WhatsApp - a powerful conversion tool

Since we launched the WhatsApp integration for Casengo in closed beta 2 months ago, a few dozen companies have been testing it enthusiastically. Very exciting times for both our testers and our team; together, we discovered the power of WhatsApp as a customer service tool. One of our recent testers reported having made two deals on his very first testing day!

As a reader of this blog, you’re aware by now how crucial it is to meet customers where they are and serve them on their preferred channels. Facebook used to be considered an effective way to do this, but it now has very little reach. With WhatsApp, however, you send a message that your customer receives immediately – on a device (s)he carries along at all times (especially if their wrist is adorned with an Apple Watch). It’s gold.

Let’s talk conversion

OK – so how do you go about it? Fortunately for Casengo users, helping (potential) customers over WhatsApp no longer involves fat fingers or a tiny smartphone screen: users of our WhatsApp integration are comfortably typing away on their desktop, laptop, or tablet/smartphone if they insist. Straight from the Casengo inbox, we enable them to have WhatsApp conversations just as easily as conversations through email, live chat or social media.

But let’s talk conversion. Conversion is all about responding in the right way at the right time. And the right time, these days, is as soon as humanly possible. Now, if your company’s name figures in your customers’ WhatsApp contact list, what’s stopping them to ask a question as it pops into their head whilst browsing your website or even reading one of your magazine ads?

Show them you care

If you’re smart enough to respond right away and satisfy their curiosity, they’re well on their way to what might be considered an impulse purchase – a purchase of a product that might not even have been on their wish list if it wasn’t for WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is equally interesting for existing customers. Problems with a purchased product? Allow your customers to grab their smartphone and app their question. And surprise them: they’ll be happy to see the words ‘typing…’ underneath their WhatsApp message very soon indeed. You’re coming to their rescue – because you care.

Offer personalised services

In India, where WhatsApp is even hotter than here in the Netherlands, customer service through WhatsApp has an astounding conversion rate – as high as 80%. “India's favourite instant messaging app,” the India Times reports, “is now being used (…) to promote, sell, and offer after-sale-services.”

India’s pioneers in customer service through WhatsApp were small and medium entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, however, even big luxury brands (Cartier, Armani, Diesel) are WhatsApping their way into extraordinary customer service.

Brick-and-mortar businesses are finding that customer service through WhatsApp is the most effective (and cost-effective) way to keep in touch with their regular customers. “Selling luxury is all about offering personalised services,” a CEO explains in the India Times article. “Platforms like WhatsApp enable that, which is why brands encourage their store managers to make an extensive use of it.”

What’s that – you’re not making use of it at all? Sign up for our closed beta! Enter your email address here to test WhatsApp for Casengo, and boost both your conversion and your customer satisfaction rate - before your competitors do.

Why we rebuilt Casengo

I am glad to inform you that we’ve almost completed the roll-out of Casengo Next. We’ve introduced a new interface and design, improved functionalities and are now working with a new architecture.

Almost each detail (from features to buttons) has been turned over by our top developers (Ivan, Daniel, Chris 1 and Chris 2), our first in-house designer ever (Thomas) and our brand new UX guy Ernst. Casengo, I’m glad to say, has grown up.

Casengo is now three years old. That in itself is quite an achievement for a small company that started its journey in a gloomy suburb of Amsterdam. After moving to a bright town house overlooking the Emperor’s Canal (Keizersgracht), we got back-up by henQ Investments, both in terms of money and of commercial expertise.

From 1.0 to Next

Casengo’s previous version was a fine one, with its retro look and feel. It ran, however, on an architecture that wasn’t quite as flexible as we’d hoped when we started building it in 2012. And disappointing our users wasn’t part of the plan.

When a couple of users kept asking for the same features and we just couldn’t grant their wishes, we knew it was time for a big change. Mid 2014, we started building a new version. Casengo Next was made available to new sign-ups in December and is now available to everyone.

Before & After

What’s new

Casengo Next has a flat design, allowing us to make certain functionalities more intuitive than before. We moved all the productivity functionalities (case status, tags, attributes) to the right panel, which is now expandable.

Case view

The left side is now reserved for contact-related information, giving the app a much more intuitive flow. It’s easier to add quick replies (s), invite others to join the conversation, and even forward entire conversations or parts of it to third parties.

Casengo Next screenshots

All of our users will benefit from these changes, but larger teams – who end up working on cases together – will really feel the difference. We improved the notification system, adding desktop notifications, improving responsiveness and performance.

Next in Next

We’re now working hard on taking internal collaboration to another next level. You’ll soon get notifications each time a colleague updates a case you were working on. We’ll add mass actions within the inbox. The knowlegde base is also getting a make-over. Stay tuned - and do let us know ( what you think of Casengo Next. Cheers!

Casengo: the first customer service platform with WhatsApp!

UPDATE 7pm: WE DID IT!! Find proof on YouTube.

UPDATE February 3rd: PRESS RELEASE including screen shots.

‘Ok, let's go for it! I'll be ordering pizza. The 24 hours start... now.’ We're in the middle of the Casengo WhatsApp Hackathon. In a very short time, we want to prove it's possible: producing a prototype of the WhatsApp integration for Casengo.

Customer service is about being wherever your customers are. As in: on WhatsApp. How great would it be to be right there in their WhatsApp list? A devoted company amongst friends! But WhatsApp, being extremely closed, refuses to cooperate with third parties. So far, not one multichannel customer service platform managed to truly integrate the free messaging service. High time for some old-fashioned hacking! Love it.

A two-way conversation

We're about 15 hours in the hackathon now. Our R&D team almost pulled it off! They managed to send WhatsApp messages from their smartphone straight into the Casengo team inbox. Each new contact through WhatsApp now turns into a customer case within our application. Now they're trying to find a way back to their smartphones. But they're moving in the right direction: the customer's direction. As soon as we establish two-way contact (probably around beer o'clock), we'll show you some proof on this website. Stay tuned for a little movie!

Getting dark... Beer, pizza, and code!

UX guy Ernst really needed that pizza.


How we poodle-proofed Casengo

First things first: we like poodles, as long as their owners don’t resemble them too much. What we don’t like, however, is the Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption (aka POODLE) leak that the guys at Google disclosed last week; a vulnerability in the design of SSL version 3.0 (SSLv3).

How does SSL work? Web servers and web browsers rely on the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to help users protect their data during transfer. For private communication – like a live chat conversation – a uniquely encrypted channel is used. When you want to connect to a web page that is protected by SSL, the browser will look for the most recent SSL version. Usually, that’s a recent SSL version, which is perfectly safe.

What leak are we talking about? However, if the connection fails, the browser will automatically look for other, older SSL versions to get rocking. The leak we’re talking about is found in a totally ancient version: SSL version 3.0, nearly 18 years old. Thanks to POODLE, hackers can deliberately mess up connections, and if they get access to SSLv3, they can intercept sensitive data from online stores and other websites.

Which steps did we take? Hackers are able to mess up connections so badly that even browsers with a new SSL version – ours and probably yours – will fall back on SSLv3. That’s why we decided to disable this old version and make it unavailable for web browsers.

How does this affect you or your customer service? It most probably won’t affect you at all: most of our users won’t notice a thing, and neither will their online visitors requesting support through live chat. Our developers did some research through Google Analytics; they found out that just 0,88% of people visiting our users’ websites works with an outdated browser. Unless they upgrade their browser, these unhappy few will not be able to have a live chat conversation with you (if, that is, you enforce HTTPS). If you do get a call from a (potential) customer about live chat not working, first check which browser s/he is using. Anyone using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) – or an even older IE version –is advised to upgrade to the newest version of Internet Explorer (if that’s even possible), or switch to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. So rest assured: this poodle will no longer bite.

WeChat & Casengo: it’s not about the medium, but about the message

UPDATE FEB 3, 2015: Casengo adds WhatsApp to customer service software.

We all know by now that live chat is great way of communicating. It’s simple and it leads to faster – and often better – responses, whether you’re chatting with your friends or your customers. You can use live chat when you’re on the train, tucked into bed, or even during a meeting. Given its popularity, it’s not surprising that back in February, Facebook purchased WhatsApp for a cool 19 billion dollars.

Get ready for WeChat

Facebook was preparing for the arrival of WeChat, the all-singing, all-dancing Chinese mega app that combines the standard chat capability of WhatsApp with what can only be described as ‘social media to the max’ – all the features of other social media platforms, plus the ability to ‘meet’ new people either in your immediate vicinity, or anywhere in the world.

If the makers of ‘Weixin’ (‘Micromessage’, as WeChat is called in China) play their cards right, they’ll be able to crush Facebook, Twitter and even WhatsApp (that’s two big boo-boos for Team Zuckerberg). Their app now has almost 400 million monthly active users. So far, only 40 million of those are outside China, which leaves an enormous market across the rest of the world for WeChat to conquer.

And the WeChat gang are well on their way. WeChat is increasing in popularity throughout the West, looking set to take off once it hits critical mass. The company has appointed soccer hero Lionel Messi as its global ambassador and is pulling out all the stops with its ad campaign. They clearly believe that users won’t be able to resist the convenience of connecting with all their friends across various platforms, all bundled in one single app – just as soon as they know that it’s available.

WeChat: everything in one app, just like Casengo

Achieving critical mass is probably the most important hurdle WeChat has to leap, but it isn’t a huge one. People naturally want to use the same chat and social media apps as all their friends. With everything bundled into just one app, switching to WeChat is a pretty easy decision to make.

That’s what makes WeChat so appealing: one of its biggest strengths is its versatility. More than just a straight chat application, the app is working on developing an ever-increasing number of different platforms. Alongside the social chat function, users can now make video calls, share photos, microblog (a la Twitter), play games, connect to their LinkedIn profiles – so handy for job-seeking on the go! – and even make purchases using the new mobile payments system, WeChat Payment. WeChat has its own newsfeed, too – a Facebook-esque mini blog which allows users to share a ‘moment’ in their day with all their contacts. ‘Moments’ can include a line or two of text, a link, or a photo; it’s basically a mini Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Skype rolled into one. The question is, what doesn’t this app do?

Casengo loves WeChat

These are just a few of the reasons that we at Casengo think WeChat is going to be a huge hit. A reason of a totally different kind is that Casengo has got a lot in common with WeCat. Like WeChat, we allow our users to connect across platforms. Our users connect with customers instead of friends, but the idea is the same: both WeChat and Casengo allow people to communicate faster and better with each other, regardless of channels. And that’s where the future lies. It’s no longer about the medium. It’s about the message.

UPDATE FEB 3, 2015: Casengo adds WhatsApp to customer service software.

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