What is a WhatsApp bot? The ultimate business guide!
You probably have seen some companies use chatbots on the Messenger from Meta, but what about WhatsApp bots? They are the next big trend in messenger communication, and can really help your business. In the following guide, we explain what chatobts are, what WhatsApp bots can do for you—and how easy it is to build your own!
Did you know that on WhatsApp business, 175 million people message a business account every day? Even if your company had to handle only a tiny fraction of 0.0001 percent of these messages, you would still end up with 175 messages per day. That’s a lot of inquiries, questions, requests, and complaints to handle if you want to give each customer the attention they deserve and solve their issues fast. And that’s exactly where a WhatsApp bot comes in!
The automated tool can help your customer service, but also boost your business in many other ways. In the following, we explain what WhatsApp chatbots are, what they can do for your company, how you can set up one for your business (easily!), and how other organizations are already using them successfully.
Overview: What is a WhatsApp bot? The ultimate guide
- WhatsApp chatbots, WhatsApp bot, messenger bot, or just a bot: what’s the difference?
- Why should businesses use WhatsApp?
- What are the advantages of a WhatsApp chatbot?
- How do you design a WhatsApp bot?
- WhatsApp bots and new interactive buttons
- Creating a WhatsApp bot: what should you look for?
- Real-world examples of WhatsApp bots
- The best software solution for customer communication via messenger
You might have come across all these terms before and wondered: “What do they mean, and what’s the difference?” Let’s start with the basics! Chatbot is the general term, bot is just short for chatbot. A messenger bot is a specialized chatbot for messengers like Telegram or iMessage, and a WhatsApp chatbot is a bot that’s specifically designed for Meta’s popular green messenger.
So, all terms describe chatbots or specialized version of chatbots, but then: what’s a chatbot?
Wikipedia defines a chatbot as follows:
“A chatterbot, chatbot or short bot is a text-based dialog system that allows chatting with a technical system. It has one area each for text input and output, through which it is possible to communicate in natural language with the system behind it.”
A chatbot is therefore a computer program that enables interaction between humans and technology. Originally, chatbots were only designed for text-based communication, as you can see from the definition above. Nowadays, with more advanced technology, there are also voice bots, like Alexa or Siri. Accordingly, people distinguish between chatbots (for text) and voice bots (for spoken language), but often the original word “chatbot” is still used as an umbrella term for both.
When companies started using text-based chatbots, most people first encountered them on Facebook, in the Messenger from Meta. In the meantime, however, the chatty bots have expanded to other communication platforms and messengers. With WhatsApp being one of the most-used messengers in the world, many companies started rolling out WhatsApp chatbots to help them improve their customer communication.
Why specifically on WhatsApp? Because it’s one of the hottest messengers in the world right now! Worldwide, people send out more than 100 billion messages daily on the messenger. If businesses want to reach their customers, they have to meet them on their favorite communication channel. And many times that is WhatsApp! Companies use the messenger for the following reasons:
- User numbers: WhatsApp has more than two billion users worldwide, so even if you don’t use WhatsApp, your customers probably do!
- Target group: In addition to young people, over two-thirds of people over 65 also use a messenger app.
- Efficiency: Your company can answer customer inquiries on average 60 percent faster than by phone or email using WhatsApp.
- Popularity: Companies rely on channels such as phone, email, and SMS for customer communications. But 61 percent of customers today want to talk to them on messengers like WhatsApp.
- Acceptance: Nearly 50 percent of customers want to communicate with companies via WhatsApp. More than 65 percent of online shoppers want service and advice through WhatsApp!
- Costs: With customer communication via WhatsApp you won’t need to spend money on expensive call centers and old CRM systems!
There are actually several ways in which a WhatsApp bot can help your business.
Chatbots are a BIG help in customer service,…
The most obvious advantage is: you can automate your customer service. Think about all the frequent questions your service team gets every day. When will my package arrive? How can I check the status of my delivery? What forms of payment do you offer?
These inquiries keep your agents busy, but in the end, they keep answering the same questions over and over again. It’s tedious, it involves long waiting times for customers, and it takes time away from your agents to deal with more complex customer issues. This is the opposite of efficient. With a WhatsApp chatbot, many of these frequently asked questions can be answered much faster—by a bot. In a way, they can be the floodgate, guarding the customer requests that come in.
This reduces the work load for your customer service team, helps your customers much faster, and leaves more time to deal with more complicated customer issues. With the help of WhatsApp chatbots, your company can in fact be up to 80 percent more efficient. In the end, you save time, money, and your customers and employees are happier.
… but they can do so much more!
However, there are a lot more things a WhatsApp bot can do for you:
- Offer customer service 24/7 (bots don’t sleep, and they don’t get sick).
- Increase customer satisfaction (they get help faster).
- Guide clients more efficiently through sales funnels.
- Bots can be designed to have personalized conversations with your customers, which increases customer engagement.
- Safe communication with your customers (end-to-end encryption, and GDPR-compliant!)
- Better user experience: There has been criticism that WhatsApp bots don’t have buttons like the chatbots in the Messenger from Meta. Now, the WhatsApp Business API also includes interactive buttons for a better experience.
A WhatsApp bot can offer your business, your employees, and your customers a lot of benefits. However, before you roll out your chatbot, there are a few things you should consider first.
Basically, a WhatsApp bot is there to help you achieve your goals. So, the first step to building a chatbot for your business, is to define these goals.
- Clarify, step by step, how a chatbot will help you achieve the businesses’ goals!
- WHERE and HOW should WHO talk about WHAT: create a mini checklist for your chatbot expectations!
- You don’t always need artificial intelligence to create a chatbot, you just need a good, human idea!
A lot of tasks that businesses want to automate can be solved with a chatbot builder, so there’s no need to make your bot more complicated than it has to be. However, for more complex business solutions, there are also easy ways of designing AI-based bots!
Six points that you should consider when planning a chatbot
Your business goals are only the first half of the equation of building a successful WhatsApp bot. The other half is to think about the best bot for your clients as well. After all, it will be them who interact with the bot, so you want to make sure that the human-bot-interaction is a smooth as possible. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What goal should a (marketing) chatbot have?
- What tonality should my chatbot have?
- What should the chatbot talk about?
- Do I want to offer a guided or free dialogue?
- How do I design a chatbot dialogue?
- How do I react to questions that my chatbot can’t answer?
Once you have answered the basic questions around your bot, you are ready to create your own WhatsApp bot.
In most cases, companies need simple messenger chatbots. Your WhatsApp chatbot must be able to answer frequently asked questions. However, it’s just as important to make sure that the bot is able to forward the customer to a human representative at the right time, especially for more complex or individual questions.
❗️ Note: As part of the October 2020 updates to the WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp has announced that companies must ensure that customers are handed over to a human colleague by a WhatsApp Bots. This can be done by handing over to a human agent in chat, by providing a phone number or email, by web support, or by using a support form. MessengerPeople’s Chatbot Builder allows you to quickly and easily create an efficient chatbot that ensures this hand-off to a human colleague.
When creating a chatbot it is important to consider the following aspects to ultimately optimize your customer service:
Automation of dialogs
The dialog is the core of the chatbot. The connection between user questions and the corresponding answers of the Chatbot is established. Example: Who are you? – I am the smart bot!
Topics give the bot a context. Thus, the bot can give different answers to the same question depending on the topic. Example: topic “FAQs” vs. topic “products”.
With the help of variables, your chatbot can retrieve previously defined data from its conversation partner. This data can then be used for personalization or targeting. Example: name, age, place of residence, willingness to take risks, etc.
Data Model Integration
Data models are tables with additional data. The bot can access this data during the dialog. Example: product catalog, opening hours, quiz questions, and so on.
It is important that you regularly analyze the performance and development of your messenger bot. Use the findings to optimize the bot. Example: What are the most common unanswered questions? What are the questions that the bot answers the most?
💡 Tip: Learn how to build a Chatbot with our Chatbot Builder in a short time and without programming knowledge.
Until recently, it was only through numbers, letters or hashtags that users could have a dialogue with chatbots on WhatsApp. Now, there has been an upgrade to the company-client-communication: the WhatsApp Business API buttons. These interactive buttons allow users to decide much faster what they want to do next.
The buttons make it easier for the user to react to the bots input. You can create buttons for WhatsApp, the Messenger from Meta, Telegram and iMessage.
💡 Read more about the WhatsApp Business API Buttons
The German food magazine “Lecker” has created a chatbot that works on the Messenger from Meta as well as on WhatsApp. As a WhatsApp bot, it answers queries that revolve around dishes. With the corresponding hashtag, customers can get immediate inspiration for new recipes. Special feature: Using a hashtag to get inspired.
The car company BMW Munich offers a special workshop service. With the Follow Now WhatsApp bot, customers can check on the repair status of their car at any time. This reduces the workload for the customer service team, and frees up time to deal with more complex customer inquiries. When the car is ready, the WhatsApp bot makes it easy to schedule a pick-up appointment, too.
We receive about 3,800 inquiries from customers, of which we answer about 3,000 automatically. Recall requests have dropped by 60% and the recommendation rate has risen to 90%!
Albert Rösch, Head of Service Consulting at BMW AG Munich Branch
💡 Tip: Download the exclusive Case Study from BMW for free now!
The women’s sports brand, Women’s Best, offers advice and customer service on WhatsApp or via Apple Business Chat. The bot pre-qualifies customer inquiries on the messaging apps. It asks for the language, country, name, and e-mail address. It then hands the customer over to a human colleague, who processes and resolves the customer inquiry.
Since the introduction of the messaging apps, the processing time of inquiries at Women’s Best has dropped by 50% and the Customer Care Team receives 70% less e-mail.
David Kurzmann, CEO & Co-Founder of Women’s Best
It’s amazing what you can do with a WhatsApp chatbot! The good news is: you can easily implement all these services from the above examples with our software solution. It can be used immediately, and it is browser-based. In addition, your company can stay 100 precent GDPR-compliant. Via autorouting, your co-workers in customer service always receive the right requests automatically assigned.
With targeted bot automation, our chatbot builder helps you and your company make customer communication more efficient. This is the case, for example, when it comes to the pre-qualification of a customer and their inquiries. Chat modules additionally reduce the workload for the service agents.
Get a first impression of our product here!
💡 Tip: Arrange a live demo for the Messenger Communication Platform now. We will guide you through the product via web demo and give you expert tips and answers to all your questions.
Learn more about Chatbots and Messenger
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