November 30, 2022 10 min read

How to use WhatsApp for customer service (tools & best practices)

Written byLuuk
Whatsapp as customer service tool

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app worldwide. With over 2 billion active users, there’s a good chance your customers use it to talk to friends and family every day.

In recent years, businesses have also started to adopt the channel. With WhatsApp Business, they generate leads, send updates about their products and offer customer service. But offering customer service via WhatsApp isn’t necessarily the same as on any other channel. The expectations, etiquette, and the channel’s features are simply different than email or live chat.

In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about offering customer service via WhatsApp. We’ll discuss whether you need to use the WhatsApp Business app or the API, how to set up your own WhatsApp customer support tool and share some best practices for offering customer service via WhatsApp.

Should you use the WhatsApp Business app or API?

The WhatsApp Business app was created for small businesses with a low number of incoming messages. The app can only be managed by four people at the same time and has limited automation options. This works just fine when you run a small business, but you’ll need another solution when you run a middle or large-sized business.

For middle and large-sized businesses, WhatsApp built the WhatsApp Business API. The API has features that enable teams to offer top-notch customer service via WhatsApp:

  • Manage conversations with more than four users
  • Automate conversations and workflows with WhatsApp chatbots, rules, and more
  • Get in-depth insights (customer satisfaction, response time, resolution time, etc.)
  • Send status updates (order confirmations, flight updates, shipping updates, etc.)
  • Add a WhatsApp chat to your website

How to set up your WhatsApp customer service tool

If you’re looking for a professional WhatsApp customer service tool, you’ll need to use the API. Since the API doesn’t come with its own interface, you need a tool like Trengo to access it. Trengo is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, which means we can connect you to the API in no time.

When you choose Trengo as your WhatsApp customer service tool, the process of getting set up will look as follows:

  1. Start a 14-day free trial.
  2. Navigate to settings → WhatsApp Business.
  3. Click “Connect your number”.
  4. Read the overview that pops up carefully.
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5. Click ‘Get started’.
6. Confirm that you have a Facebook Business account. Don’t have one yet? Create one first.
7. Now, you’ll see an overview that gives you information on your phone number.

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8. Confirm that you have a phone number that meets the requirements. If you don’t, contact Trengo’s customer support via [email protected].
9. Connect your Facebook account and create a WhatsApp Business account. You’ll need the following info:

  • The name of your company
  • The address of your business
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10. Click ‘Continue with Facebook’.
11. The name of your account and your number are automatically filled in. Check if this information is correct before you go on.
12. Everything correct? Click ‘Next’.

Awesome! 🎉 You have successfully activated your number on the WhatsApp Business API.

13. Go to https://business.facebook.com/ and log in with your Facebook account.
14. Navigate to ‘Security center’ and click ‘Start Verification’. If you don’t see this button, your account may have already been verified.

Best practices to offer high-quality customer service via WhatsApp

Thinking of offering the same type of customer service on WhatsApp as you did on email? Please reconsider. Here are some best practices for offering good customer service via WhatsApp.

Let customers know you’re active on WhatsApp

First of all, you need to make sure that customers know that you’re available on WhatsApp. There are a couple of ways to go about this.

A great option is to add a WhatsApp chat to your website. This enables customers to reach out to you via WhatsApp while browsing your products. You can attract extra attention to the chat by triggering a greeting message after an X amount of time.

Another effective way to inform customers that you have a WhatsApp number is by adding a QR code to your marketing materials. The QR code will take them directly to a WhatsApp conversation with your business.

📚 Learn how to set up a WhatsApp Business QR code.

Understand the WhatsApp etiquette

WhatsApp is not the same as email. I repeat: WhatsApp is not the same as email 📢

There are a few basic etiquette guidelines to follow when using WhatsApp for customer service:

  1. Respond to messages promptly. Customers expect timely responses, so make sure to check your messages regularly and reply as soon as you can.
  2. Keep your messages concise and to the point. Customers appreciate clear and concise communication, so try to avoid long and rambling messages. Where an email with only two lines looks careless, a WhatsApp message with multiple paragraphs looks just as weird.
  3. Even though WhatsApp is a more informal communication channel than others, make sure to be respectful and professional in your interactions with customers. This means using polite language, avoiding offensive or abusive language, and following the other general rules of etiquette for business communication.

Set clear response time expectations

Customers have high expectations of customer service via WhatsApp, especially when it comes to speed. It’s important to manage those expectations, especially when you’re busy. By setting up a WhatsApp Business greeting message, the customer gets an instant response to their first message with more information on when you will be getting back to them.

Go the extra mile after a sale

Good customer service isn’t special anymore, it’s expected. To impress customers, you’ll need to go the extra mile. This means you’ll need to be proactive. Ask that customer if the product you recommended is working for them. Tell that one customer the product they asked for is back in stock.

If you’re busy, you can also automate this process. At Polar Company, they automatically send a WhatsApp message to their customers that explains how to get the most out of their products after the sale. A smart way to go the extra mile, without necessarily having to put in the effort with every single customer.

Send proactive updates (order confirmations, shipping updates)

When you order a product online, you’re used to getting info about it via email. Order confirmations. Shipping updates. Payment requests. You name it.

By integrating your webshop software (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, etc.) to the WhatsApp Business API, you can also send these messages via WhatsApp.

If you just sold somebody a product via WhatsApp Business, they will now also get updates about that product via WhatsApp. This means a huge part of the customer experience can now take place on one of your customer’s most-used apps.

Create quick replies to answer frequently asked questions

As a customer service agent, you spend much of your time answering the same questions. These questions don’t take any brain capacity, but they do take time to answer. When you automate this process, you save both yourself and the customer a lot of time. A great way to automate this is by creating quick replies for your entire team.

📚 Read more: 15 life-saving quick reply messages for WhatsApp Business

Automate the customer experience with bots

WhatsApp chatbots can handle a wide range of tasks, including answering common questions, providing product or service information, troubleshooting technical issues, and even making appointments or reservations.

An example of a customer service conversation on WhatsApp via a bot.

Overall, the goal of your bot should be to provide customers with fast, efficient, and personalized assistance, without the need for human intervention. This can help you improve the customer experience and reduce the workload of your customer service teams.

If building a WhatsApp bot sounds complex, it doesn’t need to be. With a tool like Trengo, you can put together your own bot without using a single line of code.

Keep track of customer happiness

Monitoring customer happiness is important for a number of reasons. First, happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers, which is essential for the long-term success of any business. By providing excellent customer service and ensuring that customers are satisfied with their experience, businesses can foster customer loyalty and build a positive reputation.

Second, monitoring customer happiness can help businesses find potential issues or areas for improvement. For example, if data shows that a particular product or service is consistently receiving negative feedback, you can alert the appropriate team and work to find a solution. This can help you to prevent minor issues from becoming major problems and keep customers happy.

With the WhatsApp Business API, measuring customer happiness becomes easy. With metrics like response time, resolution time, number of conversations, and more, you will always get a clear view of how your team is doing. If you’re looking for qualitative feedback, you can even send out CSAT surveys via WhatsApp. You can either do this manually or automate this every time an agent closes a conversation.

Improve your WhatsApp customer service by collecting qualitative feedback via a CSAT survey.

📚 Read more: WhatsApp Business analytics: how to get insights from customer interactions

Start offering customer service on WhatsApp today

When you want to start offering customer service via WhatsApp, it is key to use a WhatsApp customer service platform. Trengo is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, enabling teams to use all the features they need to offer the service their customers deserve.

Start a 14-day free Trengo trial

Written by Luuk

Growth Marketeer & WhatsApp Business Expert at Trengo.

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