Codelogic and OBI4wan have been working closely together for two years. The recent rollout of WhatsApp Business on Steam-connect is one of the fruits of the collaboration. Daniël Cools, CCO of Codelogic, and OBI4wan CEO Alexander de Ruiter talk about the partnership and the importance of a omnichannel strategy.
The new feature WhatsApp Business has recently become available on Codelogic’s customer contact platform Steam-connect. With this option, companies can communicate with their customers via WhatsApp using an application programming interface (API). Unlike regular WhatsApp, which can only communicate with one person at a time, this business version allows multiple employees to contact different customers simultaneously. This can be done with one phone number, and it doesn’t have to be a 06 number; landline numbers can also be used. The market is changing,’ says Daniël Cools. It used to be a lot of phone calls. Now you see that companies are contacted more through other channels. WhatsApp Business is an excellent complementary channel. There has been a market shift going on for some time. The outbound telephone channel is no longer the largest growth channel, but is in fact decreasing. On the other hand, live chats and social media are growth channels. With Steam-connect, companies are future-proof, because in addition to e-mail processing, outbound and inbound telephony, we have integrated all these channels into the platform.
The integration of WhatsApp Business came about in close cooperation with OBI4wan, which has been taking care of all webcare channels in Steam-connect for two years. For Codelogic, it was important to have an integrated solution. Software can be connected in a loose way, as we call it,’ explains Alexander de Ruiter, the CEO of OBI4wan. But that means the employee works with two applications and that’s not what Codelogic wanted. Their customers had to be able to continue working with a single interface. We achieved this by connecting Steam-connect to our back end via an API, rather than on our front end. The integration process went very well, although it was a challenge, admits De Ruiter. When we started the project, we were already developing a new API. We should have communicated that to Codelogic earlier, so that we could integrate the new API faster. Cools responds: ‘When I heard it, my first reaction was that we should have known sooner. Codelogic and OBI4wan are two rapidly growing companies. Things like that can happen. Fortunately, good communication has led to a quick solution.
360 degree customer view
According to Cools, omnichannel customer contact is important because it gives companies a 360-degree view of their customers. I often hear clients say that they have contact with their customers in many different ways. Often a webcar employee does not know, for example, that someone from customer service has already had contact with a certain customer by phone. You can solve this by putting everything in one system and making all data accessible to everyone. That is one of the reasons why we have integrated OBI4wan into the platform. That gives the user the feeling of being in a cockpit where he can oversee everything and help the customer better. You can only achieve first time right by sharing all the information with the customer contact person.’ With this integrated solution, companies also have more control over the various channels because they can give authority to employees per channel. According to De Ruiter, an omnichannel strategy can also offer commercial opportunities. If a customer contacts you, employees can give a discount on a product that the customer has looked at but has not bought. You can only do such things if you have a complete picture of the customer and if there is full integration of the data and the channels.
Tools and training
Thanks to its collaboration with OBI4wan, Codelogic can optimally serve customers in handling webcare. However, the tools are only part of the solution. A lot can still be gained by properly training employees,’ says Cools. Contact via social media is a completely different way of communicating. The disadvantage of a public channel is that everything ends up online, with all the possible consequences. I believe that the moment a company starts using public channels, its staff should be trained in this. I often see posts pass by that I think the webcar employee could have phrased differently. De Ruiter offers companies that struggle with this a helping hand and gives two tips: I often see organisations respond to negative messages, but do nothing with positive expressions. The Dutch are not very good at dealing with compliments, but the customer expects a response in return, otherwise he feels insulted. This is where organisations often make mistakes. In addition, I see that negative reporting is immediately followed by attempts to start a private conversation. I can understand that, but it is good to keep certain matters public. By dealing with the complaint in a proper manner, you show that you are concerned with customer satisfaction and with properly resolving customer questions and issues.