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Sep 13, 2023
8 minutes read

What Is a WhatsApp Chatbot, and How Do You Build One in WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business and chatbots have skyrocketed as channels for brands to communicate with customers, and there are no signs of slowing down; There are currently around 2 billion active users on WhatsApp in more than 180 countries, and the numbers are still growing! A chatbot on WhatsApp can hugely benefit your business communication. In this blog, we'll explore the true value of WhatsApp Chatbots and how to build one.

What Is a WhatsApp Chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation by interacting with users through text-based or voice-based interfaces and can be integrated into messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, websites, and apps. On websites and apps, a chatbot can often be customized to resemble the company branding. On WhatsApp, the interface is unchangeable, but the chatbot technology behind it can be as advanced as you want it to be.

Chatbots can be used in various communications, including external communication, such as customer service, lead generation, and sales assistance, and internal communication, such as HR support and onboarding. They are often used to automate repetitive tasks, provide instant responses, and offer personalized service.

Some chatbots are more limited than others, but AI chatbots, in particular, use natural language processing (NLP) techniques to understand and interpret user inputs and provide appropriate responses.

So why should you choose to implement a chatbot on WhatsApp? What are the benefits? What are the use cases? And how do you get started? Let’s find out!

What Are the Benefits of WhatsApp Business Chatbots?

Overall, the goal of a chatbot is to provide an interactive and conversational experience for users, allowing them to obtain information, perform tasks, or engage in a dialogue as if they were interacting with a human. This means businesses can:

  • Be available to customers 24/7

  • Provide instant answers to customer queries

  • Reduce the need for live contacts

  • Free up staff for more valuable, time-consuming tasks

  • Adapt and scale chatbots for multiple use cases; service, sales or HR

  • Improve the overall customer experience

WhatsApp Business Platform has a long list of beneficial factors that make it an ideal host for your chatbot and invaluable to your business:

Popularity

We've mentioned it above: Two billion active users on WhatsApp in more than 180 countries! The popularity of WhatsApp will make sure that your chatbot will reach your audience.

Familiarity

Because most customers already use WhatsApp, the chatbot will be easy to navigate and a comforting option.

Deliverability

The WhatsApp chatbot gets the message to your customers thanks to WhatsApp’s high delivery rates and even boasts a high response rate.

Security

WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption features, making it secure and easy to use.

Rich Media

WhatsApp chatbots let customers upload photos of new products, video demonstrations, invoices, or other business-related information. There’s also the option of sharing locations for quick delivery.

Need some more convincing? Let's look at the stats!

  • WhatsApp Chatbots allow companies to answer customer inquiries 60% faster than by phone or email.

  • Over 61% of customers prefer to communicate with businesses on WhatsApp.

  • More than 65% of online shoppers want to use WhatsApp for service or assistance.

Use Cases for WhatsApp Chatbots

The combined forces of WhatsApp Business and chatbots support several business use cases that you can add value to your business:

Instant Customer Service

In today's business world, customers expect instant responses. A WhatsApp Chatbot is a versatile customer platform that handles queries, complaints, orders, refunds, and more. By automating responses and redirecting complex queries, businesses save time and allow employees to focus on other tasks. The WhatsApp Chatbot is a virtual customer care agent available 24/7.

whatsapp-chatbot-automation_light

Automate Processes

Customer processes, such as refunding or replacing a product, or completing lengthy forms, can be delicate and potentially frustrating for both customers and businesses. By implementing a WhatsApp Chatbot, you can automate responses to frequently asked questions about refunds, replacements, and forms, ensuring a swift, efficient, and hassle-free experience for you and your valued customers.

whatsapp business service automation

Collect Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is pivotal in business, fostering a meaningful connection between buyers and sellers. However, collecting high-quality feedback can be challenging. Thankfully, automated WhatsApp Chatbot templates come to the rescue. Businesses can effortlessly send concise questions to customers, allowing them to respond promptly without needing emails or external website links. This approach automatically distills their responses into essential information, saving you the hassle of sifting through lengthy surveys to understand what your customers tell you.

whatsapp business customer feedback

Lead Generation

WhatsApp Chatbots help simplify lead generation by enabling easy conversation initiation. Businesses can share a phone number or click-to-chat feature in online ads, instantly opening a chat window. This facilitates personalized communication, converting strangers into customers. With a WhatsApp Chatbot, businesses can automate reaching potential customers, nurturing leads through personalized messaging, and collecting valuable information to hand to a sales agent.

whatsapp business assisted sales

Alerts and Notifications

WhatsApp Chatbots can deliver instant, concise notifications to customers, ensuring time-sensitive messages aren't missed. From appointment reminders to event notifications and discounted offers, chatbots excel at quick alerts. They also automate event invites and provide event-related information. In today's dynamic environment, chatbots are crucial in reaching a large audience with instant updates.

whatsapp service tracking updates

How to Build a WhatsApp Chatbot

So how do you set up a WhatsApp Chatbot for your Business? It’s relatively easy, but you need to have a WhatsApp Business Platform account. It will allow you to communicate with customers over WhatsApp that have opted-in, including automating these conversations if needed with a chatbot.

1. Apply for the WhatsApp Business Platform

The first step is to either apply for the WhatsApp Business Platform yourself, where you will be required to input your company details, or WhatsApp recommends that you sign up and work with a Business Solution Provider such as CM.com. When doing so, you will find that your WhatsApp Platform request is more likely to be granted.

2. Define Your Goals

Before jumping on the WhatsApp Chatbot wagon, you will need to clarify your business goals and determine how WhatsApp will help you achieve them. You must also establish who you will be talking to, what you will talk about, and how you can help them. Do your customers need help navigating a site or a procedure? Or are you helping them book an appointment or reserving tickets?

Don’t just view your WhatsApp chatbot as a simple FAQ tool. It can (and should) be so much more than that. Once you’ve started the conversation with your customer, you should strive to help them achieve their goal within the same platform.

Define the following elements:

  • What business areas will the WhatsApp Chatbot operate in?

  • Who is your audience?

  • Which systems will the WhatsApp Chatbot integrate with?

  • What security features will you have in place?

  • What data is available for integration?

3. Set Up the Conversation

Your WhatsApp Business Solution Provider will guide you in setting up the conversational parameters between your business and your customers.

Planned paths (rule-based) are among the most basic yet effective chatbot options comprising a simple question and a predefined answer.

For instance, a conversation may look like this:

WhatsApp Chatbot: Are you an existing member?

Options: Yes | No

If Yes, WhatsApp chatbot: Please input your membership number.

If No, WhatsApp chatbot: Would you like to speak to a member of our team?

The answers to the questions will direct the user to the next stage in the flow. Interaction is quick and amazingly simple.

4. Integrate With Your CRM

Merging your WhatsApp Chatbot with your customer relationship management software is a match made in heaven and means your business can genuinely personalize customer communication.

Does your customer want to see their order status? Or data usage? Show them the answer directly in the WhatsApp Chatbot conversation rather than redirecting them to your website and potentially losing them.

Integrating WhatsApp Chatbot with your CRM removes the guesswork of identifying a customer. With a CRM in the picture, you know exactly who you’re talking to, and you can use that to your advantage.

5. Enable Live Agent Handover

Chatbots are incredibly versatile, but they remain bound by the rules that they are built on. Therefore, your WhatsApp chatbot will encounter questions that it can’t answer, input that it won’t recognize, or inquiries about topics that require live human contact. When this happens, ensure your WhatsApp Chatbot is programmed to connect the customer with a human who can take over the communication immediately or in the morning when working hours resume.

Agents can pick up conversations from the bot relevant to their department and assist immediately, having all the customer information at their fingertips. The chatbot can open support tickets for issues that require additional input and feed this information to all parties, logging all interactions along the way.

Customer routing is a big deal, and when done right, it removes the frustration of being shunted from one department to another. Customers answer a few qualifying questions via the bot and end up exactly where they’re meant to be.

WhatsApp Chatbot Success Story: KFC

KFC South Africa raised the bar for customer communication by connecting with consumers via a ground-breaking WhatsApp chat ordering channel. To prioritize catering to the youth market, KFC needed to reach young people on a platform they already loved: WhatsApp!

For the very first time, South African consumers get to choose their meals and place their KFC orders via WhatsApp. The order process is automated via a WhatsApp chatbot. The steps involve adding KFC as a contact, saying “Hi” on WhatsApp, choosing a meal option, selecting a restaurant that offers the service, and then paying for and collecting your order in-store.

kfc-phone-mockupRead all about KFC's success story >

Get Started with WhatsApp Business Chatbots

The WhatsApp Business Platform and our chatbot solutions open the door for a chatbot for businesses to take customer communication to the next level. Working with our team allows you to set it up effortlessly as we handle all the technical aspects, setup, and data compliance. Reach out to our team of experts today to get started with WhatsApp Chatbots.

Launch your own WhatsApp Chatbot with CM.com

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Christel Brouwers
Copywriter at CM.com. Passionate about language and getting CM.com’s message out there. Shares content about CPaaS, Payments and more.

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