KCB has announced they will be rolling out a service that will enable their customers interact directly with the bank using WhatsApp. This is in an effort to make it easier for customers to reach the bank.

Back in January of 2018, WhatsApp announced WhatsApp Business App that allowed businesses to be able to directly chat with their customers, make bookings, appointments, sales and much more. When writing about the new app, I remember saying it would forever change how millions of people will do business, and here we are over a year later seeing one of its biggest impacts: bank to customer interaction.

KCB in an official statement said they’ve deployed the Digital Customer Service Systems designed by Sparkcentral from San Francisco, US.

“We are redefining the customer journey, which is critical to the delivery of excellent customer experience. We want to see our customers getting answers & information they need as quickly & conveniently as possible” says Micheu Njiru the Customer Experience Director at KCB Bank Kenya.

Sparkcentral is a customer experience solutions provider. They’ve been a WhatsApp partner, and have created a way for businesses to safely and reliably engage and manage conversations with customers over WhatsApp— at scale.

Sparkcentral’s system also includes Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, and SMSs.

Currently, you can interact with KCB through Twitter, emails, and calls. The company says with this announcement, “The WhatsApp platform will create a centralized communication hub for KCB digital customer care interactions, allowing the Bank to effectively leverage the most-used messaging systems to take communications to the next level as part of an overall digital transformation effort.”

Hopefully, this does not mean KCB will be forcing people to use WhatsApp only, because others will prefer other means of interacting with the bank. Especially with privacy issues surrounding Facebook the company that now own WhatsApp.

The good thing however is more customers will now easily get services from the bank as WhatsApp is available on so many platforms from Android, to KaiOS, and is the number 1 most used social media app in Kenya. A recent report from United States International University’s Social Media Lab says WhatsApp has a penetration rate of 88.6 percent in Kenya.

With the new system, KCB will not only be able to reduce customer service costs, but also, hopefully, improve the experience, and increase loyalty. I just hope they offer more services through WhatsApp than asking people to visit a KCB Branch near them.

I have some reservations about the quality of the service given I am a KCB customer: I wonder how they’ll effectively manage this when their own app, and USSD code constantly have issues they are yet to properly resolve.

If you’re wondering how this will work, or how to get started, KCB has through their Twitter account promised that customers will get an SMS inviting them.