The business environment has changed over the years. With the advent of e-commerce and the technological revolution, customers are no longer limited by geographical borders. They have an abundance of choices and need help to retain them. Moreover, 67% of customers believe the bar for a positive customer experience has risen. Proactively engaging with the audience rather than passively waiting for them to come knocking is the need of the hour.
In this dynamic landscape, WhatsApp emerges as a powerful weapon in the marketing arsenal. With a staggering 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, it reigns supreme as the go-to messaging app, offering businesses a seamless way to bridge the communication gap and remain prominently in the spotlight.
By harnessing the power of WhatsApp, businesses can effortlessly stay visible, connect, and conquer. The WhatsApp Business Platform, introduced in 2018, further empowers mid and large-sized businesses to engage with customers on a large scale.
This guide will walk you through the features and benefits of this advanced offering. It will also inform you on how the WhatsApp Business Platform can be utilized across various industries to improve customer communication, enhance service delivery, and drive business growth.
Understanding the WhatsApp Business Platform
WhatsApp Business Platform is a paid offering from WhatsApp that combines on-premise WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp Cloud API, and the WhatsApp Business Management API. With an open rate of 99%, it offers the following features to the users:
- Chatbots: Chatbots are automated software programs designed to interact with users and simulate human conversation. They can enable you to provide instant and 24/7 assistance to customers. They can also be programmed to understand natural language and deliver pre-defined responses based on the user’s input.
- Automate Messages: The WhatsApp Business Platform allows businesses to automate various types of messages. This automation is useful for sending order confirmations, shipping notifications, appointment reminders, and other transactional messages. You can thus streamline your operations and ensure timely communication with customers.
- WhatsApp Business API Templates: WhatsApp has specific guidelines for the type of messages businesses can send customers. The WhatsApp Business API Templates provide a framework to create approved message templates that comply with the guidelines. These templates can deliver relevant information to customers while maintaining a consistent and professional tone.
- Payment Gateways: This WhatsApp Platform allows businesses to integrate payment gateways directly into their chat conversations. This enables customers to make secure payments for products or services without leaving the WhatsApp chat. You end up simplifying the buying process for customers and potentially boosting sales.
- Marketing Automation Software: Businesses can integrate marketing automation software to send targeted messages to specific customer segments, schedule promotions, and track campaign performance. With features like lead scoring, segmentation, and triggered campaigns, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
- CRM Software: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software integration with WhatsApp enables businesses to manage customer interactions and data more effectively. By consolidating customer information and chat history in a centralized CRM system, you can gain valuable insights into customer behavior. This information can be used to personalize interactions and build stronger relationships with customers over time.
Unleashing the Power of the WhatsApp Business Platform to Boost CX
Having gone through the features of the WhatsApp Business Platform, you must be wondering about its potential impact on your CX efforts. According to WhatsApp business statistics by Tyntec, WhatsApp Business speeds up customer service by 225%, improves conversion rates by 20%, and increases sales by 27%.
Listed below are the remarkable benefits that this platform brings to enterprises:
1. The Possibility to Engage with a Wide Audience
WhatsApp is a popular messaging app with a massive user base worldwide. Combined with the Business Platform’s unrestricted broadcasting feature, it can help you attract new customers and expand your customer base.
2. The Ability to Incorporate Numerous Users at Once
The Business Platform allows businesses to add multiple team members to manage the account. This enhances teamwork and collective efforts and enables a more cohesive approach to communication.
3. The Potential to Automate Various Business Processes
WhatsApp Business offers automation capabilities through messaging templates and chatbots. You can thus drive efficiency and save the precious time of your customer service agents. By reducing the need for manual intervention, you can enable agents to focus on more complex tasks.
4. An Avenue for Speedy Customer Support
WhatsApp’s real-time messaging allows businesses to provide fast and responsive customer support. This enhances customer experience and satisfaction levels, which is crucial for retaining existing customers and gaining new ones through positive word-of-mouth.
5. The Convenience of Creating a Digital Storefront
With WhatsApp Business, you can create a digital storefront to showcase products or services and share images, product descriptions, and prices. There are around 8 million business catalogs on WhatsApp. This acts as an additional online channel for sales and marketing, boosting your online visibility and e-commerce capabilities.
6. The Assurance of Conducting Verified Conversations
Verified business profiles are indicated with a green checkmark, assuring customers that they communicate with a legitimate business. This builds credibility and fosters a trustworthy business environment, leading to stronger customer relationships and increased loyalty.
Choosing Between WhatsApp Business Platform and WhatsApp Business App
Enterprises often use WhatsApp Business App and Business Platform interchangeably. But they are two separate offerings. The following table illustrates the difference between them:
Based on the above table, it is clear that the decision between the Business Platform and App will depend on factors like:
- Scale of Business: If you run a small business, the Business App will work right for you, as the broadcasting limit won’t make much of a difference. But, if you want to reach a wider audience, you must choose the Business Platform.
- Budget: As the Business API is a paid solution, you must take your budget constraints into consideration.
- Automation: If you want to set up automatic replies to say FAQs, use the Business Platform. Whereas, if you want to have more personal conversations with your users, you can go for the App.
- Integration: As mentioned above, the Business Platform provides integration capabilities. So, if that’s something you’re looking for, you must get yourself on the Platform.
Getting Started with the WhatsApp Business Platform
The WhatsApp Business Platform has emerged as a game-changing tool for businesses seeking to elevate their customer communication and engagement strategies. To tap into its benefits and foster stronger connections with your customers, follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Meet the Eligibility Requirements: Before starting your journey on the Business Platform, you must check its eligibility requirements. Luckily, the requirements are fairly easy to meet. All you need is a fresh phone number, a business website, and a business email address.
- Get Yourself Approved: You must then proceed to create an account on the WhatsApp Business Platform. You can apply directly through the Meta website. WhatsApp will then review your application and provide the approval. However, for this method, you will need your own developer resources. To avoid this time-consuming process, you can use the services of a WhatsApp Business Partner, such as Exotel.
- Set Up Your Account: Once your business receives approval for the WhatsApp API, you can proceed with the setup process. This involves creating a comprehensive business profile, designing messaging templates that adhere to WhatsApp’s guidelines, and configuring settings to suit your specific needs. For an appealing business profile, you must include information such as the business name, logo, contact details, and product description.
WhatsApp Business API Pricing
Before getting on board with WhatsApp Business API, you must compare the costs involved with the potential benefits. Here is a rundown on the latest API pricing:
1. Charges for Conversations
WhatsApp charges its users per conversation, which is a continuous 24-hour message loop between you and your customers. You are also allocated 1,000 free user-initiated conversations per month. The rate card differs for every country. Conversation rates in India for the various categories are listed below:
- User-Initiated Conversations: ₹0.29 is charged per conversation where the business replies to a customer query within the 24-hours window.
- Business-Initiated Conversations: This includes those interactions where the business sends a template message to the customers. Wef June 2023, the following rates apply to the different types of business-initiated conversations:
- Utility Conversations- ₹0.30 is charged for messages sent to update customers about the transactions.
- Authentication Conversations- As the name suggests, this includes the passcodes sent to customers as a way to authenticate their identity. WhatsApp is yet to disclose the charges for authentication conversations.
- Marketing Conversations- All messages that are not a part of utility or authentication conversations are considered marketing conversations. This includes promotional messages, welcome messages, discount coupons, etc., and is priced at ₹0.72 per conversation.
2. WhatsApp Business Partner Charges
The API is typically implemented by businesses in partnership with WhatsApp Business Solution Providers, who assist in the setup, configuration, and ongoing support of the API integration. Rates of different WhatsApp Business Partners must be compared along with features offered by them. Click here to know more about Exotel’s WhatsApp Business API charges.
Use Cases of WhatsApp Business API
The WhatsApp Business API offers a wide range of use cases for businesses to enhance their customer communication and engagement. You can use the API to improve customer support, send notifications, run marketing campaigns, verify accounts, distribute content, collect feedback, etc. These functionalities can power CX efforts in different industries, such as:
1. Retail Industry
- Order Tracking: Send real-time updates and tracking information to customers regarding their orders.
- Personalized Offers: Deliver personalized offers based on customers’ purchase history.
- Product Recommendations: Send product recommendations to customers based on their browsing and shopping behavior, enhancing cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
2. BFSI Industry
- Account Updates: Send account balance notifications, transaction alerts, and payment reminders.
- Two-Factor Authentication: Use WhatsApp for two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra security layer.
- Customer Support: Provide prompt customer support, addressing inquiries and resolving issues efficiently.
3. Healthcare Industry
- Appointment Reminders: Send automated appointment reminders to patients, reducing no-shows and optimizing their appointment scheduling process.
- Post-Appointment Follow-ups: Follow up with patients, inquire about their well-being, and provide additional instructions.
- Health Tips and Reminders: Share health tips, reminders for vaccinations, and other essential health information with patients.
4. Travel and Hospitality Industry
- Booking Confirmations: Send booking confirmations and travel itineraries to customers.
- Travel Updates: Provide real-time updates on flight delays, gate changes, and other travel-related information.
- Customer Feedback: Send automated messages to collect customer feedback, allowing them to gather insights for service improvements and customer satisfaction.
Driving Success with Exotel’s WhatsApp Product Suite
With Exotel’s 360° WhatsApp product suite, you can deliver real-time engagement to your customers, like a friend. Exotel’s solutions, which are trusted by 7,000+ customers, assist you in connecting with customers at each stage of their journey as follows:
- Sales: You can offer your customers a fully integrated shopping experience with Bot + Agent-led assisted commerce. Additionally, you can create click-to-message ads, add messaging entry points to the website, automate FAQs, and send tailored product recommendations in the same chat.
- Marketing: You can create analytics-driven marketing campaigns to acquire, engage, and retain customers. Exotel allows you to send promotions, discount offers, cart abandonment notifications, out-of-stock alerts, loyalty campaigns, etc, to a wide audience.
- Customer Support: According to Statista, one of the most common reasons for getting WhatsApp businesses is customer support. You can also deliver post-sale customer care with Exotel’s WhatsApp Business assistance and can supplement legacy channels for both inbound and outbound customer care.
Still unsure about how Exotel’s WhatsApp solution can unlock the full potential of your CX efforts?
Here’s a success story to throw some light on the same:
Revolutionizing Home Loan Approval – A Digital Triumph for an Indian Bank
A pioneering Indian bank, aided by Exotel, achieved unprecedented success when they introduced an innovative ‘in-principle’ home loan approval process via WhatsApp. This innovative move enabled customers to receive provisional home loan approval letters within minutes, dramatically streamlining the application process.
By inputting their details, customers could avail themselves of an instant conditional home loan offer letter, revolutionizing the loan approval process. This impressive facility was accessible around the clock, a first for the banking industry.
The success of this venture was underscored by compelling results:
- A significant 25% of customers engaging via WhatsApp successfully completed the spot-offer process.
- The bank saw an impressive two-fold increase in completed loan applications among customers availing of the spot offer via WhatsApp.
- Within less than a year, the initiative led to the generation of 13,000 high-quality leads, all attributable to WhatsApp.
- Every month, the platform facilitated 5,000 unique user interactions, reflecting the platform’s wide acceptance and popularity.
So, what are you waiting for? Upscale your business with Exotel now.