Short answer - your manual WhatsApp messaging is letting you down.
You have an Instagram shop. You are suave and sassy, so naturally, you set up a WhatsApp for business number and even put your first message autoresponder because you're just that clever. Great! Now you go live.
I come to your tyre shop website. I'm looking to buy a set of four tyres for a Toyota Vitz (Yaris in come countries).
Our conversation goes like this:
[12:42] Hello tyres online…
Hi, thank you for messaging tyres online. We will be with you as soon as possible (Autoresponder). [12:43]
[12:45] Okay thank you.
Thank you for contacting tyres online, this is Angie (names changed) I am glad to assist you (sic) [13:04]
[13:25] Hi Angie. Thank you. Do you stock 13 inch tyres for Toyota Yaris/Vitz?
May I have full size please? [13:29]
[13:29] Let me check and get back to you, one minute.
Sure, would you like any specific brand?
[13:53] Dunlop if you have. Bridgestone second choice. Set of 4.
We have Nexen. Nexen N Blue HD Plus. 185/55 R15 86H. Free fitment 7 balancing. 1 year warranty. 2020. Origin Korea. AED 238 per tyre. AED 952 set of 4.
[14:11] Thank you. Much appreciated. Let me consult and get back to you. Super afternoon.
Sure, welcome [14:15].
Problem | 1
That single sales conversation took an hour an a half with long lapses in between. If this customer found a different retailer where the answers were immediate, the would almost certainly have gone.
Problem | 2
The customers name and data was never captured. That's useful business intelligence that has been allowed to evaporate. I would have asked their name, asked them if anyone else in the house drives, where they live because they might be eligible for free delivery, how many kilometres a day and then reach out to them to sell replacement tyres before this set wear out. Lost business intelligence is lost warm selling opportunities.
Problem | 3
I'm not sure how many other people were making queries at the same time, but it is clear that there's only so many simultaneous queries a single service agent can handle. After that, long delays in response time begin to manifest and you begin to lose customers.
Problem | 4
She never ever followed up with me on my incomplete transaction. That's the equivalent of an abandoned shopping basket.
Problem | 5
We never did get to the payments portion but I can say for certain I would have been very hesitant to give her, a person, my full credit card details over the phone. So remote payment would have been an issue.
It's pretty obvious that it really doesn't matter what you are selling on Instagram. At some point, a conversation will precede a sale and if you are conducting these conversations manually, then your manually operated customer service chat channel is a bottleneck to your scalability.
We haven't addressed two additional problems that would doubtless arise if sales through chat were occurring at scale.
Problem | 6
Orders must be processed. Stock checked for availability. Payment taken. Stock control updated. Pre-shipment organised. Despatch arranged. deliver confirmed. Satisfaction surveyed. This is very labour-intensive, slippage prone work, and hard to scale without significant labour investment. Also, humans perform with different levels of aptitude, fall sick and make mistakes.
Problem | 7
Monotonous work, does not make for happy workers. Unhappy workers do not make for happy customers. Most of the above sales operation is a repetitive, rote, sales operation, i.e. the kind of work that is sure to bore an employee and can be better done by a machine.
So what is the answer?
Well a chatbot is not enough.
Most chatbots out there simply conduct front line customer query triage and then escalate the remainder of the request to a human being, so scarcely putting a dent in the solving of the seven problems above.
What you need is a turnkey shop chatbot, that not only learns to handle queries, but can participate in the execution of the full legacy sales operation chain, from posting to the crm, to checking ERP's for stock, branch network wide, processing card payments, updating stock control, updating sales accounts, organising pre-shipment preparation, organising despatch, performing delivery confirmation and conducting post-deliver sales.
If you would like to know more about how you can do this write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the free guide to automating your WhatsApp/chat driven sales operations.