Major Brands in India Embrace WhatsApp as Customer Support Goes Digital


There is nothing quite as frustrating as those moments when we face issues during our interactions with organisations in the business world. Contacting customer service teams can often prove to be a time-consuming process, while it is also stressful when something cannot be easily resolved.

Companies are clearly aware of the importance of customer service, including it as a vital part of staff or worker training programmes and making it very clear on their websites how customers can access support. It is particularly intriguing to see how many companies are trying to think of new and innovative ways to keep us informed and happy, with a couple of notable examples emerging in India recently.

Digital Service Drive Next

Earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz India announced the launch of a customer services program known as Digital Service Drive Next – or DSD Nxt for short. The concept has been created to help motorists stay up-to-date on a range of matters, including the servicing process. For example, the system will mean customers get a check-in pass for each service, with this allowing them to access a selection of preferences, as well as real-time updates and the chance to pay bills online too. Customers will also be auto-detected when they visit a workshop. As well as meaning that they receive a personalised message when they arrive, the process will ensure that staff are notified about the individual.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Mercedes-Benz India confirmed it would offer service updates to its customers via WhatsApp – a step which another brand has also embraced in recent weeks.

Samsung support

At the start of July, it was revealed that electronics giant Samsung is now providing customer service support in India through WhatsApp as well. The company, which opened the world’s largest smartphone factory in the country in 2018, is reportedly offering the service to customers who have bought any of their products. According to the Android Authority website, they are able to get details on issues like technical support and the status of ongoing repairs through the system. In order to benefit from the service, customers simply have to send a message to the brand’s WhatsApp support number during the working hours of 9am and 6pm local time. Android Authority adds that no information has yet been released on whether WhatsApp support could become available in other countries.

The steps taken by both Samsung and Mercedes-Benz India are fascinating for many reasons, but perhaps most notably they highlight just how customer support is becoming increasingly reliant on more digital formats.

The rise of messaging

In many ways, it almost feels like most people nowadays expect to see brands offering support via digital means or a messaging service. This is happening in a whole range of sectors, from its breakthrough in the world of entertainment to financial services. For instance, one type of platform that seems to have become a major force in customer service in recent years is live chat. Brands across a host of different sectors now make use of that kind of tool, with IT giants like Dell offering the service to its customers in India. The financial services industry has also embraced the concept, with HSBC offering chat alongside a secure messaging service and phone banking. Turning to the entertainment sector, online casino site Betway explains how it provides customer support through chat services as well as via email and on the phone. This complements the multiple means through which it makes its games offerings available to users, who can play and receive support from a large range of devices wherever they may be. Meanwhile, the travel sector is another area to have embraced it. Brands like Air Asia include it within their customer support mix alongside the opportunity to connect to their support team through social media.

It is interesting to note that these forms of instant customer service have been popular since their introduction. For example, all the way back in November 2013, eConsultancy reported on a study by eDigital related to the issue. The survey found that live chat offered high satisfaction levels, with 73 per cent of those who used it being happy with their experience. In contrast, satisfaction levels for social media and phone stood at 48 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.

Changing times

With that in mind, it is perhaps not a great surprise to see brands like Samsung and Mercedes-Benz embracing a messaging service like WhatsApp as they look to reinvigorate their customer service and support.

The way brands tackle issues and queries has clearly changed significantly over the years, with more digital forms of contact coming into fashion. It will be fascinated to see whether such trends continue, or if the day comes when people want to return to something that is either more face-to-face or perhaps based around speaking on the phone.