Facebook-owned WhatsApp had more than 200 million active users in India as of February 2017. Given the substantial user base, several businesses, large and small, are leveraging the messaging platform’s WhatsApp Business app — an offering launched in January last year. The company recently said that more than five million businesses around the world use the platform. From disseminating information to offering customer service, WhatsApp is quickly emerging as a handy tool for businesses to engage with consumers efficiently.
Further, if a business responds to a customer’s query in less than 24 hours, it will be free, but if it exceeds that time, messages are charged. That’s another reason analysts believe the platform serves only as an essential information tool rather than a marketing tool. In fact, the platform is best used that way, says Sanchit Vir Gogia, an analyst at Greyhound Research. “Customers are increasingly wary of sharing personal information and, more importantly, being targetted with ads. Businesses need to learn from customers’ irritation with SMS and e-mail spam, and steer clear of this,” he adds.
For large companies, the WhatsApp chatbot integration allows responding to customers within 24 hours, avoiding extra cost. Several companies offer such chatbot service integration on WhatsApp.
Gogia believes that while WhatsApp Business is very useful for micro and small businesses — traders and professionals who aggressively use the platform to communicate with customers and prospects — it is also a great way to improve customer support and experience for both large and medium companies.
Given the nature of the platform, it is largely suited for online ticketing, e-commerce, and food delivery companies. But media/content firms like Netflix, too, are using the platform, albeit on a small scale.
Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, a Global, Award-Winning, Technology & Innovation Research & Advisory firm. To read more about him, click here.
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