WhatsApp officially launched its WhatsApp Business app months ago, a separate application that will allow startups and small businesses to connect with their customers. A plan to introduce a tool specifically for small companies was first announced in September last year by the company. For now, the app is free to download in Google Play in selected countries only, including the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Indonesia, and Italy.
The new WhatsApp tool will enable companies to respond to their customers in a timely manner or provide “away” messages to inform patrons that they are busy. Aside from that, the app will also allow businesses to review simple metrics like the number of sent messages that have been read by their customers.
Regular WhatsApp users don’t have to download the app, and can just use their personal accounts to communicate with companies. The only difference now is that WhatsApp users will know that they are being contacted by a company since a WhatsApp Business app user will be listed as a business account holder.
WhatsApp Business App Features
According to a blog published by WhatsApp, the new WhatsApp Bussiness app was specifically built to improve the business experience of people.
“People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about — from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil. But WhatsApp was built for people and we want to improve the business experience. For example, by making it easier for businesses to respond to customers, separating customer and personal messages, and creating an official presence,” the company wrote.
Furthermore, the tool will provide convenient communication between companies and customers through the following features:
- Business Profiles: Help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website.
- Messaging Tools: Save time with smart messaging tools — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.
- Messaging Statistics: Review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what’s working.
- WhatsApp Web: Send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on your desktop.
- Account Type: 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.
The business account can be set up by using either a mobile or landline number. For verification purposes, the landline-registered business account can just choose the “call me” option. Over time, businesses accounts that registered their business phone numbers may obtain Confirmed Accounts status, eventually earning them a green badge that will be displayed next to their name.
While the WhatsApp Business app is only available in specific countries, for now, the instant messaging company said that the tool would be rolled out worldwide in the weeks to come.
How to create a WhatsApp business profile.
So far small businesses have been using the regular WhatsApp app to conduct their business or offer customer support. While that can also work, creating a business profile will offer much more credibility to your conversations.
- To get started, simply download the WhatsApp Business app from the Google Play Store.
- Sign up using your mobile phone number. Ideally, you should be using your business phone number because that will make verification much easier later on.
- Create your profile by entering your business details under Settings > Business Settings > Profile. Make sure you accurately enter details like your business name, address, contact details, etc.
Setting up WhatsApp for Business
Once you’re done creating your business profile, it’s now time to set up the app. The WhatsApp Business app offers a few smart messaging tools which can help you save time and make things easier. You can set up automated greeting and away messages. You can also set up quick replies for your customers.
Here’s how to set up WhatsApp for Business:
- To setup these messaging tools, simply go to Settings > Business Settings and check the messaging options available there.
- You’ll see three available options: Away message, Greeting message, and Quick replies. You can set each of these depending on your requirements.
- You can setup an automated away message when you’re unable to reply to your customers. You can also set it up to send the away message at all times, on a customised schedule, or outside of business hours. A greeting message is sent out automatically when a customer messages you for the first time or after 14 days of inac
tivity. For quick replies, you can setup a basic message, pick a shortcut, and select keywords (optional). These come in handy when you’re answering frequently asked questions, or want to exchange pleasantries.
Using WhatsApp Business effectively
Now that you have everything setup on the app, it’s time to use it effectively. You can use WhatsApp Business in a number of ways. It could be something as simple as offering support to your customers or send them timely updates. The possibilities are nearly endless.
1. Labels for your conversations
One of the biggest things you’ll need to consider while using WhatsApp Business is keeping a track of your customers. While you’ll need to manually add them to your contacts list, you’ll also be able to assign labels to your conversations. These are helpful while interacting with a large number of users.
You can setup labels for your customers and then label your chat conversations using them. For example: You may want to label a conversation as ‘new customer’. This way when your customer replies after some time you’ll still be able to make out who this person is.
To add a new label: Tap on the menu button on a chat conversation and tap New Label. Enter the text for the new label and tap on Save.
To add labels to chats: Tap on the menu button on a chat conversation and then pick a label and tap Save.
2. Use WhatsApp Business on desktop and Web
Just like your personal WhatsApp account, you can use WhatsApp Business mobile app with the desktop variant too. This makes it much easier to interact with a large number of customers.
The setup process for the desktop variant is the same as the regular WhatsApp app. Go to Settings > WhatsApp Web and scan the given QR code.
3. One-on-one support
One of the primary advantages of using WhatsApp Business app is being able to offer one-on-one support to your customers. If you’re running a small business, you’d want to stay on top of your customers’ queries.
WhatsApp Business app also lets you send photos, videos, and other attachments to your customers, and vice-versa. This can help your customers explain their issues more clearly.
4. Sending out updates
WhatsApp Business can also help you send out timely updates related to your business. Be it a new product or a new service you’re about to launch, it’s always perfect to let your existing and prospective customers know about it first.
You could create broadcast lists to send out messages to a large number of people in one go. This can help you save tim
e in case you have a large customer base, though broadcast lists are currently limited to 256 contacts.
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