Unless you have been stuck in a hole in a remote part of the planet, you must have heard about a birdie named “WhatsApp for Business”. After acquiring the instant messaging provider in 2014 for a whopping price of $19 billion, Facebook has finally found a way to make some money from it. After providing it for free, Facebook has launched WhatsApp for Business APIs for which the business will have to pay.
Let's Rewind: What is WhatsApp for Business?
WhatsApp for business is an Android app which allows the business to talk to their customers directly. But, without creating a nuisance or intruding the personal space of the customers. The catch is – A customer has to be the first one to initiate the interaction. That is, a business cannot contact a customer unless she/he makes the first move. That way, it is the choice of the customer to initiate a conversation or not. And, as per WhatsApp, all information between the client and business will remain end-to-end encrypted.
What has Changed?
Well, yesterday WhatsApp announced the introduction of WhatsApp for Business API. “We’re introducing the WhatsApp Business API to help businesses manage communications with existing and potential customers at scale. With the WhatsApp Business API, you can send messages to people who initiate a chat with your business or who request that you send them information via WhatsApp,” said the company.
With the roll-out of WhatsApp for Business API, the businesses will be levied a fixed charge after 24-hours of the last message sent by the customer. So basically, in a way, the businesses will be fined for a delayed response to the customer. Thus, forcing the companies to up their customer service games. The businesses can still message only when the customer contacts them first, but with this API the businesses can send them non-promotional information such as order status, reminders, flight schedule, etc.
Businesses can manually reply to these queries or get the customer service and support process automated using in-house tools or applications such as Ameyo.
How to Use WhatsApp for Business
WhatsApp for Business has significantly benefited both, the small business or startups as well as the big companies. Let us now see, how exactly can the businesses use WhatsApp to gain customer loyalty and exponential business growth.
1. Notifications to Conversations
Just like Twitter verifies an account by showing a blue tick against the handle, similarly, WhatsApp authenticates a business by giving it a green tick. This will help in preventing frauds from messaging your customers and hampering the company’s reputation. Moreover, if a client receives a notification from a verified profile, there is a higher probability for them to reply to that message. It’s like an invitation to start a conversation. And, if the user replies to that notification, the goal is achieved, the customer is engaged.
2. Updating Order Status
Sending the customers notification confirming their order or tickets and even notifying them in case of any changes. One of the early users of this app has been BookMyShow. They have taken good advantage of this service. BookMyShow sends the ticket details via WhatsApp.
The businesses can also provide the customers with links to track their orders to keep them in the loop throughout the transaction. A good practice will be to give the customers an option to stop the messages (as shown in the image). This will save your company from being blocked by the customer.
3. Customer Service and Support
Your most unhappy customers are your biggest source of learning. But, unless they have the right platform to express their dissatisfaction, how will you learn? If a business fails to provide the customers with the right platform to talk about their grievance, they might just talk about it on social media. Which will lead to bad publicity and has the potential of becoming a disaster. All this can be prevented using WhatsApp. It is a trusted platform where the customers can have a direct conversation. That will instill a sense of ownership and improve customer service experience.
4. Getting Customer Feedback
Millennials are obsessed with WhatsApp today. It makes sense to get your customers to review your product or service on a platform they use on a daily basis. You can send them links to surveys or questionnaire. Being a frequently used platform, there is a high chance that the customers will respond to them and you might just get a more accurate picture.
Lastly…Just the Beginning
With the introduction of WhatsApp for business API, Facebook has definitely changed the way companies are doing business. But, that’s not all. WhatsApp has also formally launched it’s display ads product. This will allow the people to start a WhatsApp chat from ads they see on Facebook. This will help the brands to create more awareness and increase customer engagement. Additionally, the businesses running these ads will receive aggregated metrics such as conversations started and messaging replies in Ads Manager to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns.
These are just a few ways of using WhatsApp to scale your business. All I can say is that it is just the beginning. Watch out this space for more updates on this. You can also leave a comment to let me know of any other ways you can think of to use WhatsApp, for business growth.