Chatbots for WhatsApp: how do they work and why use them?

With 80% of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 using WhatsApp, it’s the UK’s most popular messaging service, followed by Facebook Messenger. The network has transformed itself into an effective communication tool for friends, families and workmates, as well as businesses and consumers.

Facebook launched WhatApp for Business in 2018, which permits the integration of a Chatbot to optimise and manage customer service communications between businesses and their consumers.

How does WhatApps Business work?

Just like the original application, WhatsApp Business is available for free download on your smartphone and on any device supporting Android or iOS. Nevertheless, it possesses specific other characteristics designed to differentiate it from the standard single-user account and facilitate communications between a business and its clients.

These characteristics are as follows:

  • The creation of Labels to display information depending on a certain state of contact; Order Status; Payment Status; Return Status etc.
  • The WhatApp business user can also create canned responses to popular FAQ’s to save time in responding, as well as pre schedule automatic messages to inform users who attempt to contact support outside of normal hours.
  • Landlines can be added to a WhatsApp business account in order to receive messages from customers.

It is important to remember to follow WhatsApp’s usage policies, which determine, amongst other things, that business may only contact users who have given their permission to be engaged with in such a way. It’s also obligatory to offer users an opt-out should they wish to remove themselves from the list of contacts.

Chatbots for WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp Business has made the WhatsApp Business API (application programme interface) available. An API is a set of programming standards which allow other developers to build applications to communicate with the service. One of the products associated with WhatsApp business is its Chatbot, which permits businesses to develop their own Chatbots within the WhatsApp Business application.

In practice, the difference is that the application can be implemented on a server, providing a local API that allows the company to send and receive scheduled messages and integrate this workflow with its own systems (CRM, customer service, etc.). This possibility of integration with other systems is another advantage for companies, since it allows more efficient management of communication with customers.

According to recent estimates, approximately 85% of customer service enquiries will be handled completely or partially by Chatbots by 2021. The idea of engaging your customers on the most popular social networks with Chatbots is quickly becoming the new normal.

How to create a Chatbot for WhatsApp Business?

Developing a Chatbot using the WhatsApp Business API can represent a solid investment for a company which is looking to optimise its approach to customer service, increase conversion, as well as leverage insight and analytics to maintain a best-in-class user experience.

That being said, the WhatsApp Business API – for now at least – is somewhat functionally limited.

First of all, it’s not available for all businesses. Interested candidates must register and apply for approval from Facebook. WhatsApp also requires the applicant to have a hosting database which guarantees communication with encryption. Registration can be done by the company itself or through a certified WhatsApp partner.

The most important thing to define clearly before triggering any such project is the desired scope of the knowledge of the Chatbot in question, and to prepare one’s content accordingly. Is the way you typically communicate with your users formal or informal? Is this Chatbot going to be able to perform tasks like order tracking or will it be more of a delivery information system? Remember that this Chatbot will be client-facing and its responses should mirror the company’s existing tone.

Most Chatbots are developed using rule-based technology; if you input request A, you get response B. This often requires a large number of such inputs to be pre-programmed before the system reaches any kind of baseline acceptable performance. These inputs are sometimes known as intents, training phrases, or utterances.

The Inbenta Chatbot does not require these inputs. It is based upon Natural Language technology, and does not need the same level of training or effort to set up. The semantic links and Natural Language intelligence come pre-built within the Inbenta Lexicon and each of Inbenta’s customers benefits from the intelligence of previous projects within the same language.

Investing in a WhatsApp Chatbot can have a quick and positive effect on the way you interact with your customers. It can reduce the volume of low level enquiries you receive and can handover to an agent in cases where the human touch is required.

In order for such a project to succeed it’s advisable to define clearly your intended objectives for any such project, and select carefully the best Chatbot supplier based on these goals.

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Inbenta Team
by Inbenta Team