Whatsapp, the global messaging phenomenon with more than 1.5 billion monthly active users, has made two exciting announcements that push it further into the business space.
Previously just a personal messaging service, WhatsApp have set their sights on the business market and their ‘WhatsApp For Business’ brand has just made two major plays.
The first is that they’re launching a WhatsApp Business API that will allow business owners to “manage communications with existing and potential customers at scale.”
With WhatsApp API, you’ll now be able to:
- Message customers who request that you send them information via WhatsApp.
- Send custom notifications such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders, tickets and more (provided it is non-promotional) on WhatsApp.
- Respond to your customer’s questions or comments for free (within 24 hours) from WhatsApp. Interestingly, they specify that messages sent later than 24 hours after the last customer message will be charged – thereby encouraging businesses to maintain a speedy response time.
Facebook Ad to WhatsApp:
The second announcement is that Facebook Ads will soon have an option for customers to contact the advertiser via a click-to-Whatsapp-message feature.
This allows customers to start a WhatsApp chat with your business from the ad they see on Facebook.
Facebook says: “when a person taps on an Ad that clicks to WhatsApp, they will be transferred to a prefilled WhatsApp chat where they can message your business quickly.”
Customers can use this to ask questions, request more information, initiate a conversion and more.
Facebook have also confirmed that this click-to-message feature can be used on your business’ website or Facebook Page; allowing your customers to get hold of you easily via WhatsApp, and allowing you to track and view the relevant metrics.
Why Should You Care?
This is going to change the way businesses interact with their customers. Not only are businesses going to need to train their salespeople (or hire some) to use WhatsApp for business, but they are going to have more access to customers than ever before – and vice versa.
The ‘instant’ nature of WhatsApp messaging will mean that customers will expect faster responses from businesses and the type of communication that takes place is likely to be more personal than email and cheaper (therefore more frequent) than SMS.
Typically, the more messages exchanged between customer and business the more likely that lead is to convert. With the introduction of click-to-message and WhatsApp API, I think we can expect a new, interesting B2C communication channel to develop.
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