WhatsApp response times vary by time of day

Viewing and improving response times is a key goal of our WhatsApp lead tracking tool

When we envisioned what the future of WhatsApp lead tracking could be, we had a few fundamental objectives in mind:

  1. Connect two human as quickly as possible. Humans > Bot, Always
  2. Measure the number of legitimate leads that come in on WhatsApp.
  3. Gain insight into if and how quickly the relevant people respond to those leads.

No. 2 is an important determinant of the value of the marketing channel in question while No. 3 helps define the CX for enquirers/buyers and therefore how likely they are to return.

A deeper dive into this data gives some interesting insights into user behaviour. For instance, what time of day do most enquiries come in? And what effect does that have on response rates and times?

There is a lot of variability across markets and verticals. In the interests of brevity and not revealing client data, we can’t and won’t share specific details. But what we can say is that across all of the car and real estate marketplaces that we are working with, an average of 60% of WhatsApp leads come in during work hours, which we define as 8am to 6pm.

The rest, just under half of all leads, come in outside of working hours. This is probably not surprising. In the evenings after work is when most of us have the time to sit down and browse through listings. A WhatsApp message is also less intrusive than a phone call and therefore we feel happy about sending a WhatsApp enquiry at 8pm, even if we wouldn’t call.

But that does not necessarily mean that buyers expect a delay in the response from the seller. After all, WhatsApp, with its blue ticks and ‘last seen’ status, carries an expectation of immediacy.

Which brings us to seller response times. These, on average, are 3.5 times longer for leads that come in after hours versus leads that come in during the working day. This is also probably not surprising. Real estate agents and car dealers are going to reply slower when they are eating, sleeping, bathing kids, dancing, hula hooping or whatever it is they do afterwork.

I am not going to pretend that our solution is a magic wand that will miraculously solve this mismatch of expectations between buyers and sellers. However, understanding user behaviour can be very powerful in helping marketplaces refine their flows and messaging to better manage expectations. 

Furthermore, by providing sellers with a break down of all incoming leads in one central place, there’s a higher chance that the seller will respond the next day.