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WhatsApp service interactions soaring as customers demand chat app support


Data reveals that WhatsApp interactions rose by 80% in 2022, as chat apps become an increasingly prominent support channel for customers. 

4th Jan 2023
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Messaging apps became the fastest growing customer service channel in 2022, with WhatsApp being rapidly embraced by consumers for support queries. 

New research from global cloud communications platform Infobip reveals that chat apps such as WhatsApp are increasingly crucial channels for customer communications.

Having analysed over 153 billion communications, the data showed an 80% increase in WhatsApp interactions in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

And this trend isn’t restricted to WhatsApp. Despite being the biggest player in the asynchronous messaging game, the research also revealed that there has been a 62% increase in rich communication services (RCS) more generally.

Both these statistics highlight the rising significance of chat apps within the customer service sphere, as well demonstrating customers’ increasing want for more conversational experiences.

Customers are increasingly expecting more conversational experiences.

Interestingly, the data also revealed that chat app usage was more prevalent in certain sectors, with the following being some of the more notable rises:

  • 134% more WhatsApp interactions in banking and finance.
  • 104% more WhatsApp interactions and 155% more email interactions in retail and ecommerce.
  • 1,063% more RCS interactions in telecoms.
  • 428% more Messenger interactions in transport and logistics.

But how exactly are chat apps being used as customer service channels, and why are they growing in popularity?

What’s all the fuss about?

The vast majority of people these days use WhatsApp and/or similar messaging systems, but many may not be aware that it is a form of asynchronous messaging – and even those that are aware, may not know precisely what asynchronous messaging is.

In layman’s terms, asynchronous messaging is a method of communication in which both parties do not need to be consistently active in the conversation. This is in contrast to synchronous messaging, in which both parties are chatting at the same time.

This form of messaging is clearly one of the most popular types of communication in the world, with millions of people using it everyday to speak to family, friends and work colleagues.

It stands to reason then, that such a popular form of communication would be a hit in the customer service industry.

Customers want to talk to brands in the same way they talk to their family and friends.

In an article for Advantage Communications, Melissa Gibertson sums this concept up nicely: “Traditional methods of contact customer service, such as phone calls, emails and live chat are still incredibly important, but brands need to offer more solutions than ever before to reduce customer effort and improve the customer experience.

“Asynchronous messaging is a communication channel that customers use in their personal lives, and it only makes sense that it would be their preferred method of communication with brands as well.”

As well as being more convenient for customers, the use of asynchronous messaging platforms is also growing due to the turbulent times that many of us have recently been living through.

According to Rebecca Miller, asynchronous communication provides a far more flexible service for customers to access around their hectic lives.

Miller sees asynchronous messaging as crucial to any forward-thinking customer service department, highlighting areas such as the ability for customers to connect 24/7 and improved agent productivity.

The fly in the ointment

Whilst chat apps and customer service may appear to be a match made in CX heaven, there are still some issues that companies should consider when offering the service to their customers.

Despite their growing popularity and customer service and CX potential, last year a study from Sinch found that 53% of consumers had been ignored by brands via messaging apps or social media channels in the last 12 months (at the time of the study).

The survey of 3,000 consumers also found that 25% of respondents had said it typically takes a day or more to get a response from brands via either messaging apps or direct messages via social media.

The concern with utilising chat apps as legitimate customer service platforms, is that many companies seem to see them as secondary to their main forms of communication.

As chat apps become more and more popular, organisations must ensure that they are treating them as an important service channel.

As chat apps become more and more popular, organisations must ensure that they are treating them as an important service channel, with just as much priority as any other.

The failure of companies to adequately support and invest in chat apps was discussed by Jonathan Beam. CMO of Sinch: “Our research shows that customers are ready to take their relationships with brands to the next level, with two-way messaging across channels that gives them the freedom to shape the conversation to their needs.

“However, because many brands aren’t yet equipped to provide this enhanced conversational experience, customers are being unintentionally ignored, which can lead them to abandon a business altogether. Activating omnichannel two-way messaging is a critical way of boosting the customer experience and forging more loyal, satisfied relationships with consumers.”

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