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Het gevaar van zakelijk WhatsAppen, en hoe het te ontwijken

Steeds meer bedrijven zetten WhatsApp in voor zakelijke doeleinden. De ene groep doet aan reclame via WhatsApp (met verzendlijsten om enthousiaste berichten over sales en acties door te sturen). De andere groep gebruikt WhatsApp puur en alleen om persoonlijke, laagdrempelige, mobiele service te bieden aan klanten en andere geinteresseerde consumenten.

De ene groep ervaart regelmatig problemen met WhatsApp HQ; de andere veel minder vaak. Dat komt omdat klantenservice perfect past binnen de filosofie van WhatsApp. Co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton willen graag dat hun chat app alleen draait om vrienden, familie en collega’s. Centraal staan persoonlijke interacties - die beide partijen verwelkomen.

Maar zelfs bedrijven die WhatsApp inzetten voor klantenservice en dus eigenlijk niets verkeerds doen, ondervinden weerstand van Koum & co. Waarom? Dat is nog onduidelijk. De kans is vrij groot dat WhatsApp commerciele partijen afweert omdat ze zelf iets commercieels aan het bedenken zijn, waarmee ze geld kunnen verdienen.

Op de werktafel van CEO Jan Koum lag lange tijd een kattebelletje met daarop 6 woorden van WhatsApps mede-oprichter: ‘No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!’ Dit briefje hielp Koum om te focussen. Het herinnerde hem eraan dat WhatsApp populair was geworden dankzij het gebrek aan advertenties, en dat WhatsApp zo puur moest blijven. Tot op de dag van vandaag draait de app om 1-op-1 interacties, die beide partijen verwelkomen. WhatsApp werkt nu zelf aan een manier om commerciele partijen onderdeel te laten worden van de WhatsApp-populatie.

Tot het zover is, zullen ze tegenstribbelen en al de te actieve bedrijven blokkeren. Die ‘block’ kan zelfs permanent zijn, wat betekent dat je een nieuwe nummer aan WhatsApp moet koppelen en je hele klantenbestand van nul opbouwen. Gelukkig is het mogelijk om de radar van WhatsApp te ontwijken: door hun regels nauwelijks te schenden.

5 tips om onder de radar van WhatsApp te blijven

De lijn tussen wat voor WhatsApp acceptabel is en wat niet, is flinterdun en schimmig. Dus echt zonder risico’s is het nooit. Als je het vanuit het standpunt van WhatsApp bekijkt, is het lastig voor hen om te weten of je slecht bezig bent (klanten spamt), of juist goed (klanten helpt).

Bedrijven die WhatsApp succesvol willen inzetten, blijven dus maar beter weg van de grijze zones. Zelf geven wij de volgende tips aan onze klanten mee:

#1: Denk vanuit de klant

De makkelijkste manier voor WhatsApp om te weten of je spamt is dankzij gebruikers die aangeven dat dat zo is. De ‘rapporteer spam’-knop is er niet voor niets: als te veel van je klanten deze weten te vinden, lig je eruit. Let dus op wat je verstuurt en denk altijd vanuit de beleving van de klant.

#2: Gebruik geen automatische antwoorden

Met het gebruik van macro’s (automatisch voorgeprogrammeerde antwoorden) kun je soms tijd besparen. Maar als je dit op grote schaal doet, gaan de alarmbellen bij WhatsApp af, want vrienden versturen elkaar geen voorgeprogrammeerde berichten.

Als je per se macro’s wilt inzetten (om de klant te begroeten bijvoorbeeld), wijzig ze dan telkens lichtjes. En niet alleen om de WhatsApp-radar te ontwijken, maar ook om je klanten het gevoel te geven dat ze meer voor je betekenen dan een voorgeprogrammeerd zinnetje dat je even snel hebt geselecteerd.

#3: Neem zelf niet het initiatief

Mensen die je kent en met wie je WhatsApp-gesprekken voert, staan in je contactenlijst. Vanuit die gedachte is het voor WhatsApp dan ook niet logisch dat je berichten stuurt naar een groot aantal mensen die niet in je contactenlijst staat. Omdat die nummers niet in de lijst staan, lijkt het er namelijk op dat je die mensen niet kent.

De makkelijkste manier om dit probleem te vermijden, is door je klant de eerste stap te laten nemen. Hij heeft een vraag, jij antwoordt. Het initiatief neem je zelf nooit (behalve als het geen nieuwe conversatie is). Het gebruik van WhatsApp als een klantenservice-kanaal is op die manier volgens de regels: je beantwoordt gewoon de vragen van iemand die je al kent.

#4: Doe niet opdringerig

Als de liefde van je leven je berichten niet meer beantwoordt, dan weet je hoe laat het is. En zo kan ook je klant wat ruimte nodig hebben. Meerdere berichten blijven sturen terwijl je geen antwoord krijgt, is gewoon niet handig. Zeker niet als je dit op grote schaal blijft doen. WhatsApp is nu eenmaal een kanaal van persoonlijke interacties. En een interactie komt altijd van beide kanten, in tegenstelling tot social media als Facebook, Twitter en Instagram.

#5: Gebruik human behaviour software

Bedrijven die veel WhatsApp-conversaties voeren, versturen al snel meerdere berichten per minuut. Zeker als ze met meerdere medewerkers gebruikmaken van software om hun WhatsApp-berichten te managen. Hier dreigt het gevaar dat er berichten op exact hetzelfde moment - op de seconde na - naar een heleboel mensen worden verstuurd.

Waarom is dat een probleem? Een niet-zakelijke WhatsApp-gebruiker (met 10 vingers en een smartphone) zou dit natuurlijk niet kunnen. Daarom is het belangrijk dat de software die je gebruikt ook een “human behaviour”-algoritme heeft ingebouwd zodat het berichtenverkeer niet het menselijke overstijgt.

Heb je een groter volume van klantvragen en wil je toch sneller antwoorden, kijk dan eens naar Casengo. Onze software beschikt over een ‘human behaviour’ verzend-algoritme, wat inhoudt dat het WhatsApp-gedrag van Casengo-gebruikers absoluut niet robotisch aandoet, en daardoor veel makkelijker onder de radar blijft.

"More online than offline stores in the Netherlands"

Journalist Hans-Lukas Zuurman wrote an interesting piece in one of Holland’s national newspapers today. He interviewed our very own Ron van Valkengoed about the number of online stores in the Netherlands. Even though our latest ‘Webwinkel Monitor’ (a whitepaper about Dutch online stores) was about 2014, we always enjoy sharing our knowledge and expertise about online sales and customer service…

A few insights taken from Zuurman’s piece:

  • Holland reached a tipping point: the country now has more online stores than brick ‘n’ mortar ones. It’s fair to say there are at least 100.000 online points of sale, as opposed to 99.000 physical shops.
  • In 2015, Casengo developed a program that mapped online stores and determined a few notable variables, such as the type of technology used, the website’s speed, the physical location of its owner. As Casengo’s Ron van Valkengoed explains: ‘That was a very time-consuming job, because we had to check all the results manually. We then contacted the main suppliers of online store software to crosscheck our findings with theirs. They said there were a lot more online stores than we counted, so our estimate is pretty conservative, to say the least.’
  • The biggest sales are made by the 200 biggest online stores, such as CoolBlue and Bol.com. Ron van Valkengoed: ‘This trend will definitely be continued in 2016. Today’s customers demand high quality and low pricing. They want to enjoy a relaxed shopping spree online, 24/7, with a large selection of goods to choose from and outstanding service, for instance through live chat or WhatsApp.’

"Casengo's WhatsApp integration is the best in the game"

More and more companies are discovering the benefits of Casengo’s WhatsApp integration. Take Dennis Jurgensen, co-founder of London based Tep Wireless. He uses our integration to stay on top of his game - a bit in the same way his customers use his product to stay on top of their game.

Tep, partnering with the biggest network operators worldwide, rents out pocket wifis to cool people who want to be online when abroad. The company has been offering customer service through WhatsApp for 6 months now. ‘We want our customers to be able to contact us in any way possible,’ Dennis explains. ‘With about a dozen WhatsApp conversations per day, the volumes aren’t particularly high yet, but it’s a great service to offer.’

At first, Tep used one of Casengo’s competitors. ‘It worked fine the first few months, but as soon as WhatsApp launched its web app, messages weren’t coming in. It became too unstable and too unmanageable for our 10-member customer service team.’

Casengo at first glance: check!

Tep tried a bunch of alternatives before finding us. ‘Casengo checked all the boxes and more. I started a 30-day trial, but when I opened the app for the first time, I was convinced.’ A few days into his 30-day trial, he swiped his credit card. ‘We were using Casengo as if we’d never used anything else before. This was what I’d wanted all along.’

Tep began using Casengo for WhatsApp customer service with 10 agents. ‘Today, I have 10+ agents, 2 to 4 at the same time, 24/7. It is so intuitive and organized, allowing us to deal with multiple chats. You can tell it was built by people with real customer service know-how.’

Upping the game with Casengo

Getting Casengo set up was a breeze, Dennis remembers, and the whole process took less than 8 minutes. ‘From the very beginning, porting my number over to you guys – from a competitor no less – couldn't have been more simple. My agents are now using Casengo collaboratively to reply to customers quickly and without fail.’

And if Dennis says “quickly”, he means business: if you send the Tep customer service team a question through WhatsApp, you’ll usually get a reply within a minute. Four minutes is the absolute maximum. ‘Sounds mad, but it’s actually easy to achieve when using Casengo’s WhatsApp integration.’

Dennis would indeed recommend Casengo to any business. ‘Any legitimate customer-centered business should be offering customer service through WhatsApp, and Casengo is the best in the game. It offers what no other company has been able to offer: a WhatsApp integration that’s not infuriatingly limited or unstable.’

So far, Tep only uses Casengo for WhatsApp conversations. ‘Obviously Casengo offers a whole lot more, like email and live chat, but quite frankly Casengo’s WhatsApp integration alone is worth the price of admission.’

Amen.

Business Support WhatsApp gains ground

WhatsApp is hot. In early April, the company announced [800 million active users] (http://www.emerce.nl/cc?_r=/nieuws/whatsapp-bereikt-8miljoen-gebruikers) to have attracted, including over 9.5 million in the Netherlands . WhatsApp is also in the business segment increasingly popular. Good news for Facebook shareholders, but also for customer service managers: the interest and audience for WhatsApp customer service is growing by the day - also in the Netherlands!

Research firm MultiScope did study of more than 1300 Dutch consumenten the use of WhatsApp. Conclusion: 90% of smartphone owners use the app on active basis, and eight in ten Dutch have WhatsApp in the favorite dock or on the home screen.

Dutch WhatsAppers average daily receive 65 messages and send them there 30. Especially consumers aged 18 to 34 regularly use the application. And almost half of them communicates with companies like via WhatsApp.

No wonder companies are increasingly WhatsApp use as customer contact channel. Where this was back a couple of years especially reserved for large companies such as KLM and T-Mobile can now also medium and small batches easy to get started with easy and accessible applications such as Casengo.

The strength of support WhatsApp

The benefits of WhatsApp for Dutch companies are great:

  • WhatsApp supports pictures - and sometimes a picture says a thousand words. Better communication and customer service so!
  • Unlike Facebook and Twitter, WhatsApp has a closed character. Conversations are therefore completely private.
  • WhatsApp is one of the most widely used communication channels in the Netherlands.
  • As a company, you stand literally in the friends list of your customer: You can not get more personal.

The growth and interest will only grow. Facebook has indicated they would like to attract 1 billion active users on WhatsApp. Will therefore be continued!

Also offer customer service to WhatsApp!

No experience with customer service WhatsApp? Experience now the positive effects of WhatsApp on your website conversion and customer satisfaction, and try it free! Easy to implement, and requires no technical knowledge. If you still need help, we are there on weekdays from 9:00 to 17:30 to you via email, live chat or telephone to advise without obligation. And WhatsApp support (+316-823-77825) Of course we do!

How your customers really feel about customer service

Digital leads the way! That’s the main takeaway from the latest survey in international consulting behemoth PwC’s ongoing Consumer Intelligence series. The project, which quizzed more than 1,000 respondents, aims to uncover the truth about how consumers feel about the various channels available to them when accessing customer service.

When it comes to customer service, companies have been slow to keep up with the changing preferences of today’s consumers. The near-ubiquity of the internet throughout the West has meant that some 60% of people in the US have not just one but a selection of online channels in their pockets or handbags, almost 24 hours a day (and 80% even sleep with their phones switched on).

Sadly, far too many businesses have chosen to ignore reality in favour of what suits their old-fashioned company structure and working methods, and tend to think of customer service as a ‘damage control’ option rather than what it has become: something that the average respondent has contacted more than twice in the past 6-9 months.

Pay to call you? Not likely!

Whoever came up with the idea that customers should pay to get assistance must have considered himself a sheer genius. “Not only will we make money to cover our customer service costs, but it actually provides us with an incentive to do things badly! Win-win!”

Sorry – it was fun while it lasted, but the party’s over. The vast majority of respondents don’t want to pay for the ‘privilege’ of using their preferred contact method, regardless of what it is. And that goes for the channels they’re highly satisfied with too.

Unhappy customers still spread the word

While 41% of respondents are happy to use online chat to get in touch, it’s not their favourite digital channel. That honour goes to email, with 55% of those surveyed being keen on the medium. And it seems that the old cliché still holds true: an unhappy customer tells far more people about their experience than a happy one does. “Disgruntled customers will air their grievances on more venues (2.1) than those who had a good encounter (1.7).”

In other words: you have more to lose by giving poor service than you stand to gain by providing good service. That, though, is as it should be. You want your customers to be able to take your great service for granted, right?

Don’t just be fast, be effective

Time and again, customers share the same concerns about customer service levels, which makes us wonder why so many businesses still aren’t getting the message. A hefty 66% of respondents said that they were somewhat to very dissatisfied with digital customer service channels.

For 41% of these, satisfaction would be increased if the company would simply fix the customer’s problem. Yes, you read that right – customers simply want you to help them. They want to deal with reps who show more concern about their specific problem and are more knowledgeable about the issues raised. The fastest response times in the world won’t get you far if you’re still not addressing the reason the customer contacted you in the first place.

The results of the PwC survey shouldn’t be earth-shattering, yet it seems that they repeat a message that many businesses today just don’t want to hear. The world of customer service has changed, and it’s not going back. You need to be able to provide fast and – much more importantly – effective service to the people who essentially pay your wages.

The main takeaway for businesses could be summed up in just a single word: care. You’d better care about your customers, care about what they want and what they need from your business. And it seems that what they want, right now, is for you to solve their customer service problems. Do you care enough to do so?