Updates & News: WhatsApp Business Update
WhatsApp Business Update – In this article, we provide you with regular updates about the latest WhatsApp updates for companies, as well as planned features for app versions on Android and iOS.
Live blog: As soon as there is new information about WhatsApp and new app versions and/or features, we will update this article.
- Human Escalation Paths – WhatsApp Chatbots must hand over to human agents!
- WhatsApp Business App: Product catalog feature now live!
- WhatsApp Pay just before launch!
- 5 new WhatsApp features
- WhatsApp introduces sharing function for status updates to other apps
- No more sending pictures to the wrong contact
- WhatsApp Business App now also available for iOS
- Privacy: WhatsApp users can now select who can invite them to groups
- Security: WhatsApp can now be secured with Touch-ID and Face-ID
- WhatsApp gives permission to third party providers for sticker integration – among the first to join is Google
- Withdraw money from an ATM using WhatsApp? This is really possible!
- WhatsApp update iOS Version 2.19.10 (Add private answers to groups, pictures & videos to stickers, 3D Touch)
Human Escalation Paths – WhatsApp chatbots must hand over to human agents!
As part of the October 2020 updates to the WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp has announced the following: Companies that partially automate their customer communication, for example via chatbot, must ensure the handover of customers by a WhatsApp bot to a human colleague as of 1.11.2020.
Possible solutions for this are:
- Handover to a human agent in a chat
- by providing a telephone number or e-mail
- via web support or support form
No solutions provide escalation channels to social media accounts such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Telegram, etc. because they require registration and an account with another service. Furthermore, indirect channels, such as a help centre website or a link to an app, do not meet this requirement either.
WhatsApp regularly checks companies to see if they have integrated a Human Escalation Path into their WhatsApp chatbot. Companies that do not have a Human Escalation Path will experience limitations in sending or receiving messages via the WhatsApp Business API.
💡 Tip: Using MessengerPeople’s Chatbot Builder, you can easily create an efficient chatbot that ensures the handover to a human colleague.
- Update Septemberber 7th
It was annunced at the Facebook developer conference f8 at the end of April 2019 that the WhatsApp Business App will introduce the function of a product catalog this year. During the f8 keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that since its launch in 2018, the WhatsApp Business App has been used by millions of small businesses worldwide to communicate privately with their customers.
Source: Facebook Newsroom
Since today, the product catalog feature is available and live in the WhatsApp Business App for both Android and iOS. This important feature will be rolled out first in Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Great Britain, and the US. You can learn how to create a product catalog in this short video.
Update July 12th
The world’s most popular messenger app, bought by Facebook in 2014 for around $20 billion, is reportedly about to officially launch its payment solution on the Indian market.
WhatsApp has created the necessary data storage facilities in India to introduce WhatsApp Pay to the chat app’s entire Indian user base, which is estimated to be between 350 million and 400 million users, according to The Economic Times.
Since February 2018 year WhatsApp Pay has been tested in India with over one million users. This is over now! WhatsApp is entering the Indian market and once the authorities give the go-ahead, WhatsApp will enter the digital payments market, which is expected to have a volume of over $1 trillion by 2023. So it’s clear why there’s so much competition. Solutions such as PayTm, which is currently the largest provider, Google Pay, which is currently gaining market share quite quickly, Samsung Pay, Mobikwik, PhonePe, Freecharge, Citrus and soon WeChat Pay (WeChat is involved in the Indian Messenger Hike) compete for users.
Advantage WhatsApp Pay
WhatsApp has a user base of 350 to 400 million people. They will be the first to use WhatsApp Pay. That’s a huge advantage over some competitors. Whether and when WhatsApp Pay will be rolled out worldwide is unsure. WhatsApp Pay is a huge priority for WhatsApp, which can also be seen from the fact that it was an important part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s f8 keynote.
- Update July 4th
Dark Mode, Touch ID & Co. – 5 features that WhatsApp will roll out soon
According to Business Today, one of the leading business magazines in India (one of largest market for WhatsApp with 250 – 300 million users), the following 5 features will be rolled out soon. It is currently sill unknown, whether this applies to both iOS and Android, and when exactly the features will be rolled out.
1. Dark Mode
We have seen it in many other apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail or Google Chrome. By the way: if you have a Mac/MacBook Pro with macOS 10.14 Mojave, you can also switch to dark mode. The dark mode has two decisive advantages for the user: it is good for the eyes, especially in the evening and at night, and it is energy-saving for the device. WhatsApp users have long been waiting dark mode. But now we can have justified hopes. By the way: According to WABetainfo, WhatsApp calls their dark mode Night Mode.
Get a first idea with this screenshot of WABetainfo for Android:
See also the message by WaBetainfo:
📝 WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.139: what’s new?
The Dark Mode is now a Night Mode. A new screenshot of the chats list is available!https://t.co/hHoUUkSXz0
NOTE: The feature is not available yet and it will be enabled in future.
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) May 13, 2019
2. QR Code
“It’s never gonna happen.” Was the mantra for a long time. The messaging app WeChat, which is particularly widespread in China, has been relying on QR codes for a long time and so will WhatsApp soon! Until now, this was only available to start the web version via scan. WhatsApp wants to make it easier for users to add new contacts. One step instead of several. That’s why each user gets their own QR code with the update, which can be scanned by others to add them to their own phone contacts.
— فوربس الشرق الأوسط (@ForbesME) July 3, 2019
3. Touch ID for Android
We have known these from Apple etc for quite some time. Apple now even relies on Face ID. The identification by touch ID is already being used by some apps. WhatsApp increases the security standard for the user with offering the fingerprint identification for Android (for the WhatsApp iOS app, you can already identify with both Touch ID and Face ID). According to Business Today, the update makes third-party providers superfluous who offer exactly the locking of an app.
4. Sort contacts by number of interactions
The new feature will automatically sort your contacts according to the frequency of your interaction with them. Contacts with whom you have no exchange will slide down.
5. Function to share your status updates to other apps
Scroll down to see that end of June we have already talked about this topic: WhatsApp is testing a sharing function for status updates to other apps!
WhatsApp introduces sharing function for status updates to other apps!
WhatsApp begins a rollout for its beta testers that has already been expected for some time. WhatsApp beta testers can now share their status (equivalent to the Stories feature on Instagram, Facebook Messenger or Snapchat) in other apps via iOS and Android. In addition to Facebook and Instagram, we’re talking about Gmail or Google Photos, as reported by The Verge. The exciting thing about it is that it is not, as many observers suspect, an automatic sharing process, but an “active decision” of the user. Even if a status posting is shared with another Facebook services such as Instagram or Facebook, the respective accounts are not linked. Facebook technically regards both postings as two different updates that are not linked. It is not known when the feature will be rolled out to all WhatsApp users.
Also for beta testers (but only Android) a feature is currently being worked on, which can completely hide already muted status updates of contacts. Also here it is unclear if and when the feature will be rolled out to all WhatsApp users.
📝 WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.183: what’s new?
WhatsApp is testing the ability to completely hide muted status updates.https://t.co/C2AMLmXSMj
NOTE: the feature is not available yet and it will be enabled in future.
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) June 26, 2019
Update June 18th
No more sending pictures to the wrong contact!
A new feature will ensure that no more images are accidentally sent to the wrong contact. In the new “WhatsApp Beta User” update, the recipient’s name is now also displayed while writing a caption. Even though some might consider this redundant because you already are in the personal chat, it is still a relevant update to further strengthen user control over content. It is currently not final, when this feature will oficially be introduced in the app.
WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.173: status recipients details, when you take a photo to send!
It is for the contacts list too. pic.twitter.com/YKgFCKLBlf
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) 15. Juni 2019
Update May 22nd
Ads on WhatsApp? Available in Stories from 2020!
It has been known since last year that WhatsApp plans to play ads on its Stories feature (Status). It was expected to be launched in 2019 and now it has been announced at the Facebook Marketing Summit in Rotterdam that the status ads will come in 2020. In WhatsApp Business, we learned that the news formats will be even more enriched. This means that companies that send images or PDFs in a message in the future will also be able to add their own comments. In addition, the WhatsApp Business product catalog announced at this year’s f8 will be integrated into the Facebook product catalog.
— Olivier Ponteville (@Olivier_Ptv) May 21, 2019
(Click on Tweet to view full thread)
Update April 4th
As of today, WhatsApp has announced that small and medium sized companies can now use the WhatsApp Business App if they are based in Brasil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Mexico, UK or USA. Since the launch of this app in early 2018, it was only applicable to Android systems. From today onwars smaller companies can start using the app on their iPhone, too.
The features are not different to those available on the Android version:
- Business Profile: Official information about the company with picture, description, address etc
- Messaging Tools: Clear focus on quick answers to frequently asked questions, welcome messages or opening hours.
- WhatsApp Web: The option to use the app on your desktop to communicate with your clients
It has basically only been a question of time until the release of this Business App for SMEs, especially since WhatsApp focusses on providing more business solutions for a convenient and easy customer communication via chat app.
Tip: Today’s announcement targets small and medium-sized enterprises. But be aware of these important three aspects:
- When it comes to data protection, the WhatsApp Business App lacks the necessary conformity with GDPR
- This app is targeted to SMEs, so processing customer enquiries, you will quickly reach the limits
- Also in terms of scaling, once again it shows, that it is simply not enough and not efficient enough to employ 5 employees and providing a telephone support when you want to offer professional customer service
Our recommendation: Use the WhatsApp Business API with an official WhatsApp Business API Solution Provider: MessengerPeople. We offer the first professional ticket system for customer service via messaging apps. It is scalable, it can efficiently handle large volumes of customer requests, and it is absolutely GDPR-compliant.
WhatsApp for innovative customer care with the Messenger Communication Platform.
Access all features in a 14-day free trial.
Update April 3rd
Thinking of the election in India, WhatsApp has introduced yet another feature to prevent the spread of fake news: a privacy setting feature for users to decide and choose who can add and invite them to groups.
Under Settings > Privacy, the user can choose from three options of who can invite them to groups.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are three options available: everyone, my contacts, and nobody. If the user selects nobody, the person who wants to invite you to the group is given the possibility to invite you in a personal 1:1 chat. This invitation to join the group will be valid for three days. If you choose the my contacts option, then the same applies for contacts that have you as a contact in their address book but you don’t have them in yours.
WhatsApp has now revealed that the new development is already being rolled out to some users and will be available globally in the coming weeks. All you need to do is keep your WhatsApp up-to-date with the latest version installed on your device.
Update January 17th
Since yesterday, the latest iOS version 2.19.20 of WhatsApp supports the so-called Touch ID as well as Face ID.
Depending on the iPhone model you own, you can choose between Touch ID and Face ID. And, as you can see, the new security feature is also set up very quickly.
Step 1: Open WhatsApp and go to Settings.
Step 2: Click on Account to get to the Privacy section.
Step 3: Click on the last menu item at the bottom – Screen Lock
Step 4: Activate the Touch ID by flipping the switch and clicking “Immediately”.
Step 5: Check the enabled Touch ID setting for WhatsApp
Update January 17th
WhatsApp gives permission to third party providers for sticker integration – among the first to join is Google
After WhatsApp had recently put a stop to third-party sticker integration after the initial release, it became known today that Google’s GBoard (Google’s keyboard for Android and iOS smartphones) is the first known brand to be integrated.
WhatsApp will allow Stickers integration for third-party keyboards!
GBoard is the first keyboard app that will support this service, in future!https://t.co/LoRjDh23vT
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) January 17, 2019
The background motive: Android smartphones have the largest market shares worldwide. And which company is on every phone? Google. And of course WhatsApp is also represented worldwide on iOS as well as Android devices, as we know from app downloads worldwide.
The screenshots that WABetainfo integrated into his article show how the integration will work. WhenWhatsApp is open, the keyboard below is open and visible. The integration of GBoard replaces the standard keyboard and will be used with the opened WhatsApp app.
Of course there is also a button for stickers etc. integrated in the keyboard. Clicking on this button opens a search bar for stickers provided by Google via GBoard. Quite simple. Beside the stickers you can also search at Google yourself or usw GIFs and much more.
The integration is relatively small, but it is indispensable for the popular “soft” messenger communication. By the way: basically Giphy, Tenor, Momento and other providers also offer such keyboard integrations, for example for the so popular GIFs.
Update January 14th
A Brazilian bank, the Banco do Brasil, has made what people from other countriesstill dream about come true: cash withdrawal via WhatsApp. This means that the bank’s own apps are no longer necessary.
How does it work?
- Store bank contact (phone number) in address book and ask for withdrawal
- A chatbot on IBM Watson technology asks for the amount and the PIN that the customer must enter
- After verification, the customer is sent a code which must be entered in the ATM and is valid for the day of the request
From a user perspective – and there are 1.5 billion active users of WhatsApp – this is a great feature, because you could now use WhatsApp for banking business, as well as many other things.
BTW: the Brazilian bank has set a maximum amount of 80 euros per 24 hours when withdrawing cash via WhatsApp. This makes sense, because in case of suspicious activity, the bank is not threatened with excessive losses.
Update January 10th
WhatsApp Update iOS Version 2.19.10 (Add private answers to groups, pictures & videos to stickers, 3D Touch)
With the new WhatsApp update for iOS version 2.19.10, three new features are rolled out. First, users in groups can now respond privately to group messages. To do this, tap on the respective message and select the menu item “Private reply” under “More”, as the screenshot shows.
In addition, it is now possible to include stickers in pictures and videos. All you have to do is click on the smiley icon in edit mode.
The third new feature allows a preview of the status messages of the contacts with 3D Touch.
Interested in reading more?
Have a great idea for customer service via messaging apps and want to talk about it? Message us!