Saudi Arabian postal firm SPL creates a digital assistant on WhatsApp Business Platform for more effective customer service and accurate deliveries, while cutting business costs and expanding its services.
WhatsApp Business Solution Provider
reduction in call center wait times attributable to WhatsApp
of customers resolve inquiries in WhatsApp alone
faster customer service response times with WhatsApp
reduction in business costs attributable to WhatsApp
*All results are self-reported and not identifiably repeatable. Generally expected individual results will differ.
SPL, formerly Saudi Post, is a government operated agency providing logistical and postal services to make shipping all kinds of goods and products efficient across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the world. In mid-2019, SPL launched an innovative strategy to build a national group that pioneers logistical postal services that integrate with KSA’s Vision 2030 programs to bring KSA on the world stage.
As a government operated postal services firm, SPL is tasked with helping people, businesses, and government agencies across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) send and receive packages. Ensuring the security and reliability of deliveries is key to quality customer service – it’s also a core part of the KSA Vision 2030 Initiative using digital transformation to compete on the world stage.With Saudi Arabia rising in the ranks of global e-commerce markets, SPL needed faster, more accurate communication with customers, government officials, business partners, and transport teams. For over 20 years, SPL used one-way SMS to send delivery updates and customers could only connect with the company through a call center or social media. If shipping information was inaccurate or incomplete, SPL had to find that customer, which could delay receipt of their package.WhatsApp is a popular communication channel in Saudi Arabia, so SPL partnered with customer engagement platform Unifonic to develop “Maha”, an automated virtual assistant powered by WhatsApp Business Platform. Once customers access Maha through entry points on the SPL website and social media, they’re greeted with upwards of 13 menu options allowing them to track shipments, find local post offices, calculate shipping prices, and search the full SPL product catalog.The intelligent Maha allows customers to use interactive buttons and even voice messaging with 24/7 convenience. Maha immediately recognizes Arabic and English, supporting SPL initiatives to encourage international shipping like the Alami program, which gives customers free access to 10 addresses in 10 different countries. In just over a year, the company is reaching over 1.8 million users sending six million chats in Maha.“Using WhatsApp, we’re offering more effective service to more customers. Compared to other channels, we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in inquiries coming in via WhatsApp and we can respond about 30 percent faster,” says Mohamed Fahad Al Hudayan, VP of IT and Digital Services. “As 90 percent of customers resolve inquiries in WhatsApp without needing to talk to a live agent, our call center wait times have decreased by 50 percent.”
Through geolocation capabilities in WhatsApp, SPL is developing a national address system that expedites deliveries. When a customer receives a notification that their packages are coming, they can respond with their current location or another preferred address. Those exact geo-coordinates are sent directly to a courier also using WhatsApp, ensuring that deliveries arrive correctly the first time without repeated follow-ups.“With WhatsApp, we get shipments to destinations much faster with a lot less interaction required, contributing to a 75 percent reduction in operating costs,” says Al Hudayan. “As more customers share their addresses with us in WhatsApp, we’ve registered 15 million people for the national address system across various countries and managed 40 million shipments.”During the pandemic, SPL relied on the accuracy and speed of tracking packages in WhatsApp to pioneer a crucial new service shipping prescriptions from public and private hospitals to patients in need. Through APIs built into Maha, SPL receives notifications that prescriptions are ready for pick-up, along with information about where to ship them.Depending on the location, SPL can get medicine to a customer’s front door within one to three days. To date, SPL has delivered roughly 1 million prescriptions to people across Saudi Arabia. The success of prescription delivery has inspired private hospitals to partner with SPL for shipping blood samples.With the increased scalability and innovative services SPL can achieve with WhatsApp, the company is looking to broaden its reach internationally.“Exploring new features and capabilities in WhatsApp allows us to achieve our full potential as a shipping and logistics champion for customers across Saudi Arabia and soon the world,” says Al Hudayan.
SPL develops a virtual assistant through WhatsApp to enable better customer service with immediate access to support and reduced call center wait times. The firm has seen operating costs drop and service options expand.
“Using WhatsApp, we’re offering more effective service to more customers. Compared to other channels, we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in inquiries coming in via WhatsApp and we can respond about 30 percent faster. As 90 percent of customers resolve inquiries in WhatsApp without needing to talk to a live agent, our call center wait times have decreased by 50 percent.”
VP of IT and Digital Services, SPL
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