How WhatsApp Bot is helping us improve customer support experience

Deepak Malani
May 4, 2018 · 4 min read

Many of you who booked a bus ticket on redBus in last few weeks would have received ticket details and lot more on WhatsApp. Some of you might have also conversed with us on WhatsApp. We do hope your experience of chatting with us on WhatsApp was good. This post is about letting you know the genesis of the idea as well as solving for specific user scenarios.

A few months ago we got in touch with the WhatsApp enterprise team for a possible integration. The idea that time was fairly simple — Improve the customer experience by sending booking details to customer on their WhatsApp account and perhaps also evaluate if redBus can provide them support via the same.

We went ahead with the set up and started sending out bus ticket details to customer’s WhatsApp account linked to the same number. We also enabled logging to check if customers were interested in conversing with us via WhatsApp.

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Sample Booking Ticket Message Sent On WhatsApp

We were pleasantly surprised when we analysed the logs! Customers were genuinely interested in chatting with us for various reasons as listed in below pie chart —

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Popular User Queries On WhatsApp

This showed us the opportunity to improve the customer support experience through WhatsApp using a NLP (Natural Language Processing) Chat Bot. To further understand the needs, we spoke to users on reasons for seeking post booking support through chat rather than email or call. Here are few reasons that customer stated —

“I don’t want to wait in a long call with your support team just to know refund status”

“Now I no longer search for the m-ticket in sms or in gmail. I just ping you guys on WhatsApp!”

“Chat is lot more convenient to me as I can also work on other things”

With insights from secondary and primary research, we decided to take this feature to next level where a fully functional and smart bot can reply to customer queries as well as direct the query to a live customer support agent in case it cannot resolve on its own or customer is not happy with the resolution. We quickly formed a task force team looping in folks from various teams — Engineering, Design, Customer Support and Product.

The top user queries that we wanted to solve were bus ticket details, boarding point queries and bus location status. This was again based on the pie chart shown above. Besides this, we also wanted the chat conversation to be contextual so that it gives much better experience.

For instance if a customer initiates a conversation with us on WhatsApp by typing Hi!, we check for possible reasons of this conversation by on his transaction history and start the chat by asking a relevant question (eg: Hi Deepak! Did you ping us to know the refund status of your booking that your cancelled on 30th April?) instead of non-contextual static welcome message.

Over last 2 months we have built the system ground up and rolled out various features on WhatsApp in phase wise manner. Our WhatsApp bot can now handle various queries like —

Booking Detail Query

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WhatsApp Bot Replying To User’s Ticket Details Query

Bus Location Status

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WhatsApp Bot Replying To Bus Location Status

Booking Cancellation Request

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WhatsApp Bot Replying To User’s Ticket Cancellation Request

Refund Status

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WhatsApp Bot Replying To User‘s Refund Status Query

Payment deducted but booking not confirmed

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WhatsApp Bot Replying To User’s Query On Ticket Issue

We believe conversational commerce has a huge potential and it begins with giving an awesome post booking experience. There is lots more that we have enabled on our WhatsApp channel. Do check out our next post on this!

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