response time is quicker than other channels, calls being the obvious exception. An average conversation has 2,4 messages. There is a privacy downside in WhatsApp communication as we are not at liberty to request payment information, personal documentation (copy of license plate registration) via WhatsApp. As a result, 15% of these communications will result in an e-mail-thread and the conversation is more or less repeated. If we look at another positive aspect; multitasking. Agents can run several chats parallel of each other.
Where Facebook and Twitter have, to some extent, social adjustments due to its open nature. WhatsApps seems to be “heaven” for people that feel mistreated by the product and simply want to “badmouth”. Not getting a direct response seems to be a trigger to suddenly send multiple chats in a row, as the overall feeling is that WhatsApp is more anonymous. Where as in a phone call it is easier to handle emotion. Our experience is that non-live contacts have a higher repeat-ratio / lower first time fix and agents are repeating the same information to customers unwilling to listen.
WhatsApp does not officially support the commercial use of its messenger services and their T&C allows them to block users who appear to use the medium as such. Although there are various businesses who offer this medium, most of them have a back-up plan (e.g. a range of phone numbers) in place to ensure continuous support if a number is blocked. It appears that as long as WhatsApp is not used as a massmedia channel to distribute commercial messages, in our case conversation are initiated by our customers and not by Parkmobile, WhatsApp condones the use.
The Terms and conditions of WhatsApp state: You agree not to collect or harvest any personally identifiable information, including phone number, from the Service, nor to use the communication systems provided by the Service for any commercial solicitation or spam purposes. You agree not to spam, or solicit for commercial purposes, any users of the Service.
Conclusion 1 year WhatsApp Customer Care
“How to handle emotion…”
- Ease of use for our customers;
- Transition from calls to WhatsApp, keeps for better planning;
- It fits with our brand and product.
- Hard to handle emotions through a WhatsApp chat;
- Transition of email towards WhatsApp is not as visible as it is from phone to WA.
- Phone support traditionally carries a higher Customer Satisfaction than non-live support and also offers fewer repeat-transactions. I.E., the churn towards non-live contacts impacts overall customer happiness (at least of those who contacted us).
So yes we see that WhatsApp is a full grown channel that is being received positively by our customers and Customer Care team.
Our next step. Introduce WhatsApp in Belgium, let’s see how we will handle the multilingual challenge of Flemish and Walloon (French).
If you have a question, feel free to send a WhatsApp: 0611776777