Today's digital landscape has significantly changed how businesses interact with their customers.
The WhatsApp Business App has become a vital tool in this space, enabling small businesses to effectively communicate with their customers and clients. Proof of its success can be seen through its rise in subscriber numbers - Mark Zuckerberg recently reported an increase from 50 million three years ago, to 200 million today.
However, as businesses grow, their needs become more complex, necessitating more robust solutions like the WhatsApp Business API (or WhatsApp Business Platform as it is now known).
This article aims to provide an overview of the key factors and benefits of transitioning from the WhatsApp Business App to the WhatsApp Business API, and how this move can support your business growth.
1. Enhancing Scalability in Customer Communication
The WhatsApp Business App is a useful tool for small businesses, enabling direct and personal customer interactions. However, as your customer base expands, the app's constraints, such as its restriction in the number of devices that can be connected, might become a limiting factor.
This can result in it becoming difficult to manage an increasing volume of inbound customer messages as these can’t be efficiently distributed amongst a team. More specifically, it becomes difficult to know who has responded to which message, and sometimes, if there are only one or two people responsible for answering (with no way to share messages amongst the team), the quality and speed of responses may decline.
The WhatsApp Business API addresses these issues by enabling service providers such as Converso to provide a shared team inbox, enabling limitless agents to individually login to collaborate around customer conversations.
Each agent, or group of agents, can be assigned a conversation, which is sent to their “My inbox”, thereby making it easy to manage workload as a team. In addition, internal notes can be left by agents to provide feedback on messages to colleagues.
This enables more effective handling and response to messages, boosting your ability to handle queries in an efficient manner, as well as improving response times for customers.
2. Integration with Existing Business Software
Through the Converso platform, the WhatsApp Business API can offer seamless integration with your existing business software such as your CRM system, eCommerce platform, or helpdesk software. This integration can pull and push key data between systems, helping to ensure that databases and customer fields are synced and kept up to date with the WhatsApp chats you have with your customers.
This helps centralize your customer communications, providing a comprehensive view of customer interactions and enabling more efficient management and tracking.
This integration can also facilitate a more in-depth analysis of customer conversations, which can provide valuable insights for refining your services and marketing strategy.
3. Facilitating Secure Payment Collection
As well as integrating with third party applications, the Converso platform can also integrate with various payment providers, such as card processor Stripe, thereby offering customers the ability to make direct payments for your products or services within a WhatsApp conversation, so customers don’t have to switch to another platform to make payment.
Invoices and checkouts can be created within Converso, or imported from accounting packages such as Xero or Quickbooks. In addition, when payment is made, payment status can be updated automatically within these bookkeeping apps, saving agent time.
This type of simplified, frictionless transaction process also enhances the user experience, which can potentially lead to increased sales. Furthermore, the secure nature of transactions from a mobile phone, utilising SCA (strong customer authentication) or 2FA of the payment provider, helps maintain customer trust.
4. Ensuring GDPR Compliance with Chat Archiving
In an era where data privacy is of the utmost importance, businesses must make sure they handle their customer data responsibly.
The challenge for small businesses when using the WhatsApp Business App is how best to achieve this, when contact details and chats with customers are potentially spread across multiple devices.
As mentioned above, this runs the risk of an employee who has possession of a mobile phone used for business, leaving the company, resulting in custom sensitive data leaving through the door with them!
The WhatsApp Business API resolves this issue by enabling service providers such as Converso to archive conversations in a tamper proof central repository, thereby managing customer communications in a GDPR compliant manner.
By archiving chats, you can maintain a clear record of customer interactions, ensuring that all data is properly handled and stored, and which can be effectively deleted if required. This feature helps your business meet data protection regulations and fosters trust with your customers.
5. Leveraging AI-Powered Chatbots for Customer Support
A key advantage of the WhatsApp Business API is the opportunity to integrate with AI-powered chatbots for customer support. Using advanced AI models like ChatGPT can significantly transform your customer service experience.
ChatGPT can be programmed to handle a variety of tasks, including answering common queries and providing automated responses. This can be done through training the chatbot on your own business data, such as knowledge base articles, your website, training docs and videos etc, so that it answers only using this material, and therefore does not hallucinate or make up answers.
Its ability to understand context and carry forward information from previous messages also ensures more accurate and human-like responses.
Incorporating AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT can help streamline operations, with conversations handed off to your support team only when the chatbot is unable to provide a sufficiently detailed answer. This therefore frees up your team to focus on more complex customer queries and strategic tasks.
This type of automation can significantly improve operational efficiency, thereby reducing your response times and improving the customer experience.
6. Engage more customers
The WhatsApp Business API’s message template offers enhanced customer engagement and reach over the standard WhatsApp Business App.
The message template has various media rich formats, such as images, video, location. These features make the message more impactful and visually appealing, generating increased responses from customers.
Included are “call to action” and “quick response” buttons configurable within the template, which makes it more interactive and easier to respond to (on the basis that tapping is easier than typing!).
The API’s template formats have the advantage of making both broadcast and individual messages suitable for a wide range of marketing purposes, such as special offers, new product announcements, newsletters, marketing campaigns, or just to increase brand awareness.
It’s also possible to use templates with broadcast messaging, taking advantage of the API’s “no limit” for broadcasts, versus a limit of 256 contacts with the Business app.
Templates can also include placeholders so your broadcast messages can be personalised, ensuring that messages resonate with customers, again improving response rates.
7. Managing Multiple Communication Channels
Managing communication effectively across multiple channels is crucial for businesses in the digital age. Converso offers a comprehensive solution to this, providing a platform for managing not just WhatsApp conversations, but also other business messaging channels including webchat and SMS, with Facebook Messenger and Instagram on the roadmap for release in the near future.
This unified approach to communication enables your team to have a centralized view of all customer interactions across different messaging platforms. This streamlining facilitates better tracking and improved management, and allows for more personalized communication by being aware of how a customer has interacted with your business over other channels. This in turn improves the overall quality of customer service.
With Converso, it’s also possible to create multiple inboxes for different services, such as business units, departments, locations or promotions. And you can also chat with your colleagues over internal messaging.
Managing interactions from one place can help save time for agents, as it avoids constant “toing and froing” between separate logins and apps.
8. Seamless migration
Recent developments in WhatsApp Business services have considerably improved the process involved for migrating numbers from WhatsApp Business to WhatsApp Business API (or the WhatsApp Business Platform).
With embedded, online sign up, the previous long onboarding process with WhatsApp BSPs (Business Solutions Partners) is now a thing of the past, resulting in a process that takes no more than 10 minutes - and your WhatsApp Business number is transferred and live!
And if you feel the service is not for you, it’s always possible to migrate back to your WhatsApp Business App and resume your old service.
9. Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of Digital Communication
Staying abreast with the evolving digital landscape is essential for every business. Embracing new digital communications can unlock a host of opportunities for your business.
Transitioning from the WhatsApp Business App to the WhatsApp Business API can be a crucial step towards leveraging new ways to communicate and engage in the digital world.
Incorporating the WhatsApp Business API and Converso into your business model equips your business to deliver high-quality customer service, increase operational efficiency, and achieve long-term growth.