How WhatsApp Business API helped Peñarol score the perfect customer service goal

Customer Story
With thousands of fans craving information on their favorite team, communication is vital. But how can the process be managed with minimal stress?
Image of a man looking at his phone


Challenge: Reduce stress on the call center, improve customer service, and provide instant information to fans

Solution: Chatbot powered by the WhatsApp Business API mobile channel to instantly answer customer FAQs via WhatsApp messages

Results: Reduction in calls handled by the call center, massive cost savings, and increased customer satisfaction scores 


decrease in response times


reduction in call volumes


interactions without live agent support


Peñarol Athletic Club






Founded in 1891, Club Atlético Peñarol has a unique history on the South American football scene. With tens of thousands of fans craving the latest information on their favorite team, effective customer communications are vital. But how can the process be managed with minimal stress on the call center while ensuring customers feel valued?

Keeping members up-to-date with fixtures, dealing with FAQs, and maintaining the kind of customer service levels expected from a premier league football team’s support network is something Peñarol has struggled with in recent years. Resources often ran thin, especially around important game dates, and, with thousands of members craving instant answers, call center queues backed up, resulting in frustrated fans. 

Isbel, Peñarol’s communications provider, realized the need for a change of pace. 

“We needed to improve member outreach that much was clear ,” Pablo Nieto, Marketing Manager at Peñarol Athletic Club, explains. “The customer service team on the front line was frequently overloaded. Often answering simple, easily automatable general support questions. With Isbel’s guidance, the solution became clear; taking communications mobile and reaching customers right in the palm of their hands was the way forward.” 

Challenge: Providing information without overloading call center resources 

“Our fans mean everything to us and providing excellent customer service is an important part of the relationship we have with them,“ Nieto says. “So, finding a balance where we could offer instant answers to FAQs in a way that both suited the fans and helped our contact center team out was essential.” 

Isbel began researching the best way to improve customer service, provide immediate answers, and free up call center resources. Their mission? Find the best way to improve customer communication management (CCM). 

Engagement was important, so familiarity with the platform or channel chosen was key. It needed to be second nature for users. Research quickly identified WhatsApp as the most popular social channel in Uruguay. It was time to kick-off the project. 

Image showing the Peñarol WhatsApp solution in use

Solution: Meeting customer needs on a familiar channel: WhatsApp 

Peñarol decided that getting conversational with fans over WhatsApp, one of the world’s largest communication platforms, was the best way to engage and inform. As the Business Solution Provider (BSP) contracted by Isbel to provide the WhatsApp Business API, Sinch was perfectly placed to jump in and get the ball rolling. 

“Integrating the WhatsApp Business API into Isbel’s chatbot platform was a breeze with the support of Sinch,” says Nieto. “They gave us all the support we needed to register our WhatsApp templates and build the chatbot technology, an area where we had no previous knowledge.” 

Anticipating customer expectations and keen to further reduce the load on the call center, Peñarol also built a feature into their chatbot to reach members with important account updates and general updates, as well as personalized content based on past purchase history and new promotions that might be of interest. 

Results: A positive impact on customer communications 

Peñarol is proud to be the first sports club in Uruguay to offer this type of service over mobile, and it’s no wonder - it’s been a real hit! 

Response times are down by 78%, customer satisfaction scores are up by 32%, and with incoming calls to the call center dropping by 36%, Peñarol has enjoyed massive costs savings. 

Employees are happy too - the call center team now have more time to deal with complex cases that need the human touch; of course, they’re always on hand to take over from the chatbot if needed, but as 96% of the WhatsApp interactions don’t need live agent support, it’s all good. 

WhatsApp also played a part in driving an advance membership sales campaign which secured $50,000 USD in sales when the stadium doors were closed due to the pandemic. 

Screengrab showing the Peñarol WhatsApp solution in use

Peñarol couldn’t be happier with how this project worked out. Nieto commented, “sending messages through the WhatsApp Business API to our members has had a very positive impact on customer satisfaction. The convenience and 24/7 availability of the chatbot, coupled with the familiarity of the mobile channel, has been key in reaching our audience in ways that we never thought possible.” 

WhatsApp gives us a highly responsive service channel that lets our fans know how much we value their time and care about the quality of every interaction with them. We cut our costs of doing business and increased sales while delivering rich, personalized experiences, even in the middle of a pandemic.
Álvaro Alonso
General Manager, Club Atlético Peñarol