Using WhatsApp Business for Customer Service - Last Updated: 6 March 2018

Note! The intention of this post is to keep businesses updated on the rollout of WhatsApp Business. We will update it regularly for the benefit of our clients and other interested parties.

At the last count (July 2017) WhatsApp had in excess of 1.3 billion monthly active users (MAUs), which is an enormous number. Unlike many other MAU stats, the word “Active” is almost an understatement because around 77% of users are Daily Active Users. This makes WhatsApp the key messaging platform in many countries in the world (except the U.S. where Messenger is markedly more dominant and the likes of China, Russia, South Korea and Japan where local apps dominate). 

With that sort of traction it should be no surprise that both existing and prospective clients regularly ask us when we will start providing WhatsApp for business functionality. In fact, we’ve been asked so many times we decided to create this post to aggregate all the latest news so we can point inquiries in this direction.

It is worth mentioning that there is no information related to API yet.

WhatsApp Business - The Latest Updates

Table 1: WhatsApp for Business - Latest Updates Summary

News Rumour / Official Timing More info
Registration with a landline number Official Available Softonic.com
WhatsApp Business launched in the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Belgium, and Germany. Official Available Techzim, PC Tech Magazine, Androidworld, Tellforce Blog, idealo magazin
WhatsApp Business launched in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K., the U.S, and India. Official Available WhatsApp Blog
2 new features: Labels and Quick replies. Read more in the respective section below. Official Available in the few countries the app has launched

Independent

WhatsApp.com

New anti-spam method in development. WhatsApp intends to do something about the forwarded spam messages. Rumour Expecting an official announcement WABetaInfo
While SMBs will be able to use the app for free (at least initially), WhatsApp intends to charge enterprise businesses. Official To be announced WhatsApp Blog

 

What the Confirmed Features Look Like

1. WhatsApp Business Logo

WhatsApp-Business-logo.png

2. Business Profile

WhatsApp Business account owners can update their profile info including a picture, business hours, website address, description of the business and office/store address.

whatsapp business profileSource: Whatsappen

3. WhatsApp Web

You can interact with your customers via WhatsApp using WhatsApp Business on your desktop.

4. Types of Business Accounts

  • Verified  whatsapp business verified badge

The account is owned by an authentic brand (green checkmark badge).

  • Confirmed

Account’s phone number matches business’s phone number (grey checkmark badge).

  • Business account

The account has neither been confirmed nor verified (grey question mark badge).

5. Chat migration

Businesses that were already using a normal WhatsApp account before creating their WhatsApp Business account, can migrate their messages and chat history. Read the instructions here.

Note! If you want to register the same phone number to your WhatsApp Business account, remember to delete the WhatsApp app. 

6. Auto responses

Businesses can create customised away messages which are sent when your employees are busy and unavailable to respond to new messages. In the case of WhatsApp groups, the away message is sent when someone mentions you. An automated greeting can also be sent to new customers.

whatsapp business away message

Source: Android Police

7. Analytics

WhatsApp Business account owners can analyse their interactions with their customers within the app. Some of the data that will be available to businesses include:

  • messages sent;
  • messages delivered;
  • messages read; and
  • messages received.

whatsapp business statistics

Source: Android Police

8. Labels

Businesses can segment their customers to better serve them. The label options available at the moment are:

  • Prospect
  • New Order
  • Pending Payment
  • Paid
  • Order Complete

There is also the option of creating your own labels.

whatsapp business labelswhatsapp business labelswhatsapp business labels

Source: WABetaInfo

9. Quick replies

"Quick Replies" are essentially canned responses or "Saved Replies" in Facebook Messenger lingo (we don't know why two sister platforms feel the need to use different terminology). You can create keyboard shortcuts to pull up standard responses to frequently asked questions.

 WhatsApp Business quick reply

Source: WhatsApp.com

 

10. Register a landline number

As a business, you are most likely to prefer registering your WhatsApp Business account with a landline number rather than a mobile number. WhatsApp Business enables you to do so and provides you with the option of receiving a call instead of an SMS to verify your number.

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List of Countries where WhatsApp Business is Available

Table 2: Which Countries is WhatsApp Business Live In

Country

Rumour / Official

Timing

More info

Indonesia

Official

Now

Full access

Italy

Official Now Full access

Mexico

Official Now Full access

U.K.

Official Now Full access

U.S.A

Official Now Full access

India

Official Now Full access

Netherlands

Official Now Full access

Zimbabwe

Official Now Full access

Uganda

Official Now Full access

Nigeria

Official Now Full access

Belgium

Official Now Full access

Germany

Official Now Full access

 

International Brands that are already using WhatsApp Business

KLM listening to its customers

KLM was one of the first big brands to go live with Facebook Messenger as a customer service channel and they are following suit with WhatsApp. They are good at figuring out what channels their customers use and how they want to engage with KLM services. In a recent blog post they revealed that over 80% of their customer service is taking place either on Messenger or WhatsApp.

KLM was the first airline and one of the first companies in the world to get a verified WhatsApp Business account. Some of the services provided via the app are check-in confirmations, boarding passes, booking confirmations and flight status updates.

Details of more companies using WhatsApp business will be added here as they are publicised.

How to get started

If your small-to-medium business is in one of the countries mentioned in Table 2 above, you can download the app and get started. The app is currently available for Android only. There is no word about when the iOS version will roll out.

If you are in a country the app is not available at this stage, you can fill out this form to apply to participate in their beta WhatsApp Business programme. It is unclear how likely you are to get a respond, but if nothing else you will be increasing the chances of your country being prioritised for the rollout of WhatsApp Business. 

If you're representing a large enterprise, you should fill out the form as WhatsApp is still testing their solution for enterprise customers.

Conclusion

We have seen how successful Facebook Messenger for business has been. It’s almost certain using WhatsApp Business for customer service will become the norm for both businesses and consumers. This post will be kept up to date with the latest news about WhatsApp Business so be sure to subscribe to our blog to receive notification when we update this post.

 

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About the Author: Tina Zafeiri
    

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