March 25, 2020
▷ How to Save Time, Money, and Resources with TRANSACTIONAL MESSAGES
I got a reminder via WhatsApp about a dentist's appointment that I had made three weeks before. With this personalized response to my actions, they optimized their customer management. What are they exactly, and how can I use this type of message?
Months ago, after years of not going to the dentist, I decided it was time to make an appointment. The five years it had been since I'd had my teeth looked at will tell you how little I was looking forward to going to the appointment.
Then I contacted the appointments center for the prepaid medicine company I'm a member of and set an appointment for three weeks later. I'm one of those people who who put their appointments in their calendars, but sometimes need another calendar to remind them to check the first one.
Over the following weeks, despite the memories of two years of orthodontic suffering that my parents had submitted me to, the appointment began to fade from my mind. Just the same way I forget to look at my calendar to remind myself of my appointments that aren't work-related (those ones I always remember and check frequently!).
The appointment with my dentist was on a Thursday afternoon. The Monday before, as I had an early breakfast at home, while I was reading the news on my computer and glancing at my calendar on my phone, a WhatsApp notification popped up: " Mr. xxxxxxx, this is a reminder that your dentist appointment is this Thursday at 6:30 PM. Please contact the appointment center if you are not able to attend. Have a great week, see you soon."
With a quick look at the profile photo, I could see that the message came from my prepaid medical provider. Since I work in communication, I knew that it came from their WhatsApp Business account, and I smiled a little, given that I hadn't remembered the day or time of my appointment (or that I even had an appointment, to tell the truth).
What I received as I drank my dark espresso and loaded plenty of queso blanco onto my toast was a transactional messages via WhatsApp. In the example I just told you about, the message helped the health care company make sure that an scheduled appointment was attended so they didn't waste time and resources. This way they don't need someone on WhatsApp reminding forgetful patients to come to their appointments.
There are several benefits like this one that transactional messages can provide for companies, most significantly in customer management. They can be an extremely useful tool, perfect for the age of conversational commerce.
What are transactional messages exactly, and what are their uses and benefits?
A transactional message is one that is sent in response to an action by a person. I bet that if you think about you'll be able to come up with some examples from your daily life: the confirmation of an online purchase, activation codes for a passwords, or reminders of medical appointments, in my case.
This type of message can have the purpose of instigating new actions in the recipient, as well as notifying them of a user action.
An interesting characteristic of this type of message is that they do not violate any privacy laws, nor are they subject to specific regulations. This is due to their objective of simplifying relationships that are already established based on interactions between the business and the user.
Transactional messages generally contain information that the user or customer needs. They are specific, and therefore, rather than being unwelcome or seen as spam, they have a very high chance of being read!
Regarding uses, below is a list of ways you can use transactional messages in your business. As I said before, you'll probably notice that you have received several of these in your daily life as a customer or user:
- Payment accepted (when a customer buys online tickets for a movie, for example, this saves you from needing a resource to deal with questions from customers who are unsure about the payment).
- Problems with a payment (when, for whatever reason, the online payment for those movie tickets via credit card fails. This way the client, alerted via WhatsApp, can resolve the issue and complete the purchase).
- Confirmation of order shipment (Sunday night, a customer didn't feel like cooking and ordered a pizza. Normally you'd receive complaints through various channels if there is any delivery delay. A transactional message on WhatsApp confirming the order calms any anxieties and keeps the pizzeria from having to expend resources responding to complaints).
- Reservation confirmation (usually, for reasons of custom and convenience, restaurants take reservations up to a certain hour, and often a employee devotes some time to confirmations. Via WhatsApp you can keep your customers satisfied and guarantee that all the tables in the restaurant are filled).
- Send financial status attachments (month by month, using the leading messaging app, investment companies can send their clients updates on their financial status to help them identify new strategies and investments).
- Banking alerts and transfer confirmations (online banking transactions occasionally don't work due to various reasons such as connectivity. Sometimes the signal can be dropped just as a customer is making a transfer. In this case, the transactional message could arrive before the transaction appears online).
- Request for changes (in the case of cancellations or changes to an event schedule, the organizing organization can notify users without wasting time contacting each one individually, which, if necessary, can be done using other methods).
- Password reset (in many cases, such as online banking, passwords expire for security reasons. With a transactional reset message via WhatsApp, you as a company can guarantee that your customers will continue to work with you in an efficient way).
- Account activation confirmation (an email account, a new user on a social network, a username for buying tickets to a show...when your customer's account is activated, if the information comes quickly via WhatsApp you increase the chances that the sale you're trying to close will actually happen).
As you can see, all these uses of transactional messages follow the pattern of being a response to an earlier action by the customer or user.
Among the benefits that these messages can bring to your company if your implement them, I'd like to highlight four major ones:
- They improve the customer experience and generate more trust: when you communicate with them via WhatsApp, in real time, and in an individualized way, you make your clients feel more positively about the company. In this age of conversational marketing, this is a way to show that your company is efficient and professional.
- They are instant: Transactional messages can be received and read on WhatsApp almost immediately. One of the perks of living with our phones always in our hands!
- They are reliable: every day, at work and in our daily lives, we use WhatsApp because we know the messages will arrive at their destination quickly. Well, the same is true for transactional messages.
- They give the customer information in real time: when a client wants to make changes to information or modify an event, transactional messages can be sent automatically.
- Not using this conversational marketing tool, more than just a refusal to be on the cutting edge of a new era that is here to stay, would also deprive your company of a way to get closer to your clients and generate more loyalty, as well as a way to build trust with them and make your communication as direct as possible.
WhatsApp, the ideal context for transactional messages
I don't need to tell you about the penetration that WhatsApp has achieved in the global population over the past few years. I will point out that it's no coincidence that the era of conversational marketing has coincided with the growth and peak of the most significant messaging app.
Well used, WhatsApp can become the ideal, necessary ally for businesses' transactional messages. Why? According to a study by Forbes Magazine, in 2019 WhatsApp had an open rate of 98%. In other words, out of every 100 WhatsApp messages received, 98 are opened.
Beyond the numbers, this highlights the fact that companies can take advantage of transactional messages in a platform that their customers already use everyday, in their daily lives, to work, relax, or just have fun sharing memes.
In this sense, the open rate for WhatsApp messages clearly stands out from the others. For example email platforms such as Gmail or hotmail are so selective about filtering which messages they let into inboxes that the open rate is 20%, according to numbers from the Harvard Business Review.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, let me ask you a question: would you send your company's transactional messages via email? 🤔
I imagine that you're thinking that WhatsApp would be better, here are some more interesting numbers from 2019 that support the idea that it is better to opt for the messaging app:
- (over) 1.5 billion people worldwide use WhatsApp on their smartphones (that's an enormous field of activity).
- 64% of Latin Americans use the app to communicate. This makes Latin America the continent in which WhatsApp has acheived greatest penetration.
- In countries like Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, WhatsApp is used by 83%, 78%, and 60% of the population, respectively.
Once a company has decided to use transactional messages, the choice of how to send them is not a minor one. The answer is the same as the one you gave to that obvious question I asked a few lines up the page. 😉
How to automate transactional messages
At Sirena, conscious that we live in an era of conversational marketing, we have been working to make it so companies can optimize their use of modern tools as much as possible and take advantage of all their possibilities.
Accordingly, Sirena can also automate the process of sending WhatsApp messages through their API. This is extremely useful for various use cases, such as:
- Sending notifications to users via messages.
- Creating chatbots to answer questions.
- And much more...
With the help of your company's developers, you can easily activate automated transactional messages through WhatsApp.
I said before that a transactional message is one that is sent in response to some action by the user. I also listed some ways that businesses can use them to improve and optimize their customer management and save resources (confirming appointments, confirming reservations, bank transfer notifications, etc.)
I also delved into what makes WhatsApp the ideal context for sending this type of message: WhatsApp's universal penetration, and the fact that almost every message gets open make it an infallible method.
For example, it is possible to automate the answers a user will receive to create chatbots or automatic message responses.
If you would like to automate transactional messages for your business, it's simple:
- To activate any of the functions, go to: https://web.sirena.app/manager/admin/integrations
- Create a new "API" integration.
- You'll see a screen where you can check "Transactional Messages" or "Conversational Messages" depending on which you want:
- Copy the API key and read our technical documentation to start the process.
- Activate the integration by clicking the button at the top of the API screen and click "Save" to finalize your changes.
- Your developer can now start sending transactional and conversational messages.
- And your company can start enjoying the benefits when it comes to customer management! (Like my dentist, who didn't have to waste time or resources) 😎.