The popularity of WhatsApp as a go-to messaging app has no parallel. With a user base of more than 1.5 billion people using the app for texting daily, the opportunity to tap into the business side of it should not be missed.
Luckily, WhatsApp Business API helps brands leverage the messaging app for initiating business communications without compromising the user experience.
WhatsApp for personal communication is already bundled with quite a few impressive features. Users can make calls, both video, and audio, share files of any kind, use interactive graphics like GIFs and emojis, and perform a host of tasks just with an active internet connection.
The key appeals of WhatsApp as a messaging app are personalization in communication and urgency in checking messages by the users.
Therefore, brands can invoke the same sense of urgency with personalized messages and improve their product promotion through WhatsApp Business. Let’s find out how.
WhatsApp Business API: An introduction?
WhatsApp Business was launched in 2018 by its parent company Meta. Launching the API was to bring in the features of WhatsApp for businesses.
In principle, WhatsApp Business API acts as a support and plays the role of a sales channel, which brands can utilize to promote their products and services more personalized and targeted manner.
It allows brands to use WhatsApp to communicate with multiple customers using automated replies, chatbot support & interactive messages.
Usually, the API allows businesses to list their products or services on their WhatsApp Business account that are visible to their contacts.
Although often perceived as confusing, especially for new business owners or startups, implementing WhatsApp Business API are straightforward. However, before we proceed to the steps of integrating WhatsApp Business API, let’s check some of the features and advantages that make it such a helpful addition.
WhatsApp Business API: An upgrade over WhatsApp Business App
Usually, WhatsApp Business App or web extensions are enough for small businesses to connect with their customers. However, this version has limited capabilities and cannot handle large-scale operations effectively.
The features included quick replies, away messages, dedicated business hours, and single usage. Naturally, it had to be monitored by the device holder and posed an issue when a lot of customers had to be managed.
WhatsApp Business API effectively solved all these issues by making features such as bulk messaging, integrations, and multiple logins. Further, it brings in quite a few automation features that can be integrated with CRM tools or business platforms.
Yet, the WhatsApp Business API can only be accessed via WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSPs).
The WhatsApp API Platform is still not available at a large scale yet. Meta has less than 100 third-party solution providers distributing the WhatsApp Business API to businesses for integration.
Generally, the BSPs urge businesses to build the existing solution by integrating the API. These BSPs streamline customer communication according to pre-approved use cases by the brands onboarding the former. One of the benefits of using such a BSP is that the process of integrating WhatsApp Business API becomes hassle-free.
Such integration with the BSPs includes all the critical features of WhatsApp Business. Further, it offers a CRM-like interface with analytics support and third-party apps, verified profiles, broadcast messages, interactive chat support, and multi-user logins. Subsequently, the entire system becomes more streamlined and can be managed easily.
WhatsApp Business API: How is it done?
Once the basic idea of BSP support is established, it is essential to understand the components of the WhatsApp Business API account.
Ideally, there are two components of the API – the brand’s profile on WhatsApp Business and a registered phone number.
- WhatsApp Business Profile: The WhatsApp Business Profile helps customers to find all the relevant information about a business. Business owners can optimize the profile with a cover photo, business description, official address, contact email, and brand website.
- Registered Phone Number: This is usually the official phone number associated with a brand’s WhatsApp Business account. The phone number should be registered to receive calls or SMS since it requires an OTP verification via SMS.
Once these details are uploaded on the BSP, the integration can be done effectively. After integrating it with your WhatsApp business profile, you can leverage the BSP’s features, which usually help you to:
- Leverage WhatsApp as Chatbot using Automation– WhatsApp Business API helps you to set up a chatbot that automates responses to general queries regarding the business offerings.
- Team Inbox accessibility & Multi-user login– The BSP integration allows businesses to set up multiple logins for customer support teams using a single WhatsApp number.
- The dashboard enables the entire team to use the platform for communication once they are added. Further, it can manage sales data and customer profiles via a single dashboard.
- Broadcast messages & Personalized Campaigns– BSPs allow brands to send messages in bulk than getting restricted by the usual 256 recipients. These messages can be further customized and personalized based on the requirements.
However, there are certain things that businesses must remember before integrating WhatsApp business. Although WhatsApp Business API allows a variety of message formats, certain templates can be reused.
These templates are approved by WhatsApp, not the BSPs, and are only used to send notifications to customers. Further, consent plays a significant role here, too, as a brand must ask for user permission before sending them promotional messages.
These safeguards help brands maintain the quality rating of the messages sent to the customers. Based on the colors (green, yellow, or red signifying the reducing quality order), the WhatsApp Business account can be flagged or restricted.
WhatsApp Business API helps businesses scale their customer communication to quite some degree. The steps mentioned above clarify for small business owners and startups onboarding a BSP and enhance the overall user experience with personalized communication.
Since the API integration brings in a lot of automation and support, human efforts are minimized, and the communication process becomes seamless.
If you are looking to integrate WhatsApp Business API with your brand communications, get in touch with us today.