Pablo Estévez Hinojosa
Startup Contributor

Why You Should Chat With Your Customers And How To Get Started

By Pablo Estévez Hinojosa | Wed, 08/03/2022 - 10:00

Let’s start with an absurd analogy. Imagine the world as a series of shopping malls and that only one of them has 84 percent of the people shopping there at the same time. Then, imagine that opening a store at that shopping mall is basically rent free. Would you open your shop there? Most likely, your answer will be yes. As consumer habits and expectations have changed, so should your brand. Today, messaging has become a crucial part of connecting with customers because 84 percent of the time they spend on a screen is on messaging platforms, at least in Latin America.

If you’re only interested in the how-to’s, feel free to skip straight to the checklist; however, I strongly recommend reading through this piece so you can learn in detail why taking advantage of chatting with your clients is the key to your success as a business. 

First, it’s important to understand the emerging market consumer and their habits. As opposed to a developed world consumer, who might have the purchasing power to own a first-generation smartphone, the reality is that most consumers from emerging markets own a third-generation device, or older, which means their devices cannot download more apps due to their lack of memory. However, people who do have that extra storage space on their smartphones, 78 percent to be exact, are refusing to complete a transaction if they are required to download an app in order to complete it in the first place (survey conducted by Heady).

The Latin American population as a whole use their smartphones mostly to communicate through messaging platforms. A recent study announced that there are roughly 120 million Mexicans versus 123 million active WhatsApp accounts in the country, which emphasizes the platform's ubiquity among users. Conclusion: Why are we still investing in designing new and more sophisticated apps that clients won’t (or can’t) download, when the secret formula to your business’ success is to chat through WhatsApp with your customers?

I often hear this question: Does messaging apply to my brand? Many decision-makers say they are worried they won’t be able to connect with their customers because they are late-adopters, older, younger, more specialized, part of a niche market, and so on; yet, Latin American economies have learned to navigate and thrive on messaging platforms.

In my opinion, c-commerce is the future. At GUS, we have proved that selling products through chats has a 10-30 percent higher conversion rate than outbound messages through email. Also, on average, businesses can attend to 8-15 percent more ticket orders when automating their service through a chatbot.

When it comes to customer service, 41 percent of users prefer live chat support over other channels while companies using chatbots can save up to 66 percent over the cost of operating through phone calls because they are able to simultaneously attend multiple clients and can automate up to 80 percent of their consultations, all while raising their Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and their Net Promoter Score (NPS) by about 20 percent on average.

Having said all of this, there’s a pretty compelling reason to start thinking about messaging as your main source of communication with your customers. However, the question is not if you should be on messaging platforms (as we’ve established that you probably should), but how to provide better customer service there so that the difference between providing customer service by a human agent and a chatbot is practically imperceptible. Here’s a small “How To Get Started Guide:”

  1. Ask yourself why customers are calling you.Identify the main reasons why customers are seeking your support and focus on the Top 3-5 reasons.
  2. Map out a customer journey.What is the user doing before, during and after contacting you? Say you have a customer who has not received a package. What do you do to avoid the customer calling you? First, anticipate the call. Try notifying them through a text message their package has been delayed. Second, when they call, pay attention to what your conversational experience is. Is the client asking for a tracking number? Where is the package? What delivery company are you working with? You would need to cross-reference that information with your CRM, right? Your chatbot would need to integrate a CRM and messaging service to track the package and deliver that information to the customer. After, you would follow up with the customer to make sure the delivery and the service provided was satisfactory, and have them rate your service.
  3. Create your sales process.Once you’ve mapped out your customer service use cases, you can start to map out your sales process. In my experience, sales come in two flavors:
  • Assisted (using a call center). This type of customer service focuses on increasing the number of clients calling your customer service department. The problem is clients don’t want to receive phone calls; they prefer to chat. So, send them a WhatsApp message instead and create an assisted sales process with a chatbot.
  • Automated (e-commerce). Follow the before, during and after steps to create an automated conversational experience.

The best formula is to listen to what the customer wants. As a business, the right way to connect with your customers is to be present where they are, contact them when they are expecting you to and provide attention through their preferred channels. Today, messaging is king and the best practice is to place your entire customer journey on messaging platforms.