How to Use IVR Deflection to Whatsapp for Faster Ecommerce Customer Support

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Learn how to use IVR deflection to WhatsApp for offering effective ecommerce customer support.

When it comes to offering customer support to online shoppers, most brands tend to falter. While they may have a live chat implemented on their website, it often takes them anywhere between 24 hours or more to respond to a query. The turnaround time only increases when the customer support is being offered on call. 

This is where the strategy of using phone calls and WhatsApp for customer support come into play, leveraging the best capabilities of each of the platforms to offer a quick turnaround time to shoppers. 

In this blog, we’re going to walk you through how customer support typically works on phone calls and WhatsApp as a recap, and then move towards explaining a strategy where you can integrate the two to work better. 

How does customer support on phone calls work?

Most businesses have a business phone number set up to offer customer support on phone calls. While enterprise businesses may have a team of live agents to attend to calls, most are not able to offer a 24/7 support service or have a long waiting period to start a conversation with the online shoppers. 

A study shows that more than 76% of all consumers prefer the traditional medium of using phone calls to seek customer support from businesses. Another study highlights how more than 50% of customers across all common age demographics typically use the phone in order to reach a business they’re interested in buying from. 

But adding to the above statistics and the preference of using phone calls for customer support, is the fact that consumers do not like waiting for any more than one minute to get their queries and concerns answered. 

And this is where most businesses fall short. 

How does customer support on WhatsApp work? 

WhatsApp is traditionally a chat app used across all demographics for personal and sometimes, professional conversations. But with the introduction of the WhatsApp Business API, we are seeing businesses leverage smart automations to set up customer support services on the messaging platform using solution providers like 

Typically, if a consumer requires support, they can reach out to the business on WhatsApp through the widget on their website, that leads to the messaging app. Depending on the type of query and the automations set up, interactive messages and FAQs can be used to offer a quick turnaround time to consumers. 

According to a survey, 78% of consumers prefer using text messages to communicate with brands they intend to buy from. 

Learn more about it here

Challenges of offering customer support on phone calls and WhatsApp separately 

Now while both the channels of offering customer support are effective for ecommerce businesses, there are some shortcomings to using the two in silos. Here are some of them: 

  • Distributed customer information/ data based on the channel used for seeking customer support
  • Inability to track the customer journey from support to conversion or a desired action 
  • Increase in the number of incoming queries on phone calls; irrespective of the nature of support concern 
  • Inability to reach live agents faster for pressing concerns and complex customer support queries 
  • Increased sales cycle for consumers seeking customer support to make informed purchase decisions 

More than 28% of consumers say the most frustrating issue in customer support is the inability to find simple information faster. Using phone numbers and WhatsApp in silos leads to exactly this frustration. 

This is where integrating the customer support strategy on phone and WhatsApp comes into the picture. 

How to use phone numbers and the WhatsApp Business API for customer support? 

While there is no one way of using the two channels to offer customer support, it is important to follow a few steps to ensure you’re offering the best customer experience to those who choose to interact with your business. 

1. Understand who your customers are 

The very first thing you need to ensure is that you know who your target audience is - the online shoppers who are more likely to reach out to you for support. Gather as much information about them as possible - from their demographics to interests, intent, purchase power, purchase motivations, and similar, use data to create different audience segments that are as good as defining an individual buyer. 

2. Identify common customer queries and concerns 

The next step is to look into the questions that often come your way through customer support channels. These could be queries around your delivery/ shipping/ return/ refund/ exchange policies or questions around product sizing/ customizations/ variations and similar aspects. This may vary based on the industry your business is in, the products you sell and who your target audience is. 

Take note of the responses shared with them as well to identify similarities and differences. This will help you create common documentation and automations for customer support. 

3. Identify the preferred channel of communication based on query type 

Based on the customer support queries you have taken note of, your audience segments and the channels they use to reach out to you, identify the one that is preferred. We recommend identifying the preferred channel of customer support based on the type of customer query - this way you can estimate what type of customer support questions can come your way on WhatsApp or on phone calls. 

4. Set up an IVR for phone call support segmentation 

Seek out a phone call support and IVR solution provider. This can help you segment the customer support queries based on type, making them easier to manage for the team. 

For example, let’s say you sell to both consumers and businesses. The IVR can help you route the customer queries that come in for the wholesale business and those that come in for individual purchases. This way the right members from your customer support team can handle the query on phone calls. 

5. Set up FAQ automation and follow-ups using WhatsApp Business API 

Similar to IVR, the next thing you need to do is set up some automations on WhatsApp to offer quick customer support to consumers. You can set up FAQ automation or product workflows to share more information about items a buyer wants to know more about. 

With the help of interactive messages, you can make the communication between your brand and the buyers by streamlining the questions and answers. The WhatsApp Business API solution providers like equip you with all the features you need to create automations for different queries, resolving them with the help of chatbots. 

6. Integrate your customer support solution providers 

Now that you have both phone call support through IVR and WhatsApp Business API automations set up, the idea is to make them work together. This is where integrating the two solution providers comes into play. 

For example, let’s assume a consumer reaches out to you on a phone call and goes through the IVR to select their query type. But at that moment, your live agents are not available to take the phone call or speak to the consumer. 

The integration between the two solution providers will help one communicate to the other that the live agents are not available to take the phone call. This way, you can follow up with the consumer on WhatsApp to notify them of their next availability or try to resolve the issue on messages through the automations set up. 

For instance, if a buyer called to ask about the shipping policy and could not get through to a live agent, you can follow on WhatsApp to provide the information on chat. If they still seem unconvinced and wish to speak to an agent, you can then record the query and let them know someone will get back with an answer within a defined time frame. 

Want to know more about IVR deflection to WhatsApp? Reach out to to set up the WhatsApp Business API. 

7. Define the workflows and hand-offs 

While the workflow to resolve a customer support query may vary from business to business, some steps may remain the same. To be able to resolve customer support queries with a quick turnaround time, you can set up workflows between the two solution providers - for instance, comes with 40+ ecommerce chatbots to resolve customer queries faster; and Exotel comes with IVR workflows similar to the same. You can create an integrated experience that leverages the best of the two. 

At the same time, we do recommend also defining your hand-offs because some customer queries may require human conversations. While WhatsApp chatbots can resolve more than 50% of your customer support queries, it is wise to set a trigger point wherein a problem is detected for timely reachout by a live agent - this helps streamline the number of queries that a live agent has to handle on a day to day basis and at the same time, also ensures a positive customer experience.  

Ready to set up an IVR deflection to WhatsApp and handle customer support at scale? 

Using phone calls and WhatsApp for customer support lets your ecommerce business cater to a wider segment of the target audience. It covers the preferred mode of communication for all demographics of online shoppers, offering the assistance they need over channels they’re the most comfortable on. 

But setting up the right workflows can be tricky and we’d like to share our experience with you. 

Ready to use IVR deflection to WhatsApp to handle customer support better? 

Book a demo of today

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