Have you ever imagined a time when most of consumer engagement would be done on WhatsApp?
Have you ever imagined directing your ads to WhatsApp and receiving orders and payments right from the messaging app?
This might soon be the case, as top messaging app, WhatsApp finally launched worldwide, a version for businesses called WhatsApp Business.
Though the service is still currently free, WhatsApp’s COO, Matt Idema says the company will later start charging companies to use the app.
Could it be that Facebook Inc. is finally trying to make back the $22 billion it spent to buy the app some years ago?
Though it is basically the same as the WhatsApp messenger, it comes with some special features which sit at the core of its adaptation for businesses.
It also comes with tools and analytics that can help businesses manage a lot of messages and customers just through one channel.
WhatsApp Business to revolutionise Customer Service
WhatsApp Business accounts are expected to relieve the customer off the stress of having to wait long hold times on company phone lines just to talk to a customer service rep, having to carry out heavy app downloads, or scan through tediously long (Frequently Asked Questions) FAQ pages.
With the end-customer at the core of the designer’s mind, companies would not be able to abuse it in their benefit.
The businesses would only be able to message people who have given them their phone numbers and have agreed to be contacted by them.
Therefore, WhatsApp Business is very capable of becoming the top spam-free business to customer communication channel.
Some special features of WhatsApp Business
The “Away Message” feature, enables businesses to set "quick replies" to assure the customers that they have been heard and their enquiries will be responded to as soon as possible.
The feature can help businesses reduce the amount of clients they loose outside working hours.
The app also provides labeling options, with which businesses can effectively categorize clients based on their statuses in the business.
For example, you can start labeling clients as “Regulars, Pending orders, Promo clients” and more.
Facebook ads and WhatsApp Business
Just like Facebook ads can be placed to show on Instagram, the same now applies for WhatsApp.
Ads can now be placed on Facebook and the destination will be WhatsApp.
Businesses can now put up ads on Facebook to link prospective clients to relate with them on WhatsApp.
Chatbots on WhatsApp Business
It is also rumoured that WhatsApp will soon release its API. If this is done, it would mean that just like on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp might soon be able to host its own chat-bots.
For businesses, this would mean they can automate to an extent, the answering of FAQS, provide information about prices and availability of stock etc.
If this is done, customers might be able to make orders straight from WhatsApp just like in Facebook Messenger.
Also, with the labelling function provided on the app, businesses might be able to provide customised offers manually or through the app based of their categories and customer behaviour.
Downside of WhatsApp Business
As good as this new app might seem for businesses, the downside is that just like on the regular WhatsApp messenger, it can only be used on one phone number at a time.
So, it might be really difficult for big businesses with a huge customer base to use it as one of their main customer service channels.
Except they put out different numbers for that purpose.
Also, as we speak now, the app is only available on Android devices.
So this shuts a large chunk or businesses out (especially ones who strictly use IOS devices for all computing operations).
This is however just a minor downside, as the IOS version of the app is expected to be rolled out very soon.
Have you tried out the WhatsApp Business app? What other features do you think should be added to it?