WhatsApp Business: Get conversational with customers
Today, deeper customer relationships are not something that can be achieved by advertising, but by getting more conversational. In order to help small businesses do exactly that, WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Business, a free, standalone app for small businesses to instantly interact with customers and highlight their products and services, in 2018. Since then, WhatsApp Business has attracted more than 50 million business users worldwide, as it has allowed them to talk with their customers the way they talk with friends and family.
If you’re not using WhatsApp Business already (and even if you are), maaiiconnect can make integrating the app into your communication mix a snap. But more about that later. First let’s take a closer look at WhatsApp Business and what makes it such a great communications tool.
What is the WhatsApp Business API?
In recent years, some large enterprises have pioneered the use of WhatsApp, the world’s most popular mobile messaging service, in their communication strategy. According to the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers, high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) expect to be updated about their banking via instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat as a minimum requirement. For these and other medium and large businesses, WhatsApp created the WhatsApp Business API to provide customer support and deliver important notifications to customers.
Built for large corporations such as financial institutions, the WhatsApp Business API provides a gateway to integrate WhatsApp into their systems, such as communication platforms or CRMs.
What is the WhatsApp Business APP?
The WhatsApp Business App is a free, standalone app for small businesses run by a single user. On top of WhatsApp’s basic features, the WhatsApp Business App provides an essential suite of business tools to run a virtual storefront and interact with customers. In short, turn WhatsApp into your latest marketplace!
What is a WhatsApp Official Business Account?
A WhatsApp Official Business Account is available for both WhatsApp Business App and API users, but users must be verified first. Only users who are notable and well-established brands will be successfully verified by WhatsApp.
Unlike non-official accounts, brand names of official business accounts can be displayed in the chat list, chat screen and contact view, with a green checkmark badge in the contact view.
7 ways that WhatsApp Business can open new growth opportunities
Run a virtual storefront with Business Profile & Catalog
Business Profile and Catalog act as your virtual storefront so customers can check out your offerings before they message you.
Provide useful business information on the Business Profile like your address, business description, email address and website.
Catalog lets you display up to 500 products and services along with price, description, website link and product code so customers can browse through your offerings, and make orders by messaging you directly!
Our tip? List your WhatsApp contact info on all of your channels and platforms so customers will rely on WhatsApp for communication with your business, message you for details or even share it through social media and other platforms when they’re interested.
Be consistent and focused with automated Messages & Quick Replies
As your brand grows and attracts more customers that engage with you, messaging tools can help you focus on what is important while ensuring a consistent experience.
For example, an automated Greeting Message allows you to introduce your business properly, and make your customers feel welcomed. When you are out of your “business hours”, an Away Message lets your customers know when to expect a response from you.
Are there any questions frequently asked by customers? Develop a list of answers to these FAQs with the help of Quick Replies!
Organise your chats with Labels
Labels are a great way for you to easily categorise your contacts and chats based on each customer’s buying stage. While you can flexibly tailor labels according to your business needs, WhatsApp has built these 5 standard labels to manage and track customers and orders easily:
- New customer
- New order
- Pending payment
- Order complete
Keep the conversations going with Short Links
Similar to maaiiconnect’s web links for call and chat, it only takes a Short Link for your customers to message your business. Embed a WhatsApp chat link in EDMs and social media ads to empower direct orders from customers.
maaiiconnect web links can also open a chat in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or the maaiiconnect Live Chat widget.
Measure your communication effectiveness with Statistics
Statistics give you a performance overview of your WhatsApp as a customer service channel. The handy tool provides basic figures including numbers of messages sent, delivered, read and received.
Respond to enquiries with Session Messages
A Session Message is a response to an enquiry first initiated by customers within a 24-hour customer care window. The 24-hour window can re-start every time a customer messages business again.
A Session Message supports rich multimedia content, from hyperlinks, images, documents, audio to video. Each Session Message can be 4,096 characters long at most each time.
Send updates with Template Messages
A Template Message is a business-initiated message without the 24-hour window restriction. Businesses can also issue a Template Message in multiple languages.
However, a Template Message doesn’t come without restrictions:
- Business-initiated Template Messages are not meant for sending ads and marketing messages as much as marketers want it to be! In order to create a quality experience for customers, each template message has to be approved by WhatsApp manually to ensure the message complies with WhatsApp’s Business & Commerce Policies.
- Getting opt-in consent by customers via a third-party channel is a prerequisite of sending a template message. For example, you may add an option on your website to let customers choose to receive updates and alerts over WhatsApp.
- It can only contain text, hyperlinks, emojis with limited media support, including .jpeg, .png and .pdf.
- Each Template Message can only be as long as 1,024 characters.
- WhatsApp supports up to 250 templates for each account.
WhatsApp Business API: On a special note
While the WhatsApp Business App can be installed straight from app stores, businesses need to work with WhatsApp Business Solution Providers in order to integrate WhatsApp into your own omnichannel communications platform or CRM.
You will also need to get a verified Facebook Business Manager account on Facebook in order to subscribe to the API through a Solution Provider.
The next big thing(s) of WhatsApp!
Since joining as one of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp continues to excite marketers and businesses as Facebook plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger in the future to offer a seamless experience across the Facebook product ecosystem and empower online commerce.
This year in June and November, WhatsApp has also released digital payment service in Brazil and India, boosting the participation of local businesses in the digital economy. Payment services on WhatsApp are rolling out worldwide in the future, making WhatsApp Business even more essential for your customer engagement mix!
Add WhatsApp to your maaiiconnect communication mix
Customer Engagement Made Simple: WhatsApp Business is already available for integration with your maaiiconnect dashboard. Don’t worry about APIs and verified status on Facebook, or jumping through all those hoops – simply get on a chat with us now to discuss how to add WhatsApp to your maaiiconnect plan.