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WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Business

7 of The Leading WhatsApp Chatbots in South Africa

As the world ushers into the “new-normal”, brands are seeking new methods of interacting with their audience. This has led to an increased focus on digital solutions including mobile competitions, social media campaigns, and the use of communication tools such as chatbots and automated two-way conversations. According to Accenture Digital, 90% of businesses are reporting faster complaint resolution with chatbots. 

What is a WhatsApp Chatbot?

The use of chatbots has silently become a prerequisite standard on company websites and social media platforms. However, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the demand for these dynamic communication tools on mobile-first platforms such as WhatsApp for Business and Facebook Messenger. This is especially pertinent in the South African mobile-first market.

While they are a hot topic in the marketing world, a chatbot is only as good as the value it delivers to the end-user. For chatbots to provide more than a novelty means of connecting brands and audiences, there are some critical criteria involved when measuring the tangible value they bring to an organisation:

1. Chatbots need to be user-friendly and intuitive to engage with.

2. Chatbots need to be effective at providing realtime and automated solutions to user requirements and requests to effectively and seamlessly solve their issues at hand.

To unpack this topic further, our team of mobile experts took it upon ourselves to unpack 7 of The Leading WhatsApp Chatbots in South Africa.

Our List (in no particular order):

Our List(In no particular order):

1. National Department of Health

2. Checkers

3. DSTV

4. Richfield

5. Black Label #noexcuse

6. Mpact Recycling

7. Health Systems Trust Get Checked Go Collect

National Department of Health

Standout Features:

  • Supported in 5 Languages (English, isiZulu, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Sesotho)
  • Conversational chat using keywords
  • Weekly risk-assessment tool for those who think they might have been exposed to COVID-19

With a substantial and exponentially-growing number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa at the outbreak of the pandemin in South Africa, the South African government launched the official National Department of Health of WhatsApp for Business chatbot.

Designed to deliver critical and accurate COVID-19 information, the ‘Contact NDoH’ chat bot offers the latest COVID-19 news and developments in South Africa, announcements from president Cyril Ramaphosa, a thorough breakdown of lockdown levels, and last but certainly not the least it allows users to complete a weekly risk-assessment screening tool.

Risk assessment tool:

To begin the risk assessment test, users only have to send the word “CHECK”. The user is presented with a set of profiling questions that gives the system information such as age, gender, and location.
After the initial sign up process, the chatbot asks the user a series of questions related to possible COVID-19 symptoms. The user then is given a risk-factor analysis based on the responses they provided to the chatbot.

Checkers

Standout Features:

  • Access to leaflets and store deals
  • Nearest Checkers store locator
  • Xtra Savings sign up 

One of SA’s most loved supermarkets is one of the early adopters of WhatsApp chatbots. From the recent introduction of their “Xtra Savings” cards and rewards programme to their COVID-friendly “Sixty60” grocery delivery service – the major supermarket is putting in considerable effort to not only remain relevant, but to be a leader of innovation in a digitally-driven retail economy. Thus, it made sense to launch a 2-way communication platform between brand and customer via a WhatsApp chatbot.

While South African shoppers have always been avid bargain-hunters, this practice has a new lease due to cash-strapped South Africans feeling the effects of the 6 month national lockdown. To this end, Checkers customers are able to see all the latest leaflet and deals from the comfort of a trusted channel like WhatsApp. From there, consumers can find their nearest Checkers store using WhatsApp location services. Before heading into their nearest store, shoppers can sign up to the Checkers Xtra Savings platform.

In a world of face masks and minimal human interaction, the Checkers WhatsApp chatbot aims to provide customers with an end-to-end solution to their shopping experience in the new-normal. 

For shoppers wanting to learn more about the Checkers WhatsApp for Business, all they need to do is save 087 240 5385 to their contacts and say “hi”.

DSTV

Standout Features:

  • Conversational chat via Natural Language Understanding (NLU)
  • Secure in-chat payment features
  • Reconnect or change your DSTV package
  • Browse the current TV guide or rent a movie

DSTV’s WhatsApp chatbot is a convenient mobile solution that goes a long way to ensure uninterrupted TV time. The self-service chatbot allows viewers to perform multiple account management functions of their DSTV account. The entertainment-provider chatbot also makes sure that viewers are able to find the latest and most relevant content on DSTV’s channel offering when they are away from their TV. 

DSTV customers wanting to manage their account via the DSTV WhatsApp for Business chatbot can save 060 060 3788 to their contacts and say “hi” to get started.

Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology

Standout Features:

  • Richfield Campus Locator
  • Easypay Student Fee functionality
  • Call-Back Request
  • Prospective Student Onboarding
  • Course Content and Information
  • Live Chat Functionality

As South Africa entered a strict level 5 lockdown, Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology had to quickly seek new ways to manage existing and prospective students’ interactions with their team. Richfield approached Apex Visibility to conceptualise and power an official WhatsApp for Business chatbot.

If students need to chat with a Richfield agent, they can request a call-back. Using WhatsApp location services, students looking for their closest Richfield campus are able to send a location pin and in return they receive all details about the nearest Richfield campus.

New and existing Richfield students are able to access promotions as well as a portal to enquire about online and contact learning. While the chatbot is not predominantly conversational, it can solve a host of student and general public enquiries.

For prospective students wanting to learn more about contact or online learning with Richfield via WhatsApp for Business, all they need to do is save 0600-123456 their contacts and say “hi”

Black Label #noexcuse

Standout features:

  • Discrete counselling for victims of abuse
  • Connects men to a mentor who can guide them to becoming a “champion man”

During the national lockdown, Police Minister, Bheki Cele made a statement saying that while other crimes in South Africa had significantly been reduced, gender-based violence remained a glaring concern. With the goal of helping and encouraging victims of domestic abuse to speak up during the national lockdown, Carling Black label launched their #NoExcuse campaign, and along with it their WhatsApp Chatbot.

The main focus of the major brewing company’s WhatsApp chatbot is to help victims get counselling, and advice, while also attempting to reform perpetrators through mentors; other men who will guide them on the journey to become a better person. 

Victims of gender-based looking for assistance via the Black Label #noexcuse WhatsApp chatbot can save 0800 150 150 to their contacts and send the word ‘BRAVE’

Mpact Recycling

Standout Features:

  • Arrange a waste collection
  • Order recycling bags
  • Get general support
  • Find closest recycling drop off location

Mpact Recycling – a division of Mpact Plastic provides a critical service to recyclers in South Africa. The Mpact team, always looking to improve the customer journey, wanted to investigate the viability of a mobile platform to manage and stay connected to their customers using mobile technology. Enter the Mpact Recycling WhatsApp chatbot powered by Apex Visibility.

After an initial sign up process, the Mpact Recycling chatbot offers customers a set of menu options to manage their recycling. Recyclers are able to arrange a collection of their waste using the WhatsApp location services, order from a range of Mpact recycling bags, get general support for any issue or customer query they may have as well as have an opportunity to learn more about the circular economy.

Recyclers wanting to manage their recycling via the Mpact WhatsApp for Business can save 060 462 4418 their contacts and say “hi” to get started.

MAKRO

Standout Features:

  • Makro Store Finder
  • Makro Catalogs and Gifting Guide
  • ‘My Makro Card’ account management
  • Order Status Check

Many of the features WhatsApp for Business possesses make the Facebook-owned channel a natural extension for many retail brands. This has led to numerous supermarkets and retail outlets adopting WhatsApp chatbots in an attempt to remain connected to their customers. Makro saw value in WhatsApp Business and has created a dynamic chatbot that aims to solve Makro customer’s biggest challenges.

These challenges  include the ability to seamlessly monitor the status of an online order, find their nearest Makro store, manage their Makro account, access Makro catalogues, and the ability to ask questions. The chatbot goes even further and assists customers with giving gifts using the Gifting Guide.

For South African shoppers wanting to improve their shopping experience via the Makro WhatsApp chatbot, all they need to do is save 0860 300 999 their contacts and say “hi”

Health Systems Trust get Checked Go Collect

Standout Features:

  • Learn more about the CCMDD programm
  • Chat to a Health Systems Trust agent
  • Learn how to best manage chronic conditions via video and rich media
  • Find the closest medicine pick up point
  • Be instantly rewarded for completing educational surveys about chronic illnesses

The Health Systems Trust Get Checked Go Collect is a free government initiative enacted to assist chronic patients with collecting their government-issued chronic medication at over 140 pick-up points across South Africa. In the past, HST utilised legacy USSD campaigns powered by the Apex Visibility team to reach patients in need but the need for a more sophisticated, feature rich communication platform arised as smartphone penetration improves in the South African mass market.

The HST GCGC WhatsApp chatbot aims to help solve the biggest issues chronic patients face and to further ensure that patients get tested and adhere to treatment via a set of patent management options. Patients are able to win prizes by answering quizzes that educate them about chronic patient management. The chatbot goes even further by listing the most common chronic conditions and suggesting the best treatment for that patient’s specific chronic condition. In an attempt to ensure the best adherence to government-issued treatment, patients are able to find their nearest pick-up point using WhatsApp location services.

For chronic patients looking for assistance collecting their government-issued medication via the HST GCGC WhatsApp chatbot, they can save 078 529 0646 to their contacts and say “hi”.

The Apex Conclusion

The Apex team tried to include as many WhatsApp chatbots within the South African context without repeating too many use cases. There were many chatbots that we researched but the list would be too long to include them all, so utilising some fundamental elements in our methodology allowed the article to focus on a handful of chabots that we felt needed mention

From retail and recycling management to health care and education, our objective is that this list effectively demonstrates the value of implementing automated, asynchronous communications between organisations, brands and communities via WhatsApp for Business.

1 Comment
  • Thobani
    6:59 PM, 15 March 2022

    Good day,

    I need a Whatsapp CHATBOT for one of our most valuable client. Can I kindly generate a quote?

    Kind regards

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