When was the last time you left a voicemail? In fact, how often do you call compared to how often you prefer to send a text message?
In today’s world of Instant gratification it seems that sending an email and waiting for a reply is now soooo 2017. We want to communicate with businesses like we do with our friends – via a Instant Messaging where we get answers…well…instantaneously.
WhatsApp has officially launched WhatsApp Business which is a standalone application for small businesses. Currently only on android, the new app will “make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.”
Using WhatsApp for business is not new.
Savvy business owners have been advertising their “WhatsApp number” as a channel for their customers to use. So whats the difference between regular personal and WhatsApp Business?
The official business app has several features that the regular personal WhatsApp doesn’t have:
Business Account: Each business will be listed as a “Business Account” which will have a verified mark to identify it as the official account.
Web Access: Just like personal WhatsApp, the WhatsApp Business will have the ability to use WhatsApp from the website. This makes it easier to chat with customers via a computer’s keyboard and the task can be assigned to a customer service agent.
Reports: There will also be some “Messaging Statistics” which will allow the business to “see what’s working”. Not much details around these.
Messaging Tools: WhatsApp Business will have Messaging Tools such as “quick replies” that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, “greeting messages” that introduce customers to your business, and “away messages” that let them know you’re busy. These are like the automatic reply to Frequently Asked Questions with a bit of Chat Bots mixed in as we have seen on Facebook Messenger.
When you register for WhatsApp, you do so with your cell number. You cannot have two WhatsApp applications running simultaneously e.g.. one on a tablet and the other on your phone.
When you register for WhatsApp Business, you are not able to use your number that has already been registered to use Personal WhatsApp. You are prompted to decide if you would like to migrate your phone number over to the Business side.
So In Summary:
What do we really want? usually its the same few things such as opening times, address and some questions that 90% of other customers ask. With WhatsApp Business, the company’s profile will include this vital information and the savy business owner will set up the automatic replies to answer some of the customer’s most Frequently Asked Questions.
I see this tool being used by the businesses that are always on the go such as consultants, real-estate agents, plumbers, electricians etc. as this is a quick an effective way of being able to deal with multiple customers while being on-site.
WhatsApp Business is yet another channel that small business can deploy to help address their customers’ needs.
WhatsApp Business is available today and free to download on Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. The app is rolling out around the world in the coming weeks.