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WhatsApp Business or WhatsApp Business API: Which Is Right For Your Business?

There has been an overwhelming interest in messaging and how businesses can really benefit from it. WhatsApp is undoubtedly the leader is the messaging app field. It is quick, simple to use, and convenient and consumers have embraced it with open arms.

With the seismic shift towards conversational customer engagement, customers can now engage with brands and businesses in a more personal conversational manner. Just like having a conversation on the phone but with the convenience of messaging privately, securely and at the customer’s pace.

And from extending customer reach, creating superior brand connections, to engaging with customers in their preferred channels, WhatsApp really measures up to delivering better and more effective conversational experiences.

So, there is no doubt that WhatsApp is a channel that all businesses should be adding to their multichannel messaging mix.  Before you jump into signing up there are some key points that you need to know.  There isn’t just one WhatsApp Business account, there are a couple of options depending on the size of your business and what you want to achieve.

We have had so many clients looking to add WhatsApp and at virtually every initial meeting we have had to clarify what options were available and how they work.

WhatsApp has two options for businesses. Although they have a similar name, they’re quite different from one another in their feature set, costs, and the use cases they support.

WhatsApp Business for One-to-One Engagement

WhatsApp Business is an app mainly aimed towards small businesses. Its main purpose is to facilitate better customer support and an easier way for businesses to connect with the customers. As it can only be used on one device by one user, this is severely limiting for larger companies. Built for handling individual customer conversations, customer interactions need to be answered on a single mobile phone with the app on it. That’s why using the app in a larger contact centre environment is not scalable. Think of WhatsApp Business like a one-to-one live chat tool, with limited functionality.

WhatsApp Business API for Large Scale Customer Engagement

To make WhatsApp more scalable Facebook introduced the WhatsApp Business API, a secure setup designed for larger companies that need to engage with larger numbers of customers and send and receive a high volume of end-to-end encrypted messages.

Sounds wonderful. Let’s sign up.  Well, it is not as simple as that. 

In short, getting set up with the WhatsApp Business API and creating an account requires approval, messages must be responded to within 24 hours, and outbound Template Messages require pre-approval from WhatsApp before being sent.  

If your WhatsApp account is an official business account, the display name will be visible in the chat list chat screens, chat groups, and contacts view instead of the phone number. There will be a green checkmark beside the displayed name in the contact's view.

On the face of it sounds somewhat cumbersome to get approved, it doesn’t have to be.  By choosing the ight WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (Webio is one) is crucial because the features that are available and how well WhatsApp fits into your existing processes highly depends on it.

Webio have guided many leading financial service and retail companies through this nuanced process with ease and with great success. Our clients, particularly in financial services, have seen a huge increase in inbound customer engagement with customers that they struggled to have conversations with before. And with the addition of chatbot or virtual agent automation, see fewer agents handling higher volumes and customers having a better customer experience.

The successes of customer engagement automation were really evident during the pandemic when inbound and outbound customer engagement rose to levels that some companies had never experienced before.  But messaging came to the rescue. With messaging, blended chatbot and live agent engagement, agent productivity and conversation completion shot through the roof.

You can learn more all about WhatsApp Business API, getting approved, how to use it and get the most out of it.  

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