When WhatsApp first came out, it was viewed as a utility for communicating with friends and other close family members. But over time, it has grown to be an integral part of our lives, and now even businesses rely on it to stay in contact with their target market. Along with giving their current or target customers the option to communicate with their customer support or sales departments for questions and troubleshooting, these businesses have started developing promotional campaigns for WhatsApp. This article has been written to explain the how, why, and what of WhatsApp automation for business. This is where WhatsApp automation enters into the scene.
Importance of WhatsApp Automation for business
Whether your company is large or small, it is advisable to offer your clients support around-the-clock. It costs a lot of money to do this with the aid of human agents. You can add chatbots to your WhatsApp business account in place of human customer service representatives, enabling customers to contact you 24/7 with inquiries or complaints. Your company will develop a positive brand image as a result, and your clients will perceive that you genuinely care about them.
You can give your customers the option to chat on WhatsApp with a bot and receive responses to FAQ-type questions, which can be tedious and repetitive for a human agent, with the aid of WhatsApp automation.
Target audience and their needs
A company that recognizes and understands its target audience will be the most successful. This element alone determines how WhatsApp automation tools are designed and implemented. No customer is willing to put up with a person or machine that doesn’t know what they’re searching for. For this reason, you should carry out in-depth study into the needs and expectations of your target audience.
Understanding WhatsApp automation
The term “WhatsApp Automation” describes the use of APIs or AI-driven technologies to fully automate every interaction, message, and chat on the WhatsApp App. The system can send and receive messages, add new contacts, answer customer questions, and disseminate messages to many contacts all without human help.
There are two alternatives to WhatsApp that companies can use. These apps’ features and accessibility vary from one another, as does their usefulness. The WhatsApp Business App is available for download from app shops on both Apple and Android devices. The WhatsApp team must approve the WhatsApp Business API, and companies must request access or benefits.
Benefits of using WhatsApp automation for business
Quick resolutions and less response time
Without involving a human, you can instantly react to your customers. 35% of consumers anticipate waiting no longer than an hour while 75% expect brands to reply within a day. Customer satisfaction increases with response speed.
Customer support and success
Automating customer service on WhatsApp can boost the brand’s net promoter score because satisfied customers prefer to spread the word about the brands they love. Businesses can provide 24/7 customer support before, during, and after the transaction thanks to WhatsApp automation.
Handle engagement and queries
Automating WhatsApp for business makes it simple to handle customer inquiries, address commonly asked questions, and interact with clients. Your customer service staff can use the additional time from WhatsApp automation to address more pressing issues, like cases that need their attention.
Reduce the repetitive ‘Where is my order’ type queries
Brands typically receive 70% of WISMO (where is my order) inquiries. Companies can handle requests for purchase details and shipments by automating the process. Without transferring or involving customer support representatives in the middle, Chatbots can easily monitor orders and delivery information.
Increase rate of conversions
Customers who are happy with their purchases are more apt to make follow-up purchases and stick around. By automating your WhatsApp replies, you can easily lead customers through the sales funnel and persuade them to make a purchase from you.
Comparison of WhatsApp automation with traditional customer communication
In this article, we are examining the key distinctions between SMS and WhatsApp and assist businesses in determining which platform is most appropriate. SMS and WhatsApp are two of the most well-known platforms. It is important for businesses to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each so they can select the best choice for their needs. In fact, there are other methods like emails, pre recorded phone call messages and even having human along with the benefit of using WhatsApp automation for providing customer service to your existing and target customers.
Until recently companies were using traditional methods of communication with customers. These include, SMS, Flyers, email etc. However when WhatsApp was introduced in the market in 2009, the worldwide population adopted it enthusiastically. Slowly even businesses realized the potential and started looking for ways for WhatsApp automation to enable them to send and receive text and voice messages along with making voice and video calls, share documents and media and more. In fact, WhatsApp has become the most widely used messaging app and there are more than 2.24 billion active users in 2023.
Almost every country in the world has access to WhatsApp, with a few exceptions. Users must have a mobile phone with a working phone number and an internet link in order to use WhatsApp. There are particular products for businesses, even though the WhatsApp App is great for interpersonal contact. A standalone, free app called WhatsApp Business was created to help small businesses interact with clients directly The WhatsApp API, on the other hand, is a tool that bigger companies can use to incorporate WhatsApp messaging into their current software. Traditional methods of communication as discussed above just do not have the ability to provide the benefits, flexibility and versatility that WhatsApp provides.
WhatsApp tends to generate greater customer interaction than conventional methods because of its conversational nature. WhatsApp’s conversational nature enables less-formal, quicker exchanges, in contrast to SMS messaging, email, etc., which frequently involve one-way communication and little interaction. This has two significant advantages. First of all, WhatsApp’s interactive style fosters a relationship of trust and respect between customers and businesses, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Setting up WhatsApp business API
As we discussed billions of users are using WhatsApp all over the world and the best part of using Whatsapp Business API is that the users find it easier to adapt to something that they are already using. However, WhatsApp business API is more useful for larger businesses and they will have to set it up in order to use it for reaching out to their existing and target customers.
Overview of WhatsApp business API
WhatsApp business API is a reliable secure and quick method which helps businesses to connect with their customers regardless of the geographical and political boundaries. The WhatsApp API was introduced to assist medium-sized and big businesses that wished to use WhatsApp for mass customer communication. With automated replies, WhatsApp chatbots, and interactive messages, companies can automate contact using the WhatsApp Business API. Simply put, WhatsApp Business API enables companies to design a customized communication channel that best suits their clients’ needs. 21K School boosted their new client acquisition up to 172% in 11 months by using automated reminders and a WhatsApp Chatbot.
The WhatsApp API is designed for companies that want to grow. The WhatsApp Business App does not support features like bulk messages to clients or leads because it is designed for small companies. Utilizing APIs & integrations, instantly trigger messages and there are numerous logins and a dashboard for support. The WhatsApp API, on the other hand, has a ton of chat automation tools. For instance, unlike WhatsApp Business App, WhatsApp API requires direct integration into business software because it lacks both an app and a front-end interface. Only the WhatsApp Business Solution Providers, or BSPs, have access to the WhatsApp API.
Requirements and prerequisites to use WhatsApp API
We must first comprehend WhatsApp’s message policies before we can decide whether you need to register for the WhatsApp Business API. In essence, a 24-hour window will open each time a user delivers a message to your WhatsApp chatbot. You have complete freedom to email the user any message you want during this 24-hour period. It is also crucial to be aware that every time the user receives a message, the 24-hour clock will reset.
If you want to get approved for WhatsApp business API then you need to be compliant with 3 policies:
- Whatsapp business solution terms
- WhatsApp business policy
- WhatsApp commerce policy
WhatsApp business solution terms
The administrator of your company account, third parties, and restrictions are just a few of the many individuals and rules that are covered in this brief document.
WhatsApp business policy
Because WhatsApp wants you to produce a high-quality experience, the WhatsApp Business Policy outlines how you can use your robot with WhatsApp. The guidelines for opting-in are what are most crucial in this situation. There are two methods for users to opt-in for WhatsApp chatbots so that you can message them:
The person you want to communicate with gives their number and permission so that you can message them with the help of WhatsApp.
A customer themselves start a conversation with the WhatsApp chatbot.
You should abide by these guidelines because WhatsApp doesn’t want to turn into a “spam channel,” similar to email. Although the chatbot can initiate a discussion in some other situations, in 90% of them, the user must initiate it first (By directly starting it or by giving permission). This document also contains other information, such as the need to adhere to local laws and data protection. But once more, it’s very simple. Therefore, it is crucial that you comprehend and abide by the opt-in guidelines in this situation.
WhatsApp commerce policy
Which goods you cannot offer on WhatsApp are listed in the WhatsApp Commerce Policy. You cannot, for instance, offer illegal goods and services, drugs, or tobacco products. There are numerous merchandise categories that WhatsApp does not allow. Additionally, you won’t be permitted to use the WhatsApp Business API if you trade one of them. Therefore, you should simply read this paper and evaluate your adherence to this policy.
Step by step guide for setting up API
Once you have read the policies and checked your compliance with them, you can apply for WhatsApp business API by filling out an online form. This form is available with a WhatsApp business provider which is a company which ensures that your messages are delivered to the users. This means that the messages that the customer sends to your chatbot are delivered to it. Here you will be asked to fill out a form that requires basic information regarding your business and some personal details as well. You can choose from the number of WhatsApp business providers and work from there on.
You will also need to verify your business ownership and this can be done in many ways like verifying it with your phone number, verify that you are the owner of the website. You can also send legal documents of your business that you get from the Chamber of Commerce.
Tips for using the API effectively
You should use the broadcast feature of WhatsApp API which allows you to inform customers about your products and services without breaching their privacy. The best part is that the target audience will give their numbers only if they are interested and this means you will be targeting only interested leads so that your time and efforts are not wasted. Using the status feature is also a great way of getting your target audience to take interest in your promotional messages.
Designing the automation flow
Identifying the target audience and their needs
This is very important if you want your promotional or sales drive to succeed. With such information you can directly reach the customers who are interested in the product or service that you are offering. The promotional message should be formulated according to this information.
Defining the goals and objectives of the automation
WhatsApp automation is useful for many things including sales support, promotional drives, customer support etc. The companies providing services for WhatsApp automation will design the automation solution according to your requirements, because these are different for different procedures.
Creating a flowchart of the automation process
IF you are involved in the process of automation along with the provider, then you should create a flow chart which will help you to design the process according to the flow chart. This simple action will make the process of automation faster and also become accurate, giving you excellent results.
Choosing the right messaging platform and tools
As we discussed the different requirements of WhatsApp automation are actionable for different purposes. Usually the automation providing companies will help you with this selection of the right platform and tools.
Implementing WhatsApp automation
Integrating the API with existing platform
API has an interface which allows you to send and receive messages, and the WhatsApp API can be easily connected with your existing platforms like WhatsApp business, CRM etc. This ease of adding WhatsApp API to any existing system is making it popular with medium and large sized businesses.
Creating and configuring the messaging templates
We already know that several companies provide AI powered Whatsapp messaging templates for common messages. You can use such templates to answer FAQ type questions. The providers of WhatsApp API systems can guide you on how to configure these messaging templates. Needless to say that creating such templates from scratch requires in depth technical knowledge and hiring such talent can be an expensive proposition. This is the reason that most businesses use the ready to use templates provided by the vendors providing API templates.
Testing automation and fixing bugs
Although usually the automation of sales support, customer support etc. can be done quite easily using the templates available in online AI stores, you sometimes may face problems and need to remove bugs. For this purpose you need to consider outsourcing the procedure of fixing bugs with the help of vendors who provide services to connect your existing system to the WhatsApp API. In fact, automation with WhatsApp API is usually not problematic and testing the system can be done within your office.
Best practices for maintaining the automation
It is advisable to hire the services of an automation testing engineer to ensure that your automation system remains in good health always. In fact, you can take a course on this subject or ask some of your employees to do the same. These courses are easy, affordable and very useful in maintaining the good health of your automation system.
Measuring the results
Defining metrics to measure the success of the automation
Nowadays test monitoring tools for checking the success of your automation drive can be easily available online. On the other hand, the providers who install the automation system for your business can themselves test the success of the automation. There are many testing and monitoring tools available online which can help you to gauge the success of the automation of systems in your business.
Analysing the data and feedback from customers
It is very important to keep a finger on the pulse of your customers’ feedback so that you know that your business is moving in the right direction. When you apply AI powered automation like WhatsApp API then it becomes easier to get feedback from customers. Usually using API does not breach the privacy of the customers as we have already discussed. You can send them short questionnaires which will help you gain their opinion about your product or services. You can employ this information to improve your products and services.
Improving the automation based on the results
As discussed you should take feedback from your customers from time to time in order to gauge their satisfaction with your automation process. If this feedback is used in tandem with the machine learning enabled automation systems, then half your task is done, because the WhatsApp API system or any other API system will improve on itself with help from the feedback of the consumers. At the same time, you can also hire an automation engineer who will fix the system in such a way that will take care of any complaints that your customers have. Here you need to bear in mind that even with artificial intelligence and machine learning, there are some tasks that only human agents can do and you need to explain this to your customers.
Common challenges and solutions
When it comes to artificial intelligence and machine learning based automation systems like WhatsApp API, you can be sure to face some challenges. This is because although the technology has been around for quite some time, but there are the limits that machines have compared to human intelligence. As a result you may face some challenges from time to time when you start an automation drive for your business. Of course there are the specialists who don’t just design and implement the automation systems, they also provide solutions to overcome the challenges presented by the requirements of your business and what the AI powered solutions that your vendors provide.
Overview of the common challenges faced while implementing WhatsApp API
There are a number of business process automation challenges and handling them in the right manner is important to ensure that your automation drive is a successful one. The first challenge is to identify the right business procedure that you should automate. Then there is the integration and compatibility of legacy systems. Maintaining security and privacy of your customers is another challenge and lastly these automation systems can cost a pretty penny and you need to outline the budget you can allow for the automation of your business systems.
Solutions to overcome these challenges
You should conduct a thorough research of your business systems in order to identify the ones that can be and need to be automated for best results.
The next this is to conduct a research on the compatibility of your existing systems and integration of automation solutions with them. This is usually not a problem because nowadays businesses use the best and latest technology which can be easily integrated with API and other methods of AI powered automation systems.
Most of the automation solutions incorporate security features and protection of privacy in themselves and you can also explain the requirements to the vendor of the automation solutions.
Of course we already know that employing human resources to complete the tasks that you can automate is more expensive in the long run. Hence you should consider the pros and cons of automation when deciding the budget for the process.
Ensuring compliance with WhatsApp policies
We have already discussed this aspect and the automation engineers providing the automation solutions for WhatsApp API will be aware of them. You can also contact the WhatsApp customer support department and get a list of these compliance policies.
Managing high volume of messages
Every business has had days when they have been swamped with customer communication in a large volume. This can also happen after automation of your systems and you need to be careful to choose an API solution that will not cringe under the pressure of such heavy volumes of messages. It is advisable to discuss with your provider the volume of messages that you may receive.
Maintaining the quality of customer interaction
Of course, it is necessary that the customer understands that they are chating with a machine and not a person. In spite of this the quality of the communication should be such that it appeals to them and they continue to interact with your bot. The quality of this communication can be adjusted at the time that you automate your system. Usually high quality chatbots are very human like in their communication and the customers go away happy after communicating with them.
Integrating with existing customer management systems
This is very important because it is definitely not economically feasible to change your entire system, just to include the automation system. You need to give your vendor and their engineers a look at the existing systems so that they can suggest compatible automation solutions.
Future of WhatsApp automation
Discussion on the future of WhatsApp automation and its impact on the business
WhatsApp automation is here to stay and even now the things that used to be portrayed in sci-fi movies have become reality. WhatsAppp automation will only become the preferred choice of more and more companies who want to enhance their business and give their customers good quality service.
Emerging trends in the field of WhatsApp automation
More and more companies selling products or services are offering their inventories on WhatsApp and customers too prefer buying on this medium compared to your online store. Already many people are opting for payment on WhatsApp and this trend is only going to increase in the future.
Potential advancement and new features in the API
In the future artificial intelligence and machine learning will only get better and more human like. Where currently the chatbots on WhatsApp are used mainly to answer FAQ type queries, very soon they will be able to resolve complicated queries and complaints as well. The necessity of human resources for sales and customer support will decrease as the features of the API solutions become more advanced.
Summary of the key points covered in this article
The main purpose of this article was to analyse the WhatsApp API solutions as they are being offered in the market and how medium sized and large businesses are using them to automate their customer interactions. Whatsapp is a popular app in itself and 90% consumers use this app for personal communication. At the same time, this method of communicating with your customers can save you a lot of time, money and effort. This is why WhatsApp API is becoming popular day by day.
Final thoughts on the importance of WhatsApp automation for businesses in the future
WhatsApp is being used in more than 180 countries and WhatsApp business is also becoming popular. Of course some investment is needed to automate your customer support, sales support, lead generation and other tasks. However, this investment will save you a lot of resources in the long run.
Encouragement for businesses to explore the benefits of WhatsApp automation
It has become a known fact among businesses around the world that WhatsApp Automation is a major boon for business owners, who want to regulate their interaction with the customers. The quality of AI powered API solutions make thing much more economical and easier when it comes to business process automation. If businesses opt for WhatsApp automation now itself they will be able to scale up as ever new technologies come into being due to the relentless effort of the researchers who are trying their best to make the artificial intelligence and machine learning features more human like. Hence the future of WhatsApp automation is bright and it makes good sense in attaching it to the already existing systems in the future.