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How is your business handling the messaging revolution?

Customer service is changing. Here’s how to get ahead in the digital era with WhatsApp for Business and LiveChat.

Johannesburg, 16 Aug 2023
Jayson van der Walt, Product Owner and Business Analyst at Cellfind.
Jayson van der Walt, Product Owner and Business Analyst at Cellfind.

There’s a reason so many businesses are turning to WhatsApp as their messaging platform of choice. With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is currently the leader when it comes to global mobile messenger apps.

“WhatsApp for Business is a messaging channel that enables effective communication,” explains Jayson van der Walt, Product Owner and Business Analyst at Cellfind. “The WhatsApp for Business API is the enterprise version of the WhatsApp service.”

As an official independent software vendor (ISV), Cellfind has a custom API through their SmartMessaging platform that enables the routing of messages to LiveChat. “LiveChat is a dashboard that allows for incoming and outgoing messages… it's where call centre resources or agents interact with end-users,” says Van der Walt.

Compared to a platform like SMS, where robotext-written messages and spam runs rampant, WhatsApp messages are more secure and less susceptible to spam or automated mass-messaging due to end-to-end encryption and stricter verification processes. “WhatsApp by default is end-to-end encrypted. It gives a lot of peace of mind,” says Van der Walt. “A mandatory opt-in is required for your first engagement with the end-user, ensuring their agreement to WhatsApp communications before further engagement can take place.”

Age of instant gratification

As customer expectations rise, the role of customer service has shifted and it has evolved into a more proactive and strategic aspect of business operations. Today, customer service is no longer limited to phone calls and e-mail exchanges, there are a number of digital communication channels that enable businesses to meet the customer where they’re at.

“It’s about reaching the end-user on their preferred platform wherever they happen to be,” Van der Walt says. From customer support to sales, appointment scheduling and order status updates, WhatsApp is becoming increasingly popular. And when managed through a platform like LiveChat, it’s even more efficient and seamless, allowing businesses to handle multiple conversations simultaneously, access customer data and integrate with other tools for a streamlined and personalised communication experience.

“LiveChat enables you to efficiently interact with up to 20 end-users simultaneously, eliminating the need for individual management of multiple chats on a phone. The LiveChat dashboard offers added benefits, including the ability to create pre-populated messages and receive voice notes for enhanced communication,” he says. A platform like WhatsApp for Business allows companies to engage with their customers in real-time, providing support where the customer is at and, ultimately, building stronger, more meaningful relationships.

Partnering for success

Van der Walt explains that there are two distinct pricing models for getting started with WhatsApp for Business and LiveChat: “There’s a per message model where every session message within an open conversation is billed for and then there’s an MAU, or monthly active user model. It’s a higher rate per individual that you’re interacting with in a particular month, but all of those messages, up and down, are included.”

The ultimate decision lies in the company's strategy – selecting the appropriate option and, depending on the use case, potentially establishing a chatbot flow, with the option to route to agents on LiveChat. “The last option is to talk to an agent. There’s always an option to speak directly to a human agent on LiveChat and if there needs to be a voice interaction, that can be requested as well,” he adds.

WhatsApp for Business, managed through LiveChat, is not only for the enterprise. It’s a customer service solution that businesses of all sizes can take advantage of – the trick is finding the right implementation partner, one that is flexible, experienced and capable of tailoring the platform to meet the unique needs and scale of your business.

“It's not just about affordability; it needs to deliver tangible value to the business," he explains. "The decision hinges on meeting the specific requirements of each customer." Whether you're a small start-up or a large corporation, a skilled implementation partner’s goal is to work closely with your team to seamlessly integrate WhatsApp into your existing customer service ecosystem, ensuring smooth interactions, efficient response times and a personalised customer experience that fosters loyalty and drives growth.