The WhatsApp Business app is here, and it comes with the perfect blend of easy-to-use accessibility and forward-thinking productivity features. The WhatsApp Business version is essentially more of what you know and love from everyone’s favourite next generation messaging app. The difference is that it comes pre-packed with a handful of additional great features, intended to help business owners connect with customers in an era where many people would rather do anything other than making a call.
“Customers today don’t want to call or email a business – they want to send a message. And since customers are on WhatsApp, businesses need to be too.” – Mitu Singh, product manager for WhatsApp Business
If you take a quick gander through the Google Play store, you’re sure to find plenty of apps that similarly cater to business users. However, WhatsApp is the unparalleled instant messaging solution in terms of popularity and scope. In fact, more than 3 million people are already using the business version and it only launched in January 2018.
WhatsApp is your friendly neighbourhood service for internal and external communication. It’s simple yet sophisticated enough to cater for anything from your local grocery store, to a small corporation or hospital. What’s more, the WhatsApp Business app is available around the world, with downloads in 180 countries.
So, what can you expect when you download WhatsApp Business?
That’s what we’re here to find out.
Who Can Benefit from WhatsApp Business?
First things first, it’s worth noting that WhatsApp Business was designed specifically with companies in mind. It was designed from bottom to top to offer a unique service for customers and provide modern companies with a way to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
Though any company of any size can potentially achieve incredible things with this app, it’s best for smaller organisations (at least for now) who have a lot of customer service concerns to think about. Remember, 55% of customers are actively willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. What’s more appealing to a generation of consumers attached to their phones, then a service solution that’s available through their favourite app?
With WhatsApp Business, companies can finally raise the bar for customer communication, by offering them a point of access through their smartphone. Since younger generations now expect brands to deliver instantaneous, tech-savvy, and highly personalised experiences, it’s easy to see why WhatsApp Business has immediately gained so much popularity.
In fact, in our discussion with the company, we learned that within a few months, WhatsApp has already begun to earn positive reviews from customers. Business profiles are giving companies a chance to develop their formal presence on an informal channel, connecting the business world, to the consumer environment.
What’s Different from The Standard App?
So, how does the “Business” version of WhatsApp set itself apart from the standard app?
They both look pretty similar on the surface. In fact, even the badge you get when you download the app to your phone is close in design. The biggest difference is that the Business app comes with a “B” in the speech bubble symbol.
People will know that they’re talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.
This makes it easier for customers to know for certain that they’re interacting with a legitimate company.
Of course, there’s also a handy bundle of extra features on the WhatsApp Business application too.
WhatsApp Business Features
As well as the different logo, the WhatsApp Business solution also comes with a few fantastic standard features for companies to enjoy.
“The Business Profile feature is giving businesses a formal presence on WhatsApp, messaging features like greeting messages, quick replies and away messages save time and provide useful information to customers efficiently, and the ability to label chats and contacts keeps businesses organised.” – Mitu Singh
For instance, there’s:
1 – Business Profiles
The business profiles on WhatsApp Business are designed to provide your customers with all the extra information they need about your company. That might include the address or location of your company so that people can get to your store or office on Google maps. You can also include your business category, your email address, and a quick description of what your business does. WhatsApp Business provides a space for opening hours too.
2 – Unique Messaging Tools
WhatsApp Business also comes with a selection of great messaging tools that allow you to connect with your customers in a more authentic and appealing way. For instance, you can give your virtual business its own reception desk feature with greeting messages that automatically respond to new customers who come your way. The messaging tools include:
- Greeting message: Instant greetings show your customers that you value them, and provide them with useful information, like a phone number they can call if they need a response fast.
- Away reply: An automated reply designed to let your customers know that you’re not available immediately, but you’ll be in touch soon.
- Quick reply: An instant quick response like “I’ll look into that for you,” so you can send common messages with a single tap.
3 – Statistics and Organisation
Finally, WhatsApp knows that their business users need their app to be as insightful and intuitive as possible. Since talking to your customers means gathering plenty of useful data, they’ve included their very own “statistics” feature. This is a tab in your profile that you can go to to get simple metrics about how many messages you send each week, how many are read, and more. These statistics allow you to tweak your responses slightly to ensure you’re getting the best results for customer engagement.
There’s also organisation features like “Chat labels.” These allow you to label your chats so that you can come back to them later with more context. A label might say “pending payment” or “order complete,” or even “new customer,” and they all come with their own colours.
Besides these upgrades, most of the features of WhatsApp Business feel very similar to the standard app. You can hide your last seen messages, your profile photo and status from people and all your conversations are encrypted from end-to-end so you can feel safer about privacy compliance. There’s even two-step verification to provide you with additional security, and Google Drive so you can store your chat history for analytics.
Companies Already Seeing Great Results
Companies around the world are already beginning to see the impact of WhatsApp Business.
As WhatsApp themselves told us, the adoption rate over a couple of months alone has been pretty staggering. For example:
Digital eyecare company Leco has turned to WhatsApp Business to help enhance the flow of information between customers and optical professionals. In the process, they’ve disrupted the eye health industry in Mexico and helped to offer customers greater support. According to the COO of Leco, Cecilia Ezquerro Souza, for years, local opticians had monopolised the system, offering free tests and concealing the results from customers until they agreed to a sale.
Since 2015, Leco has been offering an alternative experience, giving customers information, products, eye tests, and results without the sales pressure previously common in the industry. Leco turned to WhatsApp when people began reaching out through the app with orders and queries. With the WhatsApp business update, the company profile feature is helping to improve trust and credibility with consumers in Mexico. Today, Leco has more than 20,000 customers, and it finalizes as much as 75% of its sales through WhatsApp.
In a similar vein, Nails Bryss, a popular nail salon in Mexico known for nail care workshops, pedicures and manicures has seen similar success. According to the owner, Bryss Del Angel, her appointment-only salon has grown significantly with the help of WhatsApp Business. She discovered the tool in 2018, and says
“it has facilitated, well, practically my life.”
Currently, more than 95% of Bryss’ clients arrange their appointments with her through WhatsApp Business, and the unique labels feature allows her to organise client conversations easily, track the most popular treatments, and keep on top of payments. The “away” message feature also helps Bryss respond to her customers when she’s busy with other clients.
What Device Do You Need to Use WhatsApp Business?
If you want to use WhatsApp Business, then you’re going to need a smartphone that runs Android.
According to WhatsApp, the majority of smartphones today are Android, so the company chose to build for the wider majority first. They don’t have a date for an iPhone app just yet, so if you’re an iOS user, you may have to wait a while. You might also want a specific number for registering on the device which you can use as your official business number.
The good thing is that the one thing you don’t need to use WhatsApp Business is a huge budget. The system is free for all SMEs. WhatsApp is also testing a solution for larger businesses like MakeMyTrip, KLM and Netflix.
According to the company, they designed their Business app to give companies more presence on WhatsApp, while ensuring they can interact with their clients in the modern world.
Why We Think WhatsApp Business is Great
WhatsApp Business is powerful because it’s more than just another collaborative business tool.
1 – It’s Ideal for Adoption
Think of it this way, whenever you try to implement a new strategy for internal communications in your business, you’re going to get some resistance from your employees. Earning adoption is hard, and busy experts generally don’t have the time to learn something new. The best thing about WhatsApp is that everyone already uses it. There’s no training required because your staff is already familiar with the system.
2 – It Offers Fantastic Customer Support
WhatsApp can also be an excellent tool for customer support because it has such a phenomenal reach. Your customers are naturally going to prefer reaching out to you with a message over WhatsApp compared to sitting around and waiting for an answer on a helpdesk.
As consumers around the world continue to expect a more omnichannel approach to customer service, WhatsApp business could be a natural way to take your business to the next level. For instance, consider the fact that 98% of Americans switch between multiple devices in the same day.
3 – It’s Great for Communicating with Customers
Since no-one enjoys getting random phone calls from numbers they don’t know, WhatsApp can also be a less invasive way of reaching out to customers. While your WhatsApp clients will still have the right to block you if they feel like it, the fact that you can connect with them over IM already helps to boost your brand image by giving you a more informal method of communication.
For instance, if someone reached out to you asking for a quote last week and you haven’t heard back from them yet, you can always send a quick follow up message.
What’s Next for WhatsApp?
WhatsApp isn’t going to rest on its laurels with its Business app – no matter how successful it already seems to be. The company is already exploring a solution for larger companies, including e-Commerce firms, banks, and airlines. They believe that every business should have a chance to connect with their customers on their level.
In our discussion with WhatsApp, the company also told us that they’re constantly listening to the feedback that their customers provide so that they can give everyone a better experience on the app. Personally, we can’t wait to see what comes next.
The Business Collaboration market has a new entrant and I’d bet my breakfast that it’s going to be around for a long time yet.