What is WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp is one of the world’s most popular mobile messaging services. After popular demand they have now opened up WhatsApp Business so that organizations can create WhatsApp accounts to engage with their customers. This can be an incredibly effective way to engage with your customers, if done correctly.
This guide will help you to understand everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business and how you can use this to communicate and engage with your customers.
What are the benefits of a WhatsApp Business account?
WhatsApp is a communication channel that most of your customers will be familiar with as they already use it to communicate with their friends and family. Now that the service has allowed businesses to set up accounts it can enable your business to provide quick and personalised service to your customers.
You can use the WhatsApp Business app for simple interactions with customers from a single phone, or if you want to build a more interactive service you can use the WhatsApp Business API to do this.
The WhatsApp Business API essentially allows the software systems of your business to interact with customers via WhatsApp. Some examples of services you can build with the WhatsApp Business API include:
- Customer order notifications
- Product catalogues
- Customer support and sales chat services
- WhatsApp chatbots
- WhatsApp storefronts
- Information portals
- Locations based services (like finding nearest store)
- Customer notifications (such as order confirmations)
- Sharing images (flyers or promotions for your business)
- Sharing business documents (PDFs)
- Getting user generated content (people sending in images, videos or voice notes)
For example, you you might want to integrate your e-commerce website with your WhatsApp business account to send customers messages about order updates or let them chat with your customer service team.
Examples of WhatsApp Business services
Here are some more examples of how organizations are using WhatsApp to engage with their markets.
Save allows people to view the latest promotions, find stores and chat with customer support using WhatsApp.
Richfield is an education provider that allows prospective and existing students to find more information about their courses, campuses, bursaries and more.
Health Systems Trust uses WhatsApp to provide information for people to get checked and collect medication from the government for chronic conditions.
Having a presence on WhatsApp goes a long way towards building a modern, trusted brand that customers can easily communicate with.
How do I interact with customers on WhatsApp Business?
Customers can interact with your business on WhatsApp just they like do with any other person. First they need to start a conversation by sending a message to your WhatsApp Business phone number that you’ve registered with your account, just like they would message a new friend.
A neat tip to make this really easy for people is to create your own shortcut link to start a conversation with your WhatsApp number. You can do this by adding your WhatsApp number to the end of the https://wa.me/ domain, as well as some optional starting text. Like the example below:
Now you can put this link on your website, include it in an SMS or anywhere else and whenever someone taps or clicks on the link it will open up a conversation with your WhatsApp Business phone number. You can try it out by clicking the button below to chat with our own WhatsApp chatbot.
If the user taps the link from their phone, it will open the conversation in their WhatsApp app. If they’re using their computer it will open the conversation in WhatsApp’s desktop chat application.
If you are using the WhatsApp Business app on your phone you can then freely chat with users through the app. Just remember that you can only have the app installed for your business on one phone. If you need multiple people in your business to interact with customers over WhatsApp then it’s you’ll need to use a tool that’s integrated with the WhatsApp Business API.
How to set up a WhatsApp Business account
There are two ways that you can interact with customers using WhatsApp Business.
WhatsApp Business app
If it’s only going to be one person communicating with customers you can download and use the WhatsApp Business app for free.
Just download the app and following the instructions when you start it up. WhatsApp uses the phone number of the phone that it’s been installed on so make sure you’ve bought a SIM card for your business and noted down the number as this will be your WhatsApp Business phone number.
WhatsApp Business API
If you need multiple staff to interact with people using WhatsApp Business, then you can use a tool that’s integrated with the WhatsApp Business API.
Basically, WhatsApp’s Business API (Application Programmable Interface) allows businesses to integrate their systems with their WhatsApp Business account. So for example, if a customer orders something on your website, you could have your website send a notification to the customer on WhatsApp from your WhatsApp Business Profile.
WhatsApp’s Business API can be used to create all kinds of useful applications. We’ve used this to create several kinds of applications for including chatbots, storefronts and more.
How to get a WhatsApp Business API account
To set up a WhatsApp Business API account you will need to be approved by a WhatsApp partner. These are companies that WhatsApp works with to help verify and get business set up with their WhatsApp Business API account. This is something that we have helped several businesses to do. The process goes like this:
To get started with setting up a WhatsApp Business account you’ll need to make sure you have the following in order:
|Use case||A clear description of what you will be using your WhatsApp Business account for|
|Brand name||The name that will appear on your WhatsApp account|
|Logo||High-resolution logo to be used on your WhatsApp profile|
|Website URL||The website URL that will appear on your WhatsApp password|
|Region||What region your WhatsApp account will be operating in|
|About (135 chars max)||This is a brief bio that appears on your WhatsApp business account.|
|Description (200 chars max)||A more detailed description about what people can expect from your WhatsApp Business account. This appears when people open up your profile.|
|Estimated monthly messages||An estimate of how many messages do you expect to send per month.|
|Facebook Business Manager ID||You need to have a verified Business Manager account for the business or brand that you are applying for. Facebook provides instructions for how ot verify your business.|
Once you have all of this in order you’ll need to submit it to a WhatsApp partner company who will then apply to WhatsApp to have your business account created.
If you have any questions or need advice at this point, we’ve helped many businesses get up and running on WhatsApp Business. So feel free to send us a message, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.
WhatsApp Business Pricing
Using the WhatsApp Business app is free. Aside from the costs you may have of the mobile phone, SIM, data plan etc.
When using the WhatsApp Business API, it’s common for there to be a monthly cost for having a WhatsApp number as well as a per message fee to respond to users. You’ll also need to take into the account any fees associated with using software that integrates with the WhatsApp API. For example, a customer chat service that provides an interface for your business representatives to chat to customers.
As such, the costs of implementing a WhatsApp solution depend on what exactly you’re planning to do with it. We’ve helped and advised many businesses to estimate the costs of their WhatsApp solutions so if you’ve got an idea that you’d like to explore but have questions about how to approach this, you’re welcome to get in touch with our team for advice and an estimate at no cost.