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Latest 02 Aug 2018 | Industry News

What WhatsApp's Recent Announcement Means for Your Brand

With 1.5 billion users, WhatsApp has the largest Messaging audience worldwide, closely followed by Messenger with 1.3 billion users, and WeChat with just over 1 billion users. Given the sheer size of these audiences, businesses have been highly anticipating the announcement of an API that will enable them to interact with their customers over the app.

Using WhatsApp as a business-to-consumer communication channel will allow brands and consumers to interact quickly and easily over the app, the same way consumers today are conversing with their friends and family. This will enable brands to provide their customers with a seamless customer care experience, all the while improving their contact center productivity and reducing costs. To that end, yesterday’s WhatsApp announcement was a step in this direction, but with a slight twist. 

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Recently, there has been an increase in the velocity with which major messaging apps are opening themselves up for business-to-consumer communications. With that said, each one of the messaging apps are taking a distinct approach when it comes to their initial focus. As an example, Apple (who announced the opening of Business Chat a few weeks ago) has focused on commerce-related use cases that involve Apple Pay. Facebook Messenger, who was initially more focused on bots and automation, is now focused on driving customer care engagement across brand properties. To that end, Facebook has released functionality that is geared toward allowing brands to utilize Messenger over their site—be it with the Customer chat widget, a number of plugins that allow for the seamless transition between the brand website and mobile site, or integrated checkboxes and ‘Message Us’ buttons on the Messenger app. Some of our customers who are utilizing Messenger Customer Chat are already replacing Live Chat on their website and noting increased customer satisfaction and increased efficiency as a result.

Here at Conversocial, we are working directly with the WhatsApp team to put suitable clients forward. If you are looking to learn more about the WhatsApp API for Business, reach out!

So what is WhatsApp’s initial focus? They are working with a notification use case that is focused on enabling proactive messages such as shipment confirmations, flight delays, appointment reminders, etc. This use case is comparable to how many companies are using SMS today, with WhatsApp looking to monetize this channel by charging for outbound messages that aren’t sent in reply to a customer message (messages sent within 24 hours of a customer message are free). Many brands are already utilizing SMS as a paid channel, so the transition for them should be straightforward.

Beyond Whatsapp being a robust asynchronous messaging channel, brands who choose to utilize WhatsApp will also benefit from enhanced functionality like the ability to set up a business profile on the app, and the ability to manage their conversations through a Social Messaging management platform, like Conversocial, to enable the robust management of customer cases, which could be originating from numerous social messaging apps, in one platform.

One of the key differentiators of WhatsApp is the end-to-end encryption of the messages. This means however that the infrastructure required to set up an integration is more intensive than most social messaging platforms.  

How can you get started? WhatsApp is selectively adding brands to the program based on specific parameters that they have defined. Here at Conversocial, we are working directly with the WhatsApp team to put suitable clients forward. If you are looking to learn more about the WhatsApp API for Business, reach out to us here.

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