Table of contents
- How many types of WhatsApp are there?
- Advantages of implementing WhatsApp API in your business
- How to implement WhatsApp in your business?
- Where can I use WhatsApp Business API?
- How to start using WhatsApp Business API?
- How can you use WhatsApp in your business?
- How can agents manage the company’s WhatsApp messages?
- Tips to manage WhatsApp in your business successfully
There exist around 3 million applications on platforms such as Google Play and App Store, and of all of them, the ones that we are sure to find on any device are instant messaging ones. Users are increasingly looking for means of communication that allow them to communicate with their environment in a simple, fast, direct and free way. Thus, of all instant messaging applications, in 2020 WhatsApp was proclaimed leader in number of active users with 2,000 million worldwide, followed by others such as Telegram, which already has 500 million, figures that are currently growing.
Although a phone call is still a good option, it is true that WhatsApp is already used by anyone, regardless of their condition or age, so it is usually the preferred means of contact, not only between individuals, but also between customers and businesses. Thus, its simplicity of use makes it possible to end the “digital breach” that makes the relationship between companies and their customers so difficult. We cannot ignore everything that this means of communication can bring to our company, so learning to manage it is very important to fully exploit its potential.
If you are thinking about starting to use this channel to communicate with your clients, in today’s post we bring you a guide with everything you need to know to manage WhatsApp in your business and thus benefit from all the advantages it can offer.
How many types of WhatsApp are there?
Since WhatsApp launched its first version in 2009, the instant messaging application has been introducing changes that range from adding new features to allowing its use from any computer through WhatsApp Web.
However, these have not been the only changes. Since it was acquired by Facebook, the company has developed, in addition to the standard version that we can all find on our mobile phones, there are two variants whose use aims for self-employed and companies: WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API. Although they may seem the same, each one has a series of characteristics and functionalities that make them different.
Differences between WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API
The solution that Facebook makes available for companies is WhatsApp Business API, as it allows us to offer a professional and secure solution to our clients. However, it also makes WhatsApp Business available for self-employed and small companies, a simple solution that does not have as many functionalities as the API but that covers the basic communication needs of these small businesses.
The first difference we find between them is that the Business version works with a single number associated with a single device , requiring a stable connection and a dedicated phone number to the service. Thus, if the device on which we are receiving the messages is turned off, we will not be able to continue the conversation. However, the API allows you to manage the channel on several devices, since it works virtually through the company number, which ensures the stability of the service and 24-hour attention.
On the other hand, WhatsApp Business does not allow its integration with other tools, and therefore, neither its automation. Thus, it does not offer the possibility of automating certain repetitive tasks, and also, in the case of calls, as it is not integrated with our telephone system, we will not be able to prevent them from entering us while we are attending a conversation, which makes the task of the agents very difficult and the management of the company’s customer service. This does not happen with WhatsApp API, since it is based on a series of rules and instructions to integrate this channel with other softwares, so that when the agent is answering a call, he will not receive any message and vice versa.
Another difference that we found is that WhatsApp Business API allows, not only sending of files, but also voice notes and sharing your location, in addition to showing the status of the message (sent, received or read). With WhatsApp Business, this is not possible.
Finally, WhatsApp API is a verified service that requires Facebook’s approval, which guarantees the customer the security that they are having a conversation with a company at all times and not with anyone. Many customers are still insecure when it comes to sharing information during the conversation, so thanks to this, you will be able to increase trust in your company. The Business version does not require this step, so frauds can sometimes occur.
Advantages of implementing WhatsApp API in your business
Nowadays, we are continuously connected, so our clients expect to find answers through any channel. Thus, being able to manage a means of communication such as WhatsApp, which allows us to offer these answers instantly, easily and free of charge, gives us the opportunity to provide quality customer service and improve the customer experience. But, in addition to this, it also offers much more:
- Integration with our telephone system is possible: as the API allows its integration with other softwares, without a doubt one of the most notable advantages is that it can be used from our virtual PBX or call center software. This way, we can manage all messages from the same tool, allowing them to be distributed among the different agents based on their skills, availability and priority and thus attend to several conversations at the same time. In addition, due to the fact that it is a system hosted in the cloud, agents will be able to have access from anywhere and with any device connected to the Internet, which also allows efficiency when managing different channels.
- Automation: it is possible to configure the messages that will appear in the different conversations, whether they are welcome, absence or even notifications. Thus, we can implement a series of quick responses that reduce customer waiting time and provide personalized attention 24 hours a day through the use of conversational agents. With this we also make sure not to lose any client, whether current or potential, since we can provide an effective solution to each one at any time.
- Identification of clients and follow-up of conversations: with WhatsApp we will be able to know the client’s telephone number to be able to contact him again in the future or to identify him if he writes again. This allows us to provide personalized attention and anticipate your needs. In addition, it provides a series of metrics and statistics to know the behavior of the messages (if they have been sent, received and read) and if the method we are currently using works or if we must change some aspect.
- File sharing: as we said before, WhatsApp API allows us to exchange sound, photo or video files instantly and for free, which allows us to simplify processes and provide solutions more quickly to our clients. For example, if our enterprise is an insurance company and a client contacts us due to a claim, he can send us photos of it, share their location or even send us a copy of their insurance, something that undoubtedly allows the client to reduce displacements and its associated costs.
How to implement WhatsApp API business in your business?
Before implementing WhatsApp in your company, the first thing you should do is verify your company in Facebook Business Manager. To do this, you must have a Facebook Business account and provide the necessary information to begin the verification process. Among these data is the registration of a telephone number owned by the company, being a mobile or landline number. Once this step is done, to complete the verification process, Facebook gives you a choice between two methods: a phone call or a text message to the number you have provided.
After completing the verification, the next thing you should do is choose a number to integrate with the API, which will be your company’s WhatsApp number. To do this, you can include a landline or mobile number to which Facebook will send a verification code, either by phone call or by text message. Although you can use a new one, it is advisable to use your customer service number in this step, as it will be the one used by users to contact your company. Keep in mind that when the verification of this number is completed, it will no longer be possible to use it for a standard WhatsApp account.
Once the account is approved and the number used for the integration has been chosen, you must provide us the name and logo of your company, which will be the one shown in the WhatsApp account, and the 15-digit identification number (Business Manager ID) generated when registering it in the Facebook business manager. This data will be sent to WhatsApp to start the integration process, and that is when the business information will be verified to know who is the company that owns the service and the telephone line. To do this, you must give WhatsApp access to the notifications received on behalf of the company so that they can provide us with the API credentials. During this step, you will receive a phone call or an SMS with a PIN code that you must communicate to Fonvirtual so that we can send it in real time to WhatsApp and thus validate the ownership of the phone number.
Finally, we will connect the line to your PBX or call center software so that you can start receiving WhatsApps on it. However, before you can start conversations and respond to conversations where more than 24 hours have passed since the last customer message, you will need to prepare a set of templates that WhatsApp has to approve (it will take approximately 3-5 days). This is aim to avoid aggressive advertising campaigns.
As you may have seen, the integration process is not immediate. However, once done, we will be able to fully enjoy all the advantages offered by this communication channel and we will ensure that our customer service is characterized by quality and speed.
Where can I use the WhatsApp Business API?
Now that you have the WhatsApp API up and running, you may be wondering where you can use it. We have already told you before that you can connect your line to your virtual PBX or call center software. Therefore, you can manage your conversations from the same place from which you receive calls. This way, you can use it from any device, be it a computer, mobile or tablet, and from anywhere, as long as it is connected to the Internet.
In addition, as we said before, by operating virtually through the company number, we can receive and answer our WhatsApps on several devices simultaneously, following the conversation from anywhere.
How to start using WhatsApp Business API?
Once we have WhatsApp up and running in our PBX, the ideal is to start testing to familiarize yourself with it. To do this, check the status of the phone number you use it for and try to send some test messages to your internal employees using the “messages” endpoint.
After verifying that the WhatsApp API works correctly, you must send a message to the WhatsApp account to activate the customer service period and you can start sending any message (except spam) to any number for 24 hours.
Facebook recommends using different phone numbers to perform the tests, and as long as you can’t find the solution to any problem, you can contact them or us to help you solve it.
How can you use WhatsApp in your business?
In addition to the typical messages exchanged between the company and the client, WhatsApp can have different uses in our business, especially if we integrate it with our PBX or call center software. Here are the most common ones:
- Chatbots or virtual agents: thanks to the fact that communication is written, it is possible to implement Artificial Intelligence systems such as chatbots that will help us automate conversations. Thus, when the client asks a dynamic question that can be answered immediately, it will be the virtual assistant himself who answers it. On the contrary, if it is a question for which the system does not have an answer, it will refer it to an agent to attend the request. This way, we will prevent agents from being overwhelmed and they will be able to carry out other tasks that require greater concentration. In addition, these systems allow conversations to be attended 24 hours a day regardless of the language or the co-official language in which they take place.
- Distribution of “newsletters” and important information: allows you to send communications to our clients thanks to the creation of broadcasting groups to keep them informed about the company’s new products or other relevant changes. In addition, we may send alerts about changes in the status of their order or your request. Nearly all users have the notifications of the application active on their devices, so we have the possibility of reaching a large number of people who, in addition, will not leave that message unread.
- Integration of the system with our CRM: WhatsApp API, as we said at the beginning, is based on a series of rules and instructions that allow integration with other softwares. Thus, by connecting the messaging application with the CRM solution that we use (Hubspot, Zoho, Zendesk…), we will be able to see the client’s file automatically as soon as its message arrives, record the interactions and modify the data without leaving the platform. With this we can offer a personalized treatment and a more efficient management of resources, increasing customer satisfaction.
How can agents manage the company’s WhatsApp messages?
As with a phone call, when a WhatsApp message arrives to our PBX or call center software, we can establish different forms of distribution among the agents. Thus, we can:
- Establish that certain agents receive a WhatsApp and distribute it among the different extensions. Thus, depending on the type received, the conversation will be delivered to a specific agent based on their skills, allowing them to check their availability before serving the customer. In addition, it could even from the application itself put the client in contact with an agent by switching to a phone call.
- Automate the delivery process, either through an “AWD” system (Automatic WhatsApp Distributor, which would be similar to the ACD system of a phone call) or through Artificial Intelligence. In the first case, the conversations are distributed based on the predefined skills of the agents, while in the second, we would be talking about the chatbots we mentioned above.
Tips to manage WhatsApp in your business successfully
Although we all know how to use WhatsApp, it is important to take into account some tips to implement it successfully in our company and thus make the most of all its advantages:
- Customize your account: take advantage of the possibilities offered by WhatsApp API to give your client information about who they are contacting. Use your company logo as a profile image, include customer service hours or create a product catalog so that consumers can easily consult them.
- Train your employees: although it is a simple tool, it is important to give agents some guidelines so that their way of handling conversations is similar in tone, style and content. This does not mean that you should stop personalizing customer service. You simply have to provide guidelines and instructions that allow agents to act under certain circumstances and ensure the quality of the interaction.
- Answer quickly: in a means like WhatsApp, characterized by immediacy, answering rapidly is essential. It is advisable to answer the messages in less than 1 hour, since after that time, the client is likely to despair and give up on their contact. For this, implementing the automatisms that we talked about previously is a great help.
- Inform your customers that they can contact your company by WhatsApp: it is essential. Planning actions is fine, but if users do not know that they can contact you this way, this will be of no use. Thus, including buttons on your web page or including your WhatsApp number in your contact can be of great help.
- Establish opening hours: although it is currently easy to provide 24-hour service with an Artificial Intelligence system, if this is not possible, it is important to leave your hours very clear or even configure an automatic message that indicates that you are not available.
As you may have seen, managing an instant messaging tool such as WhatsApp or Telegram in your company can provide an element of differentiation in your customer service. Giving our clients the possibility of communicating with us through applications so widely used today can bring you closer to your clients in a simple way. They will perceive that you are making it easy for them and that you care about them by offering them a communication channel that they use on a daily basis.
Furthermore, as it is a system that can be integrated with other tools, such as the virtual PBX or call center software, we will be able to unify our communication channels for personalized attention adapted to customer needs.