Customer service on WhatsApp? I hadn’t thought of that before. But now that I’ve experienced it, I want more.
I recently returned from a trip to Jamaica, and as with most international travel planning these days, getting tested for COVID-19 and reporting the results in a timely manner was critical.
Before departing, I read up on Jamaica’s testing requirements and learned that I would need to be tested three days before departure. The problem? Three days before departure was Christmas Day, and I couldn’t find anywhere to get tested on that day.
I’m always intrigued by what happens in the customer experience when unanticipated consequences arise. The requirement for getting tested three days before travel isn’t overly burdensome, except for when that day is a global holiday where everything is closed. So what is the customer to do? In this case, it appears that no one had thought of this particular use case.
Knowing this might be an issue, I emailed one of the travel authorities in Jamaica a couple of weeks before my trip. I never received a response, so I had to research the issue myself. As it turned out, a rapid antigen test was acceptable, and I could get those results in under 48 hours so I simply got tested on December 26th. But it was a lot of work to find that out, since the instructions weren’t clear and didn’t address my specific situation.
Fast forward to the end of the trip, where I now must get tested in order to return to the United States.
(But first: The trip was wonderful and I was incredibly impressed with the service, experience, and general kindness exhibited by every employee at the resort where we stayed. Not to mention that the weather is perfect there every single day.)
The resort set up a testing facility right on the property so people could get tested the day before their travel home. I received my results within an hour, but after several hours had not yet received my kids’ results. The lab analyzing the test was off property, so I had to contact them directly. Their website suggested contacting them via WhatsApp, the global messaging app owned by Meta (Facebook). This was admittedly a customer service channel that this customer service expert had never used with a company.
I sent a message on WhatsApp to Oneness Health Centre Limited on a Sunday evening at 7:08 p.m.; we were due to fly out the next morning. The company responded in 3 minutes — 3 MINUTES! — with the agent saying that they would “have that taken care of.” I thanked them, and within 13 minutes I had both negative test reports in my email inbox.
What a difference in responsiveness between my two testing experiences! In the first, I had to hunt for information that didn’t address my situation and when I tried emailing I didn’t receive a response. In the second, the website clearly offered the WhatsApp option which solved my issue almost immediately.
Which experience would you prefer as a customer?
I must admit I loved communicating via WhatsApp because it was simple, quick, and convenient. And that got me wondering: why don’t more companies do it?
I have long advised businesses to respond to everyone as quickly as possible. In fact, being Responsive is one of the five key tactics for creating remarkable customer experiences that I describe in my new book, The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share. Oneness Health Centre is a terrific example of this.
Have you used WhatsApp for customer service? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!