With 25.6 million monthly active users in the US, WhatsApp is the third most used messaging app, after Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. The app has become an effective communication tool between friends, family, work teams, as well as between companies and consumers.
In 2018, Facebook launched a version of WhatsApp targeting small companies and called WhatsApp Business, where businesses can integrate a chatbot to optimize the management of conversations with their customers.
How does WhatsApp Business work?
As per the original application, WhatsApp Business is a free downloadable app available for Android and iOS smartphones. However, WhatsApp users can now communicate with a company chatbot through the chat interface as they would talk to a real person.
WhatsApp Business also has additional features to differentiate it from an individual account and aimed at facilitating business-to-customer communication.
The main features include:
- Business profile – A company can create a business profile that includes the following information: business description, company address, company email, website URL, and working hours. Having a “Verified” badge next to your company name helps your brand to gain users’ trust.
- Contact labels – Businesses can organize their contacts and categorize them with labels for easy access. This way, you can easily search through your contacts and keep them grouped and organized.
- Greeting message setup – WhatsApp for business enables you to create a greeting message that users will receive when they start a dialog with your company or after 14 days of inactivity. It creates a warm welcome to potential customers without delays and waiting times.
- Quick replies – This option enables saving and re-sending messages for fast answers to FAQs such as thank you messages, ordering instructions, payment information, and discounts.
- Away message setting – The business can schedule an automatic message to inform its users about the hours of operation in case a customer tries to get in touch outside of business hours. This can be set up to activate at a chosen time.
- Statistics – WhatsApp for Business lets you access key metrics like how many of your messages were sent, delivered, and read.
It is important to remember that businesses have to comply with WhatsApp Business policies which specify, among other things, that the company can only contact people who have given their permission to do so. It is also mandatory to offer an opt-out option, i.e. to be deleted from the contact list.
WhatsApp Business chatbots
WhatsApp Business offers an API (Application Programming Interface). An API is a set of programming standards that allows other developers to create products associated with a specific service. One of the products associated with WhatsApp Business is the chatbot, which enables companies to develop their bots within the application.
Inbenta offers several integrations in order to deploy an Inbenta chatbot on WhatsApp Business.
In practice, the application can be implemented on a server, providing a local API that allows the company to send and receive scheduled messages and to integrate this workflow with its own systems (CRM, customer service, etc.). This integration offers another advantage for companies, as it allows for more efficient management of communication and customer relations.
Over 50% of customers expect a business to be available 24/7.
According to HubSpot, messaging apps have approximately 5 billion monthly active users in 2020, which represents about 60% of the world population. Therefore, customers expect to interact with chatbots on one of the most popular messaging platforms.
How to create a chatbot on WhatsApp Business
Developing a chatbot for WhatsApp can be a great investment for a company that needs to optimize customer service, increase sales, or even better understand its prospects in order to improve its content marketing strategy.
However, the WhatsApp Enterprise API works to a certain extent, which means that it is not available to all companies. Indeed, interested parties must register and wait for Facebook to grant them access. WhatsApp requires the customer to have a hosting database, which ensures communication is encrypted. Registration can be done in-house or through a Whatsapp Certified Partner.
The most important thing to do before you begin is to define the purpose of your chatbot and prepare appropriate content to answer users’ questions. When developing your content, consider the tone of communication adopted by your company: formal, informal, light, serious? The customer will be talking to a bot, which is a slightly different experience than talking to a human, so do your best to make your users feel at ease by using a tone that matches with your company’s image or industry.
Most chatbots are developed using machine learning technology, which requires large amounts of inputs and data sets to work. Inbenta’s chatbot is based on our proprietary and patented Natural Language Processing technology powered by Symbolic AI which enables the bot to understand and accurately answer the users’ queries as soon as it’s put into production.
Investing in a chatbot for WhatsApp can positively impact your customers’ experience. For this to happen, it is essential to clearly define your goals and to carefully choose the supplier and technology you will be working with.