WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app with over 2 billion active subscribers globally and a presence in 180 countries. Initially used only for personal communication, WhatsApp is increasingly being leveraged by businesses to communicate with their customers no matter where they are on their customer journey. With conversational commerce on the rise, WhatsApp is the perfect platform as it can help to sustain customer interest and increase their purchase intent via two-way interactions that feel personal.
No wonder then that businesses across industries as diverse as retail, healthcare, education, banking, F&B, FMCG, automotive, travel and tourism, and real estate are using the WhatsApp Business API to provide high-end customer service that boosts conversions, customer lifetime value, net promoter scores, and sales. Enterprises are using the platform to answer customer queries, send targeted promotional content, and share proactive alerts related to transactions, appointments, shipping, important announcements, and more.
The WhatsApp Business API, made available for enterprise use in 2018, is an incredible tool for any brand that wants to create an outstanding CX by meeting customers on their favorite chat app.
If you are a business that needs to communicate with hundreds of thousands of customers on a daily basis, then the WhatsApp for Business API is a great option for you. The API is scalable and there is no limit to the number of customers you can reach with it.
You can share bulk messages simultaneously with thousands of customers. You can leverage it to share personalized marketing messages at scale, share transaction-related alerts, offer discounts, share personalized product or service recommendations, inform customers about loyalty programs, answer customer questions via bots, and so on.
The API easily integrates with existing legacy systems so you can provide quicker and more
efficient customer support and send more relevant campaigns to customers.
The plain WhatsApp Business app is free and good if you are a small, local business. But it has quite a few limitations. The WhatsApp Business app allows you to send bulk messages, but only up to 256 contacts simultaneously, not more. If you are a business with hundreds of thousands of contacts and are seriously looking at WhatsApp as a customer communication channel, then the WhatsApp for Business API is a much better option as there is no limit to the number of customers you can reach with it. Also, WhatsApp Business API allows you to send outbound highly structured messages (HSM), which is not possible with the WhatsApp Business app. Another limitation of the app is it cannot be integrated with other enterprise systems whereas the API can easily be integrated with existing systems like CRM, customer management platforms, chat platforms, and ticketing systems. When it comes to automation, the app has limited automation capabilities whereas the WhatsApp Business supports complete messaging automation with deployment of chatbots. Also, with the WhatsApp Business app, your business account can only be linked to a mobile number whereas for the API, you can link any number of your preference – toll-free, landline, or mobile.
No brand can afford to ignore WhatsApp Business API
as a customer communication channel any longer.
Businesses can initiate highly structured messages (HSM) to send out notifications and other customer care messages to users that have explicitly opted-in to receive such messages. They are governed by strict rules set by WhatsApp that need to be adhered to at all times. They need to be pre-approved by WhatsApp before they can be sent out, and any failure to follow guidelines can easily lead to the templates being rejected. These templates must fall under the following WhatsApp-approved categories in order to be accepted.
They must conform to WhatsApp’s preset authentication message templates, which include optional add-ons like security disclaimers and expiry warnings. They can only be up to 15 characters long and you are not allowed to use URLs, media, or emojis. Verification codes and OTPs fall under this category.
They are mostly transaction-related updates that confirm, suspend, or terminate an existing transaction. Examples include order or booking confirmations or cancellations, shipment-related updates, password changed notifications, payment reminders, and so on.
They may include promotions or offers; welcoming or closing messages; updates, invitations or recommendations; or requests to respond or complete a new transaction.
There are a number of entry points for customers, including:
Click-to-chat Ads on Facebook and Instagram: You can direct customers to chat with you by using the click-to-chat ad feature in the Facebook and Instagram ads.
CTA Buttons on Websites: Adding CTA buttons across your webpages will encourage customers to start real-time conversations with your customer support team via WhatsApp.
Opt-Ins at Check Out to Receive Order Notifications: Insert an active opt-in box on the checkout page for customers to request order-related notifications on WhatsApp. Customers can take action either by ticking the box or entering their phone number.
Email Signatures With WhatsApp Us Link: You can add WhatsApp links to your email signatures so your customers know you are on email and can message you if they want to.
Add QR Codes to Product Packaging, Billboards, Store Displays: These can help you transition customers from offline to online.
Use IVR Deflection: Offer customers who are calling a choice to take the conversation to a WhatsApp chat.
To get a WhatsApp Business API account, you need to team up with an official partner of WhatsApp – a third-party company like edna that will offer their own platform to your brand so that you can use it to create and send bulk messages to all your customers. There are many solution providers in the market and you need to be careful while picking your partner. You must check whether they are official providers of WhatsApp and whether they offer free product support, step-by-step onboarding support, easy billing, no hidden costs, a dedicated account manager, and also guide you on how to get the most out of your WhatsApp Business API channel. You must also check the languages supported by your vendor and whether they can deploy tools on other communication platforms as well. You must carefully assess the different types of plans they offer and choose one that best fits the needs of your business. At edna, we ensure our WhatsApp platform meets all the above-mentioned criteria that an industry-leading solution should have.