WhatsApp is the world's biggest messaging platform. In 2018, WhatsApp opened the door for businesses through the WhatsApp Business API. Since its launch, the WhatsApp Business API has become a top marketing channel. Now more than ever, companies need to understand how to use the WhatsApp Business API.
If you're still unsure of the differences between the WhatsApp Business application and the WhatsApp Business API, don't worry you're not alone. Read this article to find out more about differences between a WhatsApp business app and WhatsApp Business API. You may also want to learn what we cover in other post: about IVR deflection to WhatsApp.
In short, the WhatsApp Business app is a good fit for small businesses. The WhatsApp Business API is a better fit for enterprise business.
In this post, we make it simple for enterprise businesses to understand how to use the WhatsApp Business API. From set up to best practices, these are the key points you'll need to keep in mind.
How to use the WhatsApp Business API
1. Set up your account through an authorized provider
To use the API, WhatsApp requires businesses to work with an official solution provider.
WhatsApp has selected less than 50 companies and organizations worldwide as WhatsApp Business Solution Providers.
Working with an unauthorized company can lead to your business account being banned. Rogue "providers" are on the rise, exposing businesses to the risks. So, make sure to choose wisely. If you’re interested in applying for the WhatsApp Business API, contact us to see if your use case is a good fit.
2. Gain consent from your customers
Before you start sending messages on WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp requires customers to opt-in. An opt-in is when customers give explicit consent to receive messages over WhatsApp from your business, by providing you with their mobile phone number via a third-party channel.
For example, you can ask customers if they'd like to receive shipping notifications via WhatsApp. Next, they'll have to check yes and enter their phone number to start receiving notifications on WhatsApp.
3. Always respond within 24 hours
WhatsApp also requires businesses to respond within 24 hours. This is important in ensuring a quality customer experience.
WhatsApp takes this requirement seriously. For that reason, if a business does not respond within 24 hours, WhatsApp will actually charge them a fee. That fee is somewhere between half a penny and nine cents for each message after the 24-hour window.
4. Use automation
Having a successful conversational strategy requires more than just gaining access to the Whatsapp Business API. Companies are not prepared for the high volume of customers they begin receiving once they open a messaging channel.
Automation is the main reason enterprise businesses use the WhatsApp Business API in the first place. API stands for Application Programming Interface. Essentially, this lets you connect WhatsApp to other tools, like your CRM or automation software.
Enterprise businesses need to be able to communicate with customers at scale. Automation is the key to doing so. It helps businesses deliver fast response times, automate dialogues, and deliver an all-around better experience. Learn more about how to scale your conversational strategy here.
5. Keep things human
At Hubtype, we typically see automation handle around 80% of customer queries. But, replacing human customer service with automation is not the answer either.
Always make sure a human agent is available if the conversation needs to be escalated. If a human agent isn't available, set up message templates to notify customers when a human agent will return. Learn more about managing the chatbot human handoff here.
6. Use different message formats
Text-only conversations aren't engaging. With WhatsApp, you can send photos, videos, locations, GIFs, files, and more. Don't let your customer experience fall flat. Instead, answer customer questions more intuitively with an engaging conversational UI.
7. Promote your WhatsApp channel
Don't forget to let your customers know about your new channel. You can include your WhatsApp Business number on your website or marketing materials. Run ads that click directly to WhatsApp, or use the power of social media. Get creative and get the word out!
Still unsure of how to use the WhatsApp Business API?
There are many considerations, but only one solution. If are still unsure, learn what are the differences between WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API. Hubtype is the only official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider to offer a 1-1 messaging solution for enterprise businesses. What sets Hubtype apart from other official providers? We offer a variety of integration options and support automation to make sure your messaging channels can easily handle all your customers and their requests.