Asia Embraces WhatsApp for Customer Service

New research has shown that Singapore, India and Indonesia are beginning to use WhatsApp when contacting organisations.

BT has gathered insights from 5,500 people across 10 countries to determine which channels customers are using to get in contact with various organisations.

The findings revealed that customers in Asia are beginning to use WhatsApp when contacting organisations, with customers in the US also dipping their toes in the water, while customers in Europe (including Germany, Spain and Belgium) have yet to use it beyond contacting friends and family.

This split between East and West is most likely due to customers in Asia being a lot more mobile-centric than their European and US counterparts. As an app designed specifically for the smartphone, it is therefore unsurprising that Asia is the first to embrace WhatsApp’s potential for customer service.

Open APIs are needed to enable channel integration

It is currently difficult for contact centres to integrate WhatsApp with their existing channels, however, as WhatsApp doesn’t have an Open API.

(Twitter’s integration with HootSuite is a good example of an Open API – Application Programming Interface – in action.)

This will likely change in the future if WhatsApp reaches critical mass, as this will generate an increased demand for an Open API.

“As soon as a channel gains the power to influence communities, companies will begin to ask ‘how can I use this to reach my customers?’,”
 said Dr Nicola Millard, Head of Customer Insight & Futures at BT Technology. “Of course, that also carries the question ‘is this appropriate for our customer base?’”.