As of January 2023, WhatsApp is officially the most popular global mobile messenger app in 63/100 surveyed countries, with two billion monthly active users, 90% of whom are active on a daily basis and use it on average 22 times per day! In 2022 it generated $906m which was almost all from the WhatsApp for Business app. This figure suggests that brands have recognised its potential to boost marketing, sales, customer support and HR conversations, driven by consumers’ changing communication patterns.
As messaging apps become a primary communication channel, consumers increasingly expect to use it for brand interactions as well. An earlier global survey reported that 66% of online adults prefer to communicate with a business via messaging. Similarly, the 2023 Mobilesquared report on CPaaS trends 2020-2026 revealed that WhatsApp is now the third most popular consumers’ communication channel.
Benefits of WhatsApp for Business
The growing use of WhatsApp for both personal communications and business interactions offers an important opportunity for brands looking to increase customer engagements. Its key advantages include:
- Global reach. With globally distributed userbase, WhatsApp has extensive reach that enables businesses to effectively interact with audiences in their target locale. This helps them expand their customer base, tap into new markets, and meet their customers on their preferred channel.
- Secure communication. WhatsApp prioritises user privacy and security by implementing end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication. The messages exchanged between businesses and customers remain confidential and protected from unauthorised access, enabling brands to foster trust, enhance brand awareness, and build loyalty. Even the financial services organisations can use it to securely share information about customers’ account balances and transactions, as well as connect them to support agents.
- Personalisation. With personalisation helping businesses drive 10-15% revenue lift, WhatsApp is a strategic sales and marketing tool. Its contact list-based approach helps companies communicate directly with individuals, providing personalised support and tailored offers. By addressing customers by name and customising campaigns to their specific needs, they can foster stronger relationships, enhancing customer experience (CX), loyalty, and overall satisfaction.
- Immediacy. WhatsApp enables real-time communication, facilitating instant responses to customer queries and concerns. This accessibility significantly improves CX as 90% of customers consider “immediate” responses critically important for their overall support experience. By ensuring quick resolution times and providing instant updates, brands can adequately address consumers’ needs and establish themselves as reliable service providers.
- Rich media. WhatsApp supports various rich media formats, including images, emoji, videos, audio messages, and documents. Businesses can leverage these capabilities to create visually appealing and engaging content. By sharing product images, demonstration videos, or promotional offers, brands can capture customers’ attention and convey their message more effectively, increasing the chances of conversions.
- Cost-effective two-way communication. WhatsApp allows companies to interact with customers cost-effectively, at scale. Unlike one-way communication channels, WhatsApp fosters interactive conversations between businesses and customers. This allows for real-time feedback, enabling businesses to gain valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and expectations. By actively listening to customers’ feedback, businesses can adapt their strategies and deliver improved products and services.
WhatsApp for Business Use Cases
Thanks to its immediacy and availability, WhatsApp enables businesses to enhance customer engagements across all key departments. Below is a list of the most common use cases in Marketing, Sales, Customer Support and HR.
1. Build Awareness and Engagement
Businesses can create a dedicated business profile on WhatsApp to provide customers with essential information like contact details, location, operating hours, and a brief description of products and services. This builds credibility and brand awareness. Using WhatsApp’s interactive features like polls, quizzes, and contests allows businesses to gather valuable insights and feedback while boosting engagement.
2. Implement Personalised Campaigns
WhatsApp allows businesses to send targeted messages based on customer preferences and behaviours. This feature can be leveraged to create personalised marketing campaigns offering exclusive discounts, product recommendations, and event invitations. By tailoring messages to individual customers, businesses can enhance engagement and drive conversions. With WhatsApp’s one-on-one messaging capabilities, businesses can send personalised communications in the same way friends use the app, creating a more intimate and meaningful customer experience. By integrating AI chatbots with WhatsApp, businesses can further streamline communications, as well as analyse customer preferences, purchase history, and browsing behaviour to offer personalised product recommendations.
3. Work with Influencers & Collaborative Consumers
Businesses can collaborate with influencers and customer brand ambassadors to reach wider audiences, utilising WhatsApp to share exclusive content, host Q&A sessions, or organize virtual events. Encouraging user-generated content sharing through WhatsApp Groups or Broadcast Lists fosters a community and amplifies brand advocacy. For example, a makeup brand can use WhatsApp to send personalised beauty recommendations, exclusive sale notifications, and fashionable makeup tips to customers enrolled in their loyalty scheme and offer them extra VIP points for sharing photos of themselves rocking the looks in the WhatsApp Group. A great real-life example is that, during the pandemic, Estée Lauder used WhatsApp and an integrated AI chatbot to provide customers with personalised skincare consultations to replace in-store consultations.
WhatsApp for Sales
4. Generate Leads
WhatsApp is a great tool to guide prospects and customers through the entire sales funnel. Seamless lead generation is enabled by integrating WhatsApp’s Click-to-Chat feature on websites, social media, and digital advertisements, enabling potential customers to initiate conversations effortlessly. You can fully automate lead capturing, routing, and tracking, and improve the efficiency of sales teams with WhatsApp’s business API. Marketing and sales representatives can communicate with prospects in real-time addressing inquiries and providing product information to lower cart abandonment and increase sales.
5. Enable Frictionless Browsing
Inventory catalogues including product title, price, description, website link and product code can be created within the WhatsApp Business Messaging account with options to customise in alignment with a specific sales process. The Collections feature helps businesses sort Catalogues into themed content. For example, a clothing brand can provide customers with a range of clothes and accessories suitable for the beach, spring or Christmas parties. These can be shared in 1-2-1 customer conversations Broadcast Messages, and Groups, and via AI chatbot, making browsing much easier and increasing engagement and sales conversions. Businesses can create a seamless end-to-end sales experience by enabling the WhatsApp Payment feature to allow customers to checkout and complete the entire sales process within WhatsApp itself.
6. Send Timely Notifications
WhatsApp provides customers with real-time transactional updates like shipping notifications, delivery statuses, or ETAs. This proactive approach keeps customers informed at every step, ensures transparency, and builds trust, enhancing customer experience and reducing support inquiries.
7. Automate the Sales Funnel
Integrating an AI chatbot with WhatsApp allows businesses to engage with potential customers, collect information, qualify leads and send real-time order tracking updates. It can ask relevant questions, gather contact details, offer product information for a more streamlined lead generation process. For example, a travel agency can use a WhatsApp-integrated AI chatbot to interact with customers and ask about their preferred destinations, travel dates, and budget. The chatbot can then provide customised travel packages and capture leads for the agency’s sales team to follow up with a phone call. The chatbot’s efficiency results in an improved customer experience and higher conversion rates. Post-sale, WhatsApp also enables cross-selling and upselling to existing customers.
WhatsApp for Customer Support
8. Implement First Class Support
Establishing dedicated customer support channels on WhatsApp means customers can seek assistance, report issues, or request refunds quickly. Integrating AI chatbots with WhatsApp Business Messaging can revolutionise customer support, as they enable self-service and can handle FAQs, provide instant responses, and proactively initiate conversations. By automating routine tasks, businesses can free up resources, reduce response times, and ensure 24/7 availability for customer queries.
9. Get Feedback
WhatsApp’s interactive nature makes it an ideal platform for gathering customer feedback. Conducting polls and requesting reviews through WhatsApp, allows customers to share their opinions, giving valuable insights for product improvements, service enhancements, and overall customer satisfaction.
10. Segment by Interests
WhatsApp groups can be created for specific customer segments or interests as valuable platforms for customer engagement and community building. Members can share their experiences, ask questions, and receive exclusive content and offers which can reduce the number of escalated customer support calls, freeing up agents for more complex cases.
A good example is a wearables company offering customer support through WhatsApp, allowing customers to reach out with technical issues or queries. The company can initiate proactive engagement by sending product tips to ensure customers get the most out of their purchases, while reducing the need for support. A WhatsApp group for users of the wearables and accompanying apps creates a community of brand advocates to whom the business can market new features, new tech products, and events, cross-selling and upselling as well as offering support. The community of users can also support one another by solving FAQs, organising virtual meetups and friendly competitions and recommending other products in the range.
This approach was embraced by a leading insurance provider in Spain, Mutua Madrileña. They created personalised WhatsApp messages on 1,000+ topics and enabled customers to submit automobile accident claims via their WhatsApp virtual assistant. In the first six months of using WhatsApp they saw a 300% growth in customer opt-in rates. They received nearly half a million customer support messages reducing live agent calls by 23%. They also sped up their claim processing by 30%.
WhatsApp for Human Resources
11. Streamline Recruitment
WhatsApp can be used to communicate with job applicants, schedule interviews, and share documentation. Candidates can benefit from a personalised and engaging recruitment experience with video introductions or company culture presentations via WhatsApp. It can also be used to share training materials, ensuring employees have timely and easy access to relevant information. Virtual onboarding sessions via WhatsApp enable new hires to connect with their teams, ask questions, and access and sign their starter documents.
12. Engage Employees
WhatsApp Groups are great for internal communication and facilitating team collaboration and project updates. The Broadcast feature enables company-wide announcements, policy updates, and employee recognition to build a sense of community and shared goals.
When you consider the extent to which WhatsApp can be used in Marketing, Sales, Customer Support and HR across a wide range of sectors, it makes sense that it is one of the most popular messaging apps for businesses. Its wide range of features and the regular development of new capabilities enable highly innovative customer communications and quickly boost awareness, engagement, acquisition, conversions, and loyalty whilst reducing churn and automating to save on operational costs. What’s not to like?