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

Customer Story
guy smiling with phone in hands and whatsapp logo

Overview

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, with 15% now managed outside of regular office hours

120+

year history

40,000

capacity stadium

Company

Peñarol Athletic Club

Product

Industries

Sports

Country

Uruguay

About 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. 

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 very first sports club in Uruguay to offer this type of service over mobile. And it’s been a real hit with the fans too! Over 3,000 have signed up to use it, resulting in 15% of calls to the customer services team now being handled outside of office hours by chatbot technology. And the call center guys are enjoying more time to handle complex cases that need the human touch. 

Peñarol couldn’t be happier with how this project worked out. As 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.” 

Sinch and Isbel made it easy to add WhatsApp to Peñarol’s customer communications, also helping to build the chatbot logic and register the WhatsApp message templates, which was a huge help to us."
Pablo Nieto
Marketing Manager, Peñarol Athletic Club