How to Create a WhatsApp Bot

create a whatsapp bot with hubtype

A WhatsApp bot helps you engage with customers on a global scale—on a platform they're already on. It helps you give customers the support they need when it matters most.

What is a WhatsApp bot?

A WhatsApp bot is an automated program that runs on WhatsApp's platform. Your customers can talk to a WhatsApp chatbot as they would any other person on WhatsApp.

With a WhatsApp bot, you can automate common questions and offer proactive support.

Why create a WhatsApp bot?

1. People want to use messaging apps for customer support

71% of people want to use messaging apps to get customer support. They see messaging apps as a more convenient way of getting their problems solved.

And, messaging isn't just a tool for solving issues. It also drives business growth. In fact, retail sales from chatbot-based interactions will reach $112 billion by 2023.

Creating a WhatsApp bot is becoming central to business success.

2. WhatsApp is the most popular messenger app in the world

WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messenger app in the world. With over 2 billion monthly users, it’s likely that your customers are already on WhatsApp.

That means it's easy for customers to find you and connect with you. Instead of having to find and download your company's app, they can use the app they already know and love.

Most popular global messaging apps by MAU

The popularity of WhatsApp makes it easy for customers to find you and connect with you. Instead of having to find and download your branded app, they can use the app they already know and love. 

3. WhatsApp has many business features and tools

WhatsApp has many powerful tools for businesses. The company has put a lot of effort into making WhatsApp an ideal space to interact and transact.

Payments, automation, and other features make WhatsApp a great home for a chatbot.

chatbot-platform-rich-user-experience

4. You can send rich media for more engaging conversations

People like WhatsApp because of all the ways they can communicate. They can communicate through:

Good chatbots take advantage of these media-rich options. And, they also use elements like:

These options put you in control of the customer experience. They make it easier for you to offer seamless support.

whatsapp business chatbot features

Before you create a WhatsApp bot, know that: 

1. Building a bot requires access to WhatsApp’s API

To build a WhatsApp bot, you’ll need access to the WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp’s application programming interface (API) allows you to receive and answer unlimited WhatsApp messages from your customers.

We’ll go over how to apply for access to the API in a bit. Or, you can skip to that section.

2. Only medium and large businesses can access the API

Right now, the WhatsApp Business API is for medium and large businesses. Smaller businesses can use the WhatsApp Business App instead.

Don’t know which one is right for you? We break down the difference in the following article: WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API.

3. Access to the API is free, but your WhatApp bot will still come with a price tag

Facebook (or shall we say Meta) does not charge a fee to use the WhatsApp Business API.

But that doesn’t mean it will be free to build a WhatsApp bot.You'll need to work with an authorized solution provider (like us 👋) to build a WhatsApp chatbot.

WhatsApp only works with a handful of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSPs) worldwide.Pricing will differ depending on your company, use case, and message volume.

4. You cannot build a WhatsApp bot if you intend to sell prohibited products or services

You cannot build a WhatsApp bot if your business falls under one of the following industries:

So, double-check to see if your business falls under one of these categories. If it does, it's unlikely that you will be gain approval to use the WhatsApp Business API.

7 Steps to create a WhatsApp bot

Below are the steps to create a WhatsApp chatbot with the help of an Authorized Business Solution Provider.

1. Request access to the WhatsApp Business API

The first step is to request access to WhatsApp's API. Your application must go through an official BSP (like Hubtype). Fill out this form, and we will reach out to you if you are eligible to use a WhatsApp API key.

We've been helping many companies gain access to WhatsApps API. Most of them have been enterprise and multinational companies.

But, if you’re a small or medium-sized business, you can still apply through Hubtype now. We'll notify you when the WhatsApp API becomes available to you.

Don't forget, you can also talk with us about how you can use chatbots on WebChat and other messaging apps.

2. Define the business objectives

How exactly will your WhatsApp chatbot help your customers? Consider your audience's unique needs in the awareness, consideration, purchase, and care phases.

A good chatbot strategy will help you set expectations with both employees and customers.

3. Choose which type of WhatsApp bot you'll create

After you've defined your use case, get started with Minimum Viable Automation (MVA). This is enough automation to make things easier, not more complicated.

The two most common types of chatbots are rule-based and Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots.

Rule-based chatbots

In general, rule-based chatbots are a good fit for the majority of our clients. They use decision trees to create a pathway of conversation to guide people to a specific goal.

Decision trees are like flowcharts. They are excellent for solving specific and well-defined use cases. It’s best to never have more than 5 layers of decisions, nor more than 3 choices at any level.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots

Though artificial intelligence isn't always necessary, it can sometimes be useful. If your WhatsApp bot needs to understand many languages, for example, AI might be a good fit.

AI is also helpful if your WhatsApp bot needs to help customers with a broad range of topics. If your use case is unpredictable, AI might be for you. 

For the most part, AI complements chatbots well, but should not be a core part of your strategy. There are many integrations that will let you build a great WhatsApp bot without AI.

Still sure which type of automation is right for you? Read: Rule-Based Chatbots vs. Artificial Intelligence Chatbots: Key Differences.

4. Replace text with graphics where possible

Again, one of the benefits of WhatsApp is the ability to use rich elements. The human brain processes images faster than words.

So, choose visual elements to replace text where appropriate. Buttons, quick replies, carousel selectors, and list selections to improve the conversation flow.

For example, it is easier to select a date on a calendar view than to write out a date in a message. It's also easier to use buttons to answer yes/no questions.

Attention to these details will keep customers coming back. They will continue to choose your WhatsApp bot over other channels.

calendar selector whatsapp chatbot

5. Prepare your WhatsApp chatbot for the human handover

You'll need to make it easy for people to get help from a human when necessary. In fact, this is one of WhatsApp's rules. It's best if you can transfer a customer directly to a human agent for help.

But, that doesn't mean your team has to be available 24/7. You can also include a customer support phone number they can call. Or, explain when a team member will be back to help them.

6. Use integrations to build out your WhatsApp bot

Open source frameworks, like ours, make it easy to connect to third-party tools. For example, you can can integrate with speech recognition tools and AI libraries.

We can also help you integrate your WhatsApp bots with your CRMs. By connecting to your own business tools, you can create even better experiences.

7. Start fast, scale later

Lean on user data to determine how people are interacting with your chatbot, then adjust accordingly. Learn from the limitations of your WhatsApp chatbot, train your chatbot based on where you're seeing the most opportunity.

For example, if a large percentage of people are asking your bot a question that it cannot answer, it's a good idea to update the conversation flow. Just don't lose sight of your original use case, and make sure that the potential actions your users can take are clear.

WhatApp bot use cases

Customer Service

A WhatsApp bot for customer service will have both immediate and long-term ROI. In the short term, businesses that create a WhatsApp bot will improve metrics related to business efficiency.

For example, chatbots decrease the response window and decrease costs per contact. This has a significant and measurable impact on a company’s bottom line.

In the long term, WhatsApp chatbots increase customer satisfaction rates. Which, we know, increases brand loyalty and sales. These metrics are key to building sustainable and longstanding business models.

Marketing

With more competition online, it’s becoming harder than ever for marketing teams to win the attention–and loyalty–of customers.

Ads and other tactics that aren't relevant to customers only frustrate them. Instead, personalized engagement through a chatbot is the new competitive differentiator.

With a WhatsApp bot, you can effectively drive engagement, boost open rates, and increase conversion rates. You'll also gain a better understanding of users.

WhatsApp chatbots put you in a position to address objections, answer questions, and nurture your customers across marketing funnels.

Sales

The window of opportunity to influence a sale can be short. A WhatsApp bot is always on and ready to engage with users.

WhatsApp bots help you turn customer service requests into sales opportunities. They automate the lead nurturing process, saving you time and money.

Book a demo today to see how we can help you build a WhatsApp bot.

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