One of the biggest challenges our clients face, that will ultimately determine how much value they derive from our product, is how successful they can be encouraging conversations with their followers on WeChat.
By the time they sign up for Grata, they have already bought into the value of using WeChat for customer service, primarily because either 1) they have an existing call center and want to drive phone and email traffic to WeChat to reduce costs, or 2) their business competes on good service and they recognize the service upgrade this represents to their customers.
As clients roll out Grata, we strongly encourage them to simultaneously deploy a marketing effort that communicates the newly upgraded value of their WeChat Official Account. If businesses don’t tell their followers when their online, how responsive they are, and what kind of things they can help with, not many people are going to message them. Businesses are fighting against the status quo in which most Official Accounts are bad about responding to messages from followers. This low expectation on the part of WeChat users, however, means it is relatively easy to surprise and delight followers with a fast response from a real human.
Tell new followers how they can use your account
WeChat can automatically send a stored welcome message whenever someone follows your account. This is the perfect time to introduce to your new follower what services your Official Account provides.
Grata additionally allows you to store multilingual welcome messages so followers are greeted in their own language.
Use personalized WeChat agents
WeChat allows verified Official Accounts to use up to 100 custom avatars and agent names when chatting with followers (you can request more if needed). There are many advantages to using personalized agent names. Specific to this post, when you use custom agent identities, WeChat will automatically add a “Customer Service Staff” row to your account profile and display one of your agents. This signals to followers that you are indeed replying to messages.
Use WeChat menus to prompt conversations
One of our favorite methods of engaging WeChat followers is to expose a small directory of contacts. This has two benefits: 1) By listing teams or departments, it seeds the idea of what kind of services you provide through WeChat, and 2) Grata can route to different teams based on which button the user presses. It can look something like this for a hotel guest:
Each menu button can send a stored text message letting the user know in more detail what services are provided. If the user replies to that prompt, a new chat notification will be sent to the corresponding team.
Manage expectations with auto-replies
Responsive service often has a lot to do with managing customer expectations. One good way to manage expectations is to setup an automatic reply based on the status of your agents. Let users know they can expect an immediate reply when agents are online or give them alternate contact information if your agents are offline. Here’s what that setup looks like in Grata:
Optimize for a quick first response
The first reply from a live agent is the most important factor in putting your customer at ease. Ideally, after your customer sees a face, a name, and knows that your team is “on it”, she can put her phone down and wait for a notification when the request/issue is resolved. Use personalized quick replies to get the fastest response from an agent. What your customers sees:
In Grata, use “$username” and “$agentname” to personalize quick replies.
Route conversations back to previous agent
One of the most frustrating service experiences for a customer is having to repeat himself. While a lot of this friction is automatically avoided by using a digital channel like WeChat — all chat history is easily viewable by any agent in Grata — it still is a relief to talk to the agent that has the best understanding of your issue. Make your WeChat Official Account a more personal channel and reward returning customers by always routing back to the previous agent first.
Call-to-action in outbound marketing
While most businesses use their WeChat Official Account for regular outbound marketing, many miss the bigger opportunity by doing a poor job converting leads. Your followers are reading your posts in a messaging app — take advantage of that! If you have live agents ready to take incoming chats, make the call to action at the bottom of your post to simply close the article and send a message to you to book/buy/order/etc.
QR Codes Everywhere
If your going to use your Official Account for driving customer service, you should put your QR Code everywhere you put your business’ phone number. The best businesses also explain to their customers why they should scan the QR code and even embed relevant contextual data in each unique QR code.
The text alongside the QR code should explain the value proposition and is ideally unique for each QR code placement. For a hotel, the taxi card QR code might be accompanied by a suggestion to “Contact us for in-travel assistance, recommendations, and help getting around town”, while the QR code on the booking confirmation email might read “Contact us 24/7 for pre-arrival arrangements or to book a convenient airport pickup”.
If you’re using a WeChat Service Account, you can use unique “parametric” QR codes to not only track the performance of each placement, but also to embed routing rules (eg. so your taxi card QR code routes directly to the concierge) and alert agents to the context of the current conversation. Consider giving a unique parametric QR code to each staff member for their business cards and email signatures. When one of their contacts messages your Official Account, you can setup routing rules to notify that individual staff member first.
WeChat Feature Request
What would really be helpful for driving customer service conversations in WeChat, is if WeChat would borrow a feature from Facebook and display how responsive Official Accounts are to their followers. This would be the perfect way to manage user expectations and would also encourage Official Accounts to actually be more responsive!
If you have a verified WeChat Official Account and want to be more responsive to your followers, register an account at Grata.co or scan the QR code below to get in touch with our team for assistance. You’ll get a quick answer to any of your questions during normal business hours, China Standard Time [see what we did there?].