How WhatsApp Business API is helping brands communicate better with customers

The tool is powering communication for brands by improving their experience with order-related updates and resulting in more tracking-page visits versus SMS notifications

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 8:24 AM



The online marketplace ecosystem banks on seamless communication with customers. WhatsApp Business API is powering communication for brands not just in improving their experience with order-related updates but also resulting in more tracking-page visits versus SMS notifications, cross sell buys and repeat orders.

Brands like BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, ShopClues and many others are heavily using this new tool to reach out to end users. Even though at a nascent stage, WhatsApp is upbeat about the Indian market when it comes to the newly introduced business API and so are brands.

 “The WhatsApp Business API, launched in August 2018, is our solution for larger companies to connect with their customers at scale. We’re still just getting started with the WhatsApp Business API, but the response so far has been very positive — people and businesses are finding the experience valuable,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson.

“For example, MakeMyTrip turned to WhatsApp to reduce the number of calls that its customer care centers receive about refund and e-ticket issues. By offering customer support over WhatsApp, they saw a 15 per cent reduction in refund-related calls to their customer care centers,” the spokesperson said.

 So how does WhatsApp Business API work? Businesses using the WhatsApp Business API can connect with their customers in two ways. “When a customer needs a shipping confirmation or boarding pass, they can give their mobile number to a business on their website, on their app, or in their store to receive the information they have opted-in to receive on WhatsApp. Businesses are charged to send these useful notifications. On the other hand some businesses may provide real-time support on WhatsApp to answer questions about their products or help customers resolve an issue. These are user-initiated messages that are free for the business to respond to,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson from MakeMyTrip said, “Integration with WhatsApp has helped improve our post-sales offerings for our large pool of customers across MakeMyTrip and Goibibo.”

Another ecommerce platform ShopClues also wanted to improve its interaction with customers to drive a better post-sales experience and increase opportunities for cross-sells. The brand like others in the business used SMS to confirm orders and provide a link to the track order status page where customers could track their orders and check out other recommended products or offers.

However they noticed sub-optimal customer engagement via SMS, which resulted in fewer repeat orders, lower customer value and an unsatisfactory service experience. Enter WhatsApp Business API. ShopClues integrated the WhatsApp Business API in July 2018 to increase visits to its platform and increase the number of new orders received per message. As a result, the company achieved, 23 per cent increase in tracking page visits over 4 weeks, 28 per cent increase in cross-sells over 4 weeks and 57 per cent increase in new orders per message sent over 4 weeks.

Parikshit Dar, Co-founder and Director at BookMyShow, said with their reach widening in India and as a global communication messaging platform, WhatsApp helps them expand the brand’s reach across millions of existing and new customers, further improving customer experience at BookMyShow for transactional communication.

“Almost 95 per cent of our customer base uses smartphones to book tickets on the platform where WhatsApp is pervasive. An in-house survey revealed that a very large number of users (about 98 per cent) prefer communication via WhatsApp instead of SMS or email,” he said.

“WhatsApp helps us further enhance the customer experience for transactional communication, not just in India but also globally, at a time when BookMyShow is expanding its reach across global markets in the Middle East, South East Asia amongst others. WhatsApp thus, can become a unified, single channel of communication to our customers globally,” Dar added.

Talking about the kind of brands using the business API tool the most, the WhatsApp spokesperson said, “We’ve started out by focusing on businesses in industries like travel/hospitality, retail and banking, to name a few. These are verticals where people often have customer service inquiries and find getting notifications useful. WhatsApp is bringing businesses onto the platform slowly and thoughtfully. Over time, we'll bring on additional businesses in other sectors.”


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