WhatsApp Business Signals a Change in Business Communication

WhatsApp is by far the world’s most popular messaging platform. With over 1.5 billion active users, the Facebook-owned service is one that businesses can’t ignore as a potential connection point to customers.

The main premise of WhatsApp Business is that it allows organizations to quickly message with current and possible customers, similar to other messaging options from Apple or parent company Facebook. The app is currently available for Android, with reports that an iOS version is in the works.

Messaging has become a default way that customers communicate with a business, be they new or returning customers.

Creating a business profile

Much like with other social networks’ business services, you create a profile specifically for your business. The process is pretty straightforward, akin to creating an account with your standard social service: Register a phone number, input your business’s name, website, email and a short description of what your business is about.

Depending upon the nature of the business, you may not always have the bandwidth to respond to each message directly. With WhatsApp Business, you’re able to create quick replies for situations that warrant them, such as delivery confirmation or offering a coupon.

Similarly, automated messages can be used for such communications. For example, you can compose a greeting that serves as an introduction to your business or blast out an instant message when someone contacts you for the first time to let them know you’ll respond as soon as you are able.

Similar to organizing your email messages, WhatsApp has a label system so you can organize chats and return to them if needed.

Diving deeper

For those who want to go beyond the basics, the WhatsApp Business API enables organizations to build more complex tools. For example, you can permit customers to make a purchase or inquire about an existing order through WhatsApp.

The API can also integrate with Facebook advertising tools so customers could contact you directly from an advertisement. The company touts that large organizations like Uber and Booking.com have found ways to better connect with customers via WhatsApp.

Using the API also gives your business more detailed metrics about your customers and can help you tailor your messaging strategy more effectively. As with any widely deployed API, third-party companies offer their own solutions that integrate with their own suite of messaging tools.

Messaging customers the right way

Facebook has been keen for business users not to go overboard with pestering their customers through WhatsApp. Answering key questions, providing order updates and shipping confirmations, or using automated answers for more basic questions like business hours are most likely to get a favorable response. Businesses are cautioned not to routinely send an overbearing number of offers or other overinvolved messages.

“This is going to be especially important for all of the small businesses out there that don’t have a web presence, and that are increasingly using private social platforms is their main way of interacting with their customers,”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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