On November 10, Cloud CRM vendor Zendesk unveiled a deeper integration with Facebook for WhatsApp messaging, designed to provide enhanced customer conversations.
This strategic partnership comes as no surprise, considering some of the newest emerging trends in customer support.
Spoilt by the social messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger that come with rich features, customers of the 21st century have come to expect that they can communicate with their favorite businesses as they do with their friends—quickly and effortlessly.
Not to mention how the world has changed post-pandemic.
More conversations shift online with each passing day. Every day, roughly 175 million people already get in touch with a business via WhatsApp to ask questions and get helpful information.
"Through this partnership with Zendesk, we'll help many more medium-sized businesses get started using messaging to communicate with their customers in a matter of minutes and build new features to make WhatsApp the best way to get business done," said Matt Idema, Chief Operating Officer at WhatsApp.
This is more than a standard integration using open APIs. Zendesk already has a wide range of integrations with platforms such as Slack and Teams.
However, this deep integration gives Zendesk's customers access to all WhatsApp Business APIs, allowing them to build a native integration between the Zendesk CRM and the WhatsApp platform, which is much easier.
With this new functionality, customer support agents can open a WhatsApp channel from within Zendesk to quickly share information and respond to questions.
But that's not all.
Zendesk will extend this functionality to Facebook's two other messaging solutions, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
How will it work?
Seamless conversations on web and mobile
The deeper integration between Zendesk and WhatsApp will enable Zendesk customers to embed WhatsApp into their website or mobile app to interact with customers.
Conversations will automatically go into the Agent Workspace, and from there, customer support agents can manage conversations and respond to customers over any channel. With messaging, agents will always have access to the conversation history and can pick up where they left off.
Automated messaging workflows
Zendesk users can also automate common questions and answer conversations and build AI workflows powered by Answer Bot. All the interactions and customer data will go to the Agent Workspace so agents can quickly jump into solving the problem if a flow doesn't exist to address a question.
For example, a pet store company can offer AI-support on frequently asked questions such as shipping and returns, store locations, and working hours. If the Bot can't provide the customer with an appropriate answer, the inquiry will be escalated to a live messaging channel with an agent.
There's even no need for IT development teams. Agents can easily enhance the Bots as information becomes available on new questions.
Additional customization to meet every need
Businesses can also create group chats and use them to connect the most important players (customers, agents, drivers, delivery folk) to get the job done. For example, suppose a pizza company has a delayed order due to a burnt pizza. In that case, Zendesk can trigger a group message on WhatsApp to all interested parties, including the restaurant, the customer, and the driver. The pizza might have to be delivered at a different address due to the delay, and the group chat can quickly update the driver about this.
What this means for businesses
While people seem to prefer getting in touch with companies through chat, it's not the only way they're reaching out. There's also email and phone. Agents can now manage conversations and respond to customers over any messaging channel, all from a single place. They can multitask, work asynchronously, and engage in multiple conversations, all without the pressure of balancing multiple live conversations.
Also, consider this: We live in an age where customer experience is everything. Having access to data like the customer's name and contact info and their interaction history with your company can help your business create personalized conversational experiences.
Not to mention that your agents won't have to work around the clock to answer inquiries such as "what are your store hours?" or "what's your address?" A bot will be available 24/7 to chat with customers and lend a helping hand.
What this means for customers
Customers can count on not repeating themselves when they accidentally shut a tab, or the Wi-Fi cuts off. On the plus side, there's no more waiting in the chat queue either. Now customers can chat with their favorite brands back and forth without losing the conversation history and its context.
With this new functionality, there's no going into panic mode when you have a question that needs to be resolved quickly outside of regular business hours. A bot will take down your info, and the company will have all the critical information it needs to follow up later or guide you through self-service.
Best of all, you'll be able to reach your favorite brands directly from their website or mobile app and chat with them as quickly and effortlessly as you do with friends and family. Doesn't that sound comfortable?
It's live chat for the messaging age
This all comes at a time when messaging apps have become highly popular. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 2.7 billion people were expected to use messaging apps by the end of 2020.
But as millions of people socially distanced at home throughout 2020, the amount of time spent on messaging apps rose at an unprecedented speed:
US adults will spend an average of 24 minutes per day on mobile messaging apps this year, which is up 4 minutes from 2019.
Voice and video calling have more than doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp in areas where the virus hit the hardest.
People who are not fans of talking on the phone or waiting all day for an email were using messaging tools to get in touch with customer support. Since February, customer support inquiries coming through channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, and direct messages over Twitter increased around 50%.
To compare, live chat saw an increase of 16%, email 8%, and phone support saw no increase in demand whatsoever.
WhatsApp alone saw usage jump more than 150% during the same time period.
The motivation behind this strategic partnership is simple:
help businesses build stronger customer relationships
give folks the comfort of chatting with their favorite brands as they do with their friends
Customers have shown that they're willing to try new things, and Zendesk has shown that it can keep up with the changing times.