Messaging is a critical part of mobile usage and WhatsApp is the undisputed king of messaging apps. It is a great platform for businesses to take customer conversations online, while still having a fast and efficient solutions suite to foster customer engagement.
WhatsApp is popular with users across the world with support for multiple languages. India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with 340 million users, and nearly half of all its downloads are from India.
WhatsApp Business is a win-win for both businesses and customers. While the WhatsApp Business app is a free download, tailored to suit the needs of a small businesses, WhatsApp Business API helps medium and large businesses communicate with customers globally at scale efficiently. The API needs to be powered by an intermediary platform like Netcore Smartech to integrate all business processes on the platform.
With customers looking for more personalized experiences, WhatsApp business solutions aim to provide a quality solution for brands today. The current global scenario is straining the engagement economy, thereby prompting brands to explore easier and faster resolutions for their customer engagement problems. The Coronavirus pandemic has prompted government restrictions on supply chains, impacting businesses all over the world adversely. WhatsApp Business solution is becoming the need of the hour as businesses strive to function efficiently and get back to normalcy during these testing times.
In this blog we share some key insights by Chetan Kumar, Strategic Partnerships at WhatsApp India, in conversation with Pradyut Hande, Growth Marketer and Product Evangelist at Netcore Solutions, in a recently concluded webinar.
This post covers:
- How a brand or business can leverage WhatsApp business solutions
- How WhatsApp Business API helps reimagine personalization in the engagement economy
- How small and medium businesses can leverage WhatsApp better with a majority of consumers already on the platform
Why do businesses need to look at WhatsApp?
In a survey by Facebook IQ, it was found that a majority of consumers across its four major markets, i.e., the US, the UK, India and Brazil already communicate with businesses using messaging apps.
As of 2018, WhatsApp had the following figures:
Reach – 1.5 billion people send messages every day to businesses around the world.
Engagement – 64% of WhatsApp users agreed that WhatsApp fostered a personal connection to the brand.
Preference – 68% of Whatsapp users agreed that the platform is the easiest way to connect with a business.
While it is important to reach out to customers on a channel they are most comfortable and engaged with, Whatsapp as a platform is great for businesses because there is least amount of friction and more responsiveness with customers.
How can brands establish presence on WhatsApp for businesses?
Depending on the scale of the business there are broadly two types of solution that WhatsApp offers:
WhatsApp Business App
This app has been created to cater to the needs of small businesses.Businesses using this can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to any messages or queries.
WhatsApp Business API
This solution caters to the needs of medium and large businesses. It helps businesses or brands communicate with customers using automation and technology at scale for multiple use case scenarios.
WhatsApp Business API can be broadly used for the following two use cases:
It covers all customer initiated conversations with businesses. Responses to such conversations are free of charge within 24 hours. This can include text, images, and even PDFs.
It covers all communication to customers which are business initiated in the form of templated messages that comply with guidelines laid down by WhatsApp. Such notifications can be sent to customers anytime.
The most common types of such notifications are business to person transaction messages, tickets, invoices etc., which customers receive after voluntarily opting-in for business notifications.
It is important to note here that all notifications which businesses put out to customers need to go through scrutiny as per Whatsapp guidelines to ensure no spammy, promotional or unwanted message reach its users. Also no direct promotional activities are allowed on WhatsApp at present. This is to ensure that customers have a hassle free experience without any promotional content.
How does pricing work on the WhatsApp Business API for brands leveraging it on a commercial scale?
Responses to customer-initiated conversations are not charged if the business sends replies within 24 hours of a customer’s message. Responses post that period are charged as notifications and are templated. This solution enables businesses to:
- Resolve customer issues on-on-one with private conversations rather than resort to social media where conversations spiral out of control leading to lost brand reputation.
- Connect with customers immediately as and when issues arise. Avoid friction and frustration related to customers calling an IVR or waiting for email response.
- Communicate seamlessly with customers on a channel they prefer. Customers are always on and engaged with WhatsApp.
Message charges here follow a pay per delivered message model. Messages are priced based on how many notifications businesses send within each market. Businesses will be charged progressively lower prices as message volume increases on WhatsApp.
The recent news of Facebook (WhatsApp’s sister concern) buying a minority stake in Reliance Jio could indeed be news to cheer for businesses looking at Whatsapp Business Solution. With the possibility of integrating JioMart, the e-commerce venture by Reliance Retail with WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Pay, it is sure to open new opportunities for businesses in the post Covid-19 world.
In our next blog, we shall dive into how a typical customer care operation flow looks like on the WhatsApp Business API platform and certain key guidelines related to the same.