WhatsApp Business? Get in line

3 minutes read

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WhatsApp has finally opened the doors for business usage. How can I use it to the advantage of my business? What does it take for me to get on board? After reading this article, you will have no further questions and be able to start using WhatsApp Business right away!

What is WhatsApp Business? 

After Big Data, Blockchain, CryptoCurrency and API, it seems that WhatsApp Business is the latest buzzword in town. Everyone is talking about it, hardly anyone has it, and nobody seems to really understand what it means. Still, people are already receiving WhatsApp messages from small and mid-sized companies.  

Currently there are over 1.5 billion registered WhatsApp-users in 180 countries, which is about 20% of the world’s population. Using WhatsApp you can send rich content, so you’re able to send links, maps, images, sound and video, straight into the palm of your user. Communications are encrypted and secured. You will get engagement from your users, as they are already accustomed to using WhatsApp for conversations with friends, colleagues and family.  

To keep the channel well-read, WhatsApp is working hard to avoid spam. Only verified members and scenarios are approved and receive a checkmark. When users start to recognize this, this means that every contact via WhatsApp will be perceived as trusted. 

But I can do all that already!? 

True. With the regular WhatsApp, you can only connect via one phone or web-portal in a single-user environment. WhatsApp Business adds the opportunity to connect the medium to your back-office systems, so you can send campaigns to multiple users and receive their input in your support system. WhatsApp Business enables enterprises to have multiple conversations at once. These additional features will benefit you as a company, and as such, WhatsApp will charge you for your campaigns. 

What if your WhatsApp channel becomes a huge success and you get lots of questions? You must respond within 24 hours or you will be surcharged a fine for not responding. This means you need to be prepared for wild success! You need to be prepared to reply. Will you have enough human resources to do that yourself? Most likely you will need to use a (chat)bot to build the initial conversation and gather the first data, before handing the conversation over to an actual human, if that is needed at all. The better your bot, the less human interaction you will need.

There’s an API! Let me in! 

Hold your horses! Yes, there is an API. And yes there is a big coverage, estimated at 45% worldwide. That also means that 55% is not reachable via WhatsApp. The WhatsApp Business API is not going to help you to connect to them. If you use an experienced supplier like CM.com, you will be able to mix and match solutions. We combine multiple incoming channels into one central endpoint. Combining WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS, Viber and more channels into one communications platform to connect to your end-users. We provide a platform to send campaigns to large groups of recipients and for your agents to manage your incoming communications. Our unified API will help you send messages to the various channels, adding the simplicity of fallback. If the WhatsApp-message is undeliverable, for example because the end-user is out of data or does not have WhatsApp installed, we can have your message fall back onto an equally rich channel like Viber or to a plain SMS. We make sure your message is always delivered to the right phone in the right time. 

Where do I get in line? 

All you need is access to the WhatsApp Business API. And that immediately is the difficult part. Because WhatsApp wants all business users to be validated while still being in a prerelease state, the queues are quite long. Rumor has it, that there are millions of businesses trying to get the key to connect. 

While you wait for your access application, you can already gain experience using multichannel rich content messaging using SMS with apps like CM Pages and CM Customer Contact in our platform. Adding channels like Viber, will give you mostly the same features. When your WhatsApp access is granted, we will hook you up to the system. And because you already are using these other communication channels, you are already experienced and can roll out WhatsApp Business over the whole of your organization in no time.

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Joep Beusenberg

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