Legacy contact center systems were efficient in providing customer service over voice and email channels. But with the rise of messaging, businesses need new solutions.
In an era where WhatsApp is the dominant communication channel for one-to-one communication, WhatsApp has built a product that enables medium and large businesses to connect with all their customers from a single number. The product is called WhatsApp for Business API.
WhatsApp for Business Solution Provider (BSP) is a value-added service provider that allows companies to use WhatsApp as an official communication channel.
WhatsApp BSP is a cloud software vendor born to help companies easily manage scalable customer conversations with their customers.
This article will allow you to understand the main capabilities of the software "WhatsApp Conversation Management" and figure out the best choice for your Business.
Chatbots are softwares with visual interfaces designed to have a valuable conversation with a scalable number of customers 24/7.
Theoretically, The chatbot has to automate the greetings, qualify the customer, respond to his frequent queries, perform some transactions, and hand over to human agents when needed.
The goal of a chatbot can be either informational or transactional, or both at the same time.
Informational chatbots automate information requests, are trained to recognize a certain number of intents, and respond accordingly. Otherwise, the chatbot will route to a human agent.
If your Business has a knowledge base of customers' frequently asked questions, the informational chatbot will be valuable for you.
The transactional chatbot can fulfill a purchase transaction, a refund transaction, a check status transaction, and a long list of other automation.
If your Business has automated some business transactions in self-service mode, and this automation can be made available through API, the transactional chatbot is the best option. Otherwise, the transactional chatbot will not be valuable for your Business.
Unfortunately, most businesses have a limited knowledge base and few, if any, APIs to empower automation. In this case, the chatbot's role will be limited to the customer qualification and handover to a human agent.
Delivery tracking and appointment booking always remain the functions that customers appreciate most to see fully automated.
Once the customer is qualified, the chatbot relies entirely on the routing engine to automate the conversation handover to the right customer-facing team.
There are two ways to route the customer conversation from the chatbot to a human agent:
Deliberate customer choice:
In this case, the chatbot will list all the available teams to serve the customer and hand over the conversation based on the selected choice without referring to the routing engine.
In this case, the chatbot will route the customer conversation based on the routing engine's preconfigured automation. The routing engine uses the customer profile and a list of predefined rules to assign the conversation to a given team.
Routing based on the customer's permanent tagging on the system: new customer, existing customer, VIP customer, French speaker, located in the north of the city… the routing engine can use the CRM tags to route the customer to a specific facing team automatically.
Routing based on the customer's temporary status on the system: A Customer with an open support ticket, expecting a package delivery or following up on the stock status in a specific store... The routing engine can use operational systems status to route the customer to a particular facing team automatically.
Thanks to the geolocalisation feature of WhatsApp, Businesses can identify the customer's location and can be routed to the nearest shop that can handle his request.
The routing capability is crucial to your Business if you need to automate the assignment of the customer conversations to your customer-facing teams as per a preset list of scenarios.
Agent Console Capabilities
The most sophisticated chatbots can handle up to 30% of your customer inquiries, so human agents must take over the conversations at least 70% of the time. Therefore, WhatsApp Business solution providers would need to equip agents with an interface designed to support high productivity and efficiency without the need for other software and screen switching.
The Agent console includes a shared team inbox where agents can visualize the customer conversations and is considered the core of conversational customer engagement platforms.
Multi teams shared inbox is a basic feature to create different teams inboxes if you need your communications to be routed according to the customer need: sales team inbox, marketing team inbox, support team inbox, shop number one inbox, account manager inbox...
Aside from reading and replying to customer conversations, the empowerment of the agents goes through many features embedded into the agent console:
When the number of customers is higher than inbound agents, you need a system that will handle the queue.
The most famous queuing systems used in over 90% of the cases are:
Round robin: agents take numerical orders and receive calls in that order.
Fewest Calls: Calls are sent to the agents who (at the time) have received the fewest number of messages.
Single customer view:
This feature allows the agent to see the history of the conversation and the customer profile in the corner of the screen; this will enable wiser decision-making for the agents.
The capability to assign the customer conversation to a more skilled agent empowered to solve the customer is important.
Status of the customer conversation:
Resolve and snooze customer conversation: having a different status for the customer conversion will allow the agents to segregate between the open and closed conversations and mark conversations as resolved or snooze them.
This feature will allow the agents to make a note about the customer interaction, and it can be valuable for future interactions with the customer or collaborations with the colleague agents
This feature is critical for the agents for businesses that need to share certain documents or video or voice notes.
Localized languages interface:
If your team's primary language is Arabic or Russian or whatever language, it is important for the agents to have an interface that matches their native tongue
This important feature allows agents to respond quickly to customers based on predefined replies without having to type them every time.
When activated on a given inbox, this feature allows the agents to have fully private communication with their customers. Your sales team will appreciate having complete control over their customer communication.
Access on the go (mobile App):
In-browser access is default access to the agent console. But having a mobile app with notifications capabilities is imperative if your front liners are not sitting behind a desk during all working hours.
The agent console remains the most critical capability for a WhatsApp Business Solution provider, so ensure all your needed features are available.
Reporting is key to monitoring the quality of the customer conversation and the employee's performance.
Here are some of the most relevant reports that you may require for choosing your WhatsApp for Business solution provider: the conversation statistics report, customer resolution statistics report, and the performance per employee report.
Customer Relationship Management Capabilities
This tool aggregates all the customer information based on their communication with the chatbot or the human agents, WhatsApp number, Name, language, location, email, product interest, or any other information collected during the conversation.
The capability to store the customer information and tag them is critical for nurturing the client in the future Customer's contact details:
Route the customer conversation to the right agent as per his profile
Extract a segment of customers as per behavior to launch a promotional marketing campaign
The option is adding custom fields in the CRM can be valuable to your business.
Marketing campaign capabilities
As of June 2021, the only countries where WhatsApp allows Businesses to run marketing and promotional campaigns are Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapour, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Of course, Businesses are not allowed to spam the customer, and an active option is always required.
Most of the WhatsApp Business Solution Providers don't have the marketing functionality out of the box available, but it is in the roadmap.
Businesses must be present on all the digital channels their customers adopt if they want to grow their revenues.
WhatsApp is the dominant messaging app globally but not the only one within your customers' community.
If your target audience uses Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, or any other social messaging app, you have to make sure that your Business is available over these channels.
Your WhatsApp for Business Solution provider should handle all of these channels out of the box.
It is also interesting that your solution supports live chat with your website visitors.
Today businesses are using several software solutions to run their operation: a customer relationships management system, a billing system, a Point of sales system, an appointment system, a delivery management system, an eCommerce system, and the list go on. And because the WhatsApp conversation management Platform is a system of engagements. It must be connected with core business systems to make the conversations and transactions easier to complete through automation.
It is essential to have a Conversational customer engagement Platform that can integrate with your other business systems. This will allow higher automation and ensure that the chatbot can offer automated transactions in a self-service model. In addition, integrating the Business's systems into the agent console will allow an efficient operation and service to the customers without juggling between screens.
Managed service capabilities:
Although not proposed by all the software vendors, this added value service is essential to guarantee the success of your conversational transformation.
The ability to tailor the integration to the internal business systems out of the box is a value-added service that some vendors offer.
The chatbot conversation Design is key to a great customer experience, so getting the expert's support is vital if it is your first time.
Training the agent teams and supporting commercial planning and launch will add value to the journey of adoption.
Especially during your first experience, hiring a software vendor to support the integration process, the conversation design, and the team training is essential.
Getting WhatsApp as a communication channel is not a choice anymore. You should carefully pick your WhatsApp Business Solution Provider that gives you a competitive advantage.
Choosing the right software doesn't mean selecting the platform with the most exhaustive set of features rather than hiring the platform that fulfills your business needs.
Most Businesses choose their providers based on their chatbot capabilities and figure out that they don't have enough automation available through API.
Businesses need to focus more on the agent console capability because it turns out that customers prefer to talk to humans in most of their cases.
The key to success in your conversational transformation is to start with the channels that your customer widely adopted, choose an intuitive agent console, and automate a single impactful use case. Then, step by step, continue adding new channels and use cases as per the learning curve of your agents and customers.