WhatsApp API for Business – The Gamechanger You’ve Been Waiting ForJason Siddall
Most of us are more than familiar with the ‘ping’ of a WhatsApp message. In fact, global numbers are showing WhatsApp to be one of the most popular and most commonly downloaded apps in use daily by some 1.5 billion people as of 2017.
Consider some of these stats: (Source)
- 5 billion users in 180 countries make WhatsApp the most popular messaging app in the world – 0.2 billion more than stablemate Facebook Messenger
- One billion daily active WhatsApp users
- 65 billion WhatsApp messages sent per day, or 29 million per minute
- Two billion minutes spent making WhatsApp voice and video calls per day
- 55 million WhatsApp video calls made per day, lasting 340 million minutes in total
- 85 billion hours of WhatsApp usage measured May-July 2018
2017 saw a smart move from Facebook, the new wardens of WhatsApp, to monetise this smart system by creating an API for businesses which they have been building on since.
What is the WhatsApp API for Business?
The WhatsApp API for business is a platform which provides a secure communication channel between businesses and customers, and which links to and from other CRM and sales tools.
A free messaging service with so many bells and whistles is going to attract the attention of the big industry players, and after being bought out by Facebook in 2014 for an eye-watering US$19 billion, the world watched to see what would come next.
In the meantime, many users went from using WhatsApp as a free and fun way to connect with friends and family, to using its incredible functionality to communicate with customers. Initially, the public was a little sceptical of using this private platform for business, but as the benefits unfolded it became something of a no-brainer.
2017 saw WhatsApp adding various features to allow for safe and secure messaging between customers and businesses. For example, a verified business account on WhatsApp would display a green badge which told users that this number belongs to a business account.
An article in TechRepublic quotes WhatsApp COO, Matt Idema, saying, “We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks.
“These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.”
As of February 2019, the WhatsApp API for business was in use by some three million businesses worldwide.
How Does it Work?
In keeping with its simple and user-friendly history, the WhatsApp API bridges the gap between communication and engagement channels within your business.
This is done by:
- Creating a business profile, including all relevant information on your business, product/service and contact details.
- Users can opt-in to receive WA messages from your company via a 3rd party channel such as a newsletter, your website, SMS etc. They will also have the option to choose what information they wish to receive from you.
- You can create templates to send to users populated with whatever information they require.
- Users can block your business via WA if they choose to.
How Can the WhatsApp Business API Work For You?
This exciting tech comes with a host of benefits. Consider some of them:
- Brilliant customer service. Whether you integrate your CRM software or not, your customers have a quick, easy, free and real-time communication channel without the joys of being put on hold or receiving “donotreply” emails.
- Streamlined transactions. Once we have the customer’s interest we need to act quickly – we know that. Therefore, integrating payment channels into the WA business app shortens the distance between consideration and pulling their credit card out.
- Simplified accounting. Send invoices, statements, delivery notes, PINs and more over your secure network. Your paper trail is easy to report on, and everything is date stamped. What a win!
- Reminders and specials. With so many exciting options, from gifs to graphics, a quick message highlighting the right product at the right time to your customer is a great way to say, “Hey, we’re here. Don’t forget about us.”
- Feedback and conversations. Customers are usually fine to chat with us, but honestly don’t want to sit on the phone on hold listening to elevator music for 20 minutes. Nor do they want to stand in queues to talk to a customer service person. WA offers the best communication channel with real-time conversations with real people.
- Traceable and trackable. Extracting reports and leads from WA is as simple as exporting a CSV file.
So, the question is, how would you make the best use of the WhatsApp API for business? Call the Cellfind team to find out the best place to start!