WhatsApp Business for Companies: Everything you need to know!
WhatsApp offers compelling solutions for enterprises. WhatsApp distinguishes between “WhatsApp for Business” and “WhatsApp Business API”. While “WhatsApp for Business” is free and specially made for small companies, the enterprise version “WhatsApp Business API” offers professional and data protection compliant solution for medium and large companies. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business: how it works, what it costs, what benefits WhatsApp for Business has to offer, and whether you’d rather use the WhatsApp Business App or WhatsApp Business API!
In the article, you will discover
- The WhatsApp Ecosystem
- What is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider?
- How to get access to the WhatsApp Business API?
- What are the capabilities of the WhatsApp Business API?
- How can I use WhatsApp in the Customer Journey?
- Can I build a chatbot on WhatsApp?
- How do I get a WhatsApp account for businesses?
- How do I get the verification / official business account (green tick) at WhatsApp?
- What do I have to pay attention to by using WhatsApp Business regarding DSGVO and data protection?
- What are the benefits of WhatsApp Business for companies?
“WhatsApp for businesses has enabled us to reach our customers quickly and effectively. This is a great example of how technology creates customer-centric experiences.”
Saujanya Shrivastava, Group Chief Marketing Officer at MakeMyTrip
We all know the “WhatsApp App” from private communication. In the business and enterprise sector, official solutions from WhatsApp have been available since 2018: an app and an API!
WhatsApp Business is a free app designed specifically for small business owners. Use it to create a catalog to showcase your products and services. With tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages, it makes it easy to communicate with customers.
The WhatsApp Business App offers these features: Verified WhatsApp Account, text modules, product catalog, opening hours, etc.
👎 The disadvantages of the WhatsApp Business App:
- GDPR and data protection are not guaranteed!
- Requires a smartphone – problematic if other colleagues are to work with it
- Multiple users at different locations not possible
- No automation e.g. via chatbots possible
Conclusion: The free WhatsApp Business App is the (almost) perfect solution for small businesses like cafés, florists, consultants or trainers. So if you have a maximum of 1 – 3 employees, don’t take the issue of data protection too seriously and want to use WhatsApp for businesses free of charge, you’ve come to the right place!
In August 2018, a business solution for larger companies, the official WhatsApp Business API, was launched. It is designed for medium and large companies. Unlike the app, the API is not free of charge and companies usually need so-called “WhatsApp Business Solution Providers” like MessengerPeople to get access to the API interface.
With the features of the WhatsApp Business API, we take our customer support to the next level. Thanks to MessengerPeople, the connection was quick and easy.
Albert Rösch, Head of Service Consulting BMW AG (to the BMW Case Study)
Tip: Free webinar
MessengerPeople belongs to the selected group of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSP). These providers give companies access to the WhatsApp Business API and enable them to use WhatsApp in a professional and scalable manner to achieve their business goals.
There are three ways for companies to get access to the WhatsApp API:
A) Direct access: Here you need a good connection directly to Facebook (good luck!). Further you need your own IT infrastructure, your own servers and then build the complete software or CRM integration yourself. Suitable for companies that have many developer resources and very individual needs!
B) Interface of an API vendor: Here the interface is provided by a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider. Companies still need their own development team and IT resources. MessengerPeople’s Unified Messaging API is a single interface for multiple Messaging Apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger, of course, GDPR compliant. It costs from 79,- Euro per month.
C) Use professional Software-as-a-Service: If you want to use WhatsApp for your company fast, immediately, without IT resources but 100% data protection compliant, MessengerPeople offers you a ready-to-use software solution! With the Messenger Communication Platform, companies receive a software solution that is ready-to-use for customer communication with its intuitive interface. This is worthwhile for all companies from about 10 employees.
We experienced the MessengerPeople’s solution as very easy to use, and the price-performance ratio was also right. That’s why we decided quickly which provider we would choose.
Stefan Gehrig, head of customer service at Harz Energie, a German energy utility
For a long time WhatsApp newsletters were very popular. However, since December 2019 it is no longer allowed!
WhatsApp now allows two different use cases: Customer Care (customer contacts a company) and Notifications (company contacts customers).
- Customer Care is where the customer contacts the company. This could be a case in the consulting department (“I have a question about product XY”) or after the purchase (“How can I use the product, how can I return the product?”). If the user contacts the company via WhatsApp, the company has 24 hours to respond! The chat is free for customers and companies!
- WhatsApp Notification / Message Templates (Push Notifications): These are WhatsApp messages that you as a company can send to your customers on various occasions. Comparable to a service SMS, which you still know from online banking or flight bookings today. The cost of WhatsApp Notification varies from country to country. Read more in our article: “WhatsApp Business: What are WhatsApp Notification?”.
WhatsApp can be used by companies throughout the entire customer journey. From marketing at the beginning, to consulting, ordering, customer service, loyalty, and advocacy, WhatsApp offers a wide range of possibilities.
💡 Here you can read all about the use of Messaging apps along the customer journey.
You can only program Chatbots on the WhatsApp API! WhatsApp Business does not offer this feature!
Especially at the beginning of a sales or service conversation the same information is requested from every single customer. By using WhatsApp chat bots in first-level support – right at the beginning – customers get the first answer faster and companies save valuable resources.
❗️Note: As part of the October 2020 updates to the WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp has announced that companies, as of November 1, must ensure that a WhatsApp bot can hand off customers to a human colleague. This can be done by handover to a human agent in chat, by providing a telephone number or email, by web support or support form. MessengerPeople’s Chatbot Builder allows you to quickly and easily create an efficient chatbot that ensures this handover to a human colleague.
WhatsApp Chatbots can be extremely useful in communication:
- They are available 24/7 and never sick or on vacation
- You can constantly learn and improve
- They are very fast – but also patient when the customer has no time
- They never forget – they remember certain data
- They are low-maintenance because unlike apps they do not need to be constantly updated to new operating systems
Here you can see how a chatbot can be implemented on WhatsApp for an insurance use case.
💡 Tip: In our article “What is a WhatsApp Bot?” we explain how to quickly build your first chatbot and which companies already use chatbots on WhatsApp.
Any account that uses WhatsApp Business is automatically listed as a “corporate account”. So when you become a MessengerPeople customer, you automatically get a business account!
- The basic requirement for using the WhatsApp Business API is a verified WhatsApp company profile, which is created via Facebook Business Manager.
- In the second step, companies need a telephone number that is assigned to the WhatsApp customer service channel. Mobile and landline numbers are possible.
- On the Facebook Developer page, WhatsApp provides detailed explanations of the technical implementation. If companies decide to work with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider such as MessengerPeople, the provider takes care of the complete technical connection and offers comprehensive support.
💡 In our article “Implementation of the WhatsApp Business API”, you can find out everything about the topic.
Normally companies cannot apply or pay to have a ” Business Account” converted to an “Official Business Account” – i.e. get the green tick for verified business accounts!
At this time only certain company accounts are listed as “Official Business Account”. Listing a company as an “Official Business Account” is based on a variety of factors, such as whether the brand is significant.
… says WhatsApp officially!
✔✔ BUT: MessengerPeople customers can request this verification from WhatsApp for the official business account through a form provided by us.
9) What do I have to pay attention to by using WhatsApp Business regarding DSGVO and data protection?
GDPR/ data protection and WhatsApp is always an issue for companies, of course. As described above, the use of WhatsApp for companies on one single smartphone is problematic. Therefore, WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp (private) App are NOT suitable for GDPR-compliant use by companies. With the WhatsApp API, data protection is guaranteed via solution providers such as MessengerPeople.
In general, there are no restrictions on which data companies and customers exchange via Messenger Apps like WhatsApp.
It is important that the company explains in detail in advance what happens to the data and that the customer’s legitimation is provided.
Dr. Carsten Ulbricht, a lawyer specialized on internet/social media law
💡 Tip: Exclusive interview with the lawyer Dr. Carsten Ulbricht about “GDPR and WhatsApp? May I use WhatsApp Business for my company?”
- Official and verified business profile
- Guaranteed end-to-end encryption and GDPR-compliant communication
- Many ways to get in touch with your customers (customer service, consulting, marketing)
Benefits for customers:
- Availability: WhatsApp is my preferred communication channel anyway
- Simple: I chat fast, direct & easy
- Flexible: I communicate (without waiting loop and forwarding horror) exactly when it suits me
- Cross-Device: I start the chat on the desktop in the office and then take it with me on the smartphone on the train
- Multimedia: I can easily send videos, pictures or voice messages and can explain my problem better
- Speed: I get a fast and good answer
- Binding: Should I have a question later, both the contact and the dialogue are still available
Benefits for companies:
- Reach: You use an app that is used by over 2 billion people worldwide
- Efficiency: You answer inquiries on average 60% faster than by phone or e-mail (short and without much bla bla)
- Automation: Through automation you can save up to 80% more effort
- Costs: You save the costs for expensive call centers and old CRM systems
- Tonality: You enjoy customer communication without shitstorms, trolls and with much more honest feedback
- Employees: Your service employees are happy – because customer contact via WhatsApp is much more positive and motivating
- Customer loyalty: As part of the WhatsApp contact list, you belong to the inner circle of your customers
- Success: Your customers are happy, your Net Promoter Score rises and your business becomes a complete success!
💡 Tip: In our article WhatsApp Business API: 5 Tips for successful Customer Communication you’ll learn how you can leverage the potential that the Business API offers.
Our Messenger Communication Platform is the first professional ticket system for GDPR-compliant customer service via WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram. In the following intro video, you can see what the tool looks like.
You can always participate in our free webinars. They will guide you through the product and give you tips on content and strategy for your customer service via Messaging Apps. How about the WhatsApp webinar for successful implementation and use?