Brazil is the 6th largest country in the world by population and one where 97% of internet users have messaging apps.
WhatsApp is the most used app in the country, with Brazilians spending on average more than 30h per month on the platform.
This number is especially significant if we consider that it is higher than any other app or website in the country.
YouTube, for example, only reaches 26,3h of monthly usage and Netflix, despite its long shows, only reaches 7,9.
To better understand this market and how WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business API is used there, we contacted one of our local partners, Danilo Bolsoni, CEO of ItGoal, who kindly agreed to take part in our Partner Talks program.
Danilo Bolsoni – Founder of ItGoal
Danilo Bolsoni is founder of Itgoal, which provides business consulting, with the help of software from large global companies such as Google and Zoho, implementing and ensuring the usability of the tools to enhance the business of its clients.
Here’s a brief recap of the conversation
How WhatsApp is used in Brazil
Brazilians, as we have seen in the introduction, love WhatsApp and this intense usage is pushing companies to adopt it as a communication channel.
On an anecdotal level, Danilo mentions that almost everyone he knows has WhatsApp on their phone’s home page and many of his customers are asking for help to use it in their businesses.
Large companies like Magazine Luiza y Lojas Americanas are already taking advantage of WhatsApp Business API to communicate with their customers.
Lojas Americanas even allows customers to buy things directly on WhatsApp and Magazine Luisa uses it to provide updates to customers on their orders.
Danilo points out that one of the great advantages for Brazilian businesses is that it is simple to use and most people already know how to use it.
He says, on a personal level even his 4 years old daughter and his mother know how to use it and almost everyone has it on the home page of their phone.
He also mentioned that, because it is so simple to use, even people who are not used to websites and may not grasp concepts like that of a “shopping cart” can chat on WhatsApp and buy things online.
In a country as big and as diverse as Brazil, this can be a significant competitive advantage. Conversations are just something natural and easy to understand for people.
Email is the new mail
Another interesting differentiator is the way WhatsApp messages are perceived. According to Danilo, Brazilians see WhatsApp messages as something that should be answered immediately.
This contrasts with the perception of things like email that is now seen in much the same way old fashion letters and snail-mail are seen: something not urgent, may be important, but likely spam.
For younger generations, WhatsApp and other messaging tools have become not just “a” tool for communication but “the” tool.
Danilo also pointed out that younger generations are having trouble using e-mail because they are simply not used to it, just like the generation that came before weren’t used to letter writing.
Usually, young people would rather not contact a company than using an old fashion and unfamiliar tool.
The problem with personal WhatsApp
One of the problems that is emerging with the widespread use of WhatsApp is the use of personal WhatsApp numbers in business settings.
Danilo’s comments here echoed those made by Kevin in our previous episode: because everyone uses WhatsApp, employees, and salespeople in particular, often give their personal WhatsApps to customers.
This is often done without much thought, as something natural and is in part a consequence of businesses not having yet adopted WhatsApp as a business tool.
The problem is that if the employee loses the phone, or leaves the company the history of the conversation will be lost and the next person that talks to the customer has to start over again, wasting time providing a poor customer experience.
Moreover, personal WhatsApp accounts are limited tools, they are designed for private use and therefore are tied to a phone, so they cannot be used by more than one person at a time (except with the use of dodgy and dangerous unauthorized tools).
They also can’t be linked to a CRM or an ERP like an official WhatsApp Business API tool such as Woztell can.
WhatsApp’s Business API (WABA) is a better solution because it does not depend on a phone, can be integrated with enterprise software and allows multiple agents to work at the same time.
In Brazil, the service is often not known by businesses and the role of companies like ItGoal that help in digital transformation is essential to help guide businesses and create sustainable, scalable solutions.
Digital Transformation in Brazil
For those of us that work in tech, the concept of digital transformation is something very familiar and isn’t really considered to be new, but as Danilo points out, for many Brazilian businesses it is an unfamiliar topic. As a consequence, there is a certain resistance towards digitalization, mainly due to misconceptions that paint it as an expensive process.
There is also a lack of awareness of the costs that a business incurs for not embracing digital transformation and automation.
A classic example is the amount of paid employee time that gets wasted on tasks that could be automated. As Danilo put it:
If you are doing something repeatedly, you should automate it.
To conclude Danilo pointed out that, even if the pandemic did help a bit and forced some businesses to embrace digital transformation, Brazil is still going slower than other countries.
This is unfortunate because when a company digitizes and adopts things like CRMs, ERPs and WhatsApp Business API integrations the change has a positive effect on the whole industry it operates.
A more efficient company that provides a better customer experience will inevitably become more competitive. This then forces other companies in the industry to catch up, improving overall efficiency and making customers happier.
The resulting positive snowball effect can also extend to other industries and sectors of the economy as happier customers will start to expect the same level of efficiency and good communication in all the companies they interact with, extending the constructive cycle across the whole economy.
To make this a reality Danilo invites companies in Brasil to not see software as something that is a cost, bur rather as something that reduces cost and think of the money that is being lost by not having conversations and automation in your business.
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