Whatsapp business: are you using it already? Great. Are you not? …Why, oh why.
WhatsApp business counts now on 50 million active users, and though it may sound like a lot, the service is – unexpectedly – not *that* extremely popular amongst professionals. This been said, chances are not so many of your competitors are using it, so if you’re looking for a way to make your customer experience stand out, WhatsApp Business sounds like a pretty good place to start.
Before diving deeper into WhatsApp Business and the reasons why you should be using it already, let’s take a step back and glance at the rise of its older brother, WhatsApp.
In a nutshell: WA is a messaging service founded in 2009 as a user friendly, easy to use, extremely cheaper alternative to traditional messaging. Eleven years, 1.6 billion users later, WhatsApp is the most used messaging app worldwide.
- Founded in March 2009
- Bought for $19 million by Facebook in February 2014
- The European Commission charges Facebook with a 110 million fine for privacy matters in May 2017
- Brian Acton leaves the company in September 2017
- WhatsApp Business is launched in January 2018
- Jan Koum leaves Whatsapp in April 2018
“No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!”
Both founders deeply disliked the idea of paid advertising. This was the company’s motto, taped on Koum’s desk by Acton as a daily reminder.
1. Did we say privacy matters? Here’s what happened
Together with the total lack of ads, privacy had always been a central topic for Acton and Koum. They had always been well aware of the responsibility that comes with handling users’ personal data and private conversations, and their vision was all about an ad-free, encrypted, and most of all safe, messaging app.
With “No ads”, they really meant it. They believed that a phone is, by nature, something way too personal to be exploited as a platform for advertising.
Not only did they refuse to include ads within the product, they didn’t even use a paid advertising strategy to initially push it on the market.
“WhatsApp does not collect personal information like your name, gender, address, or age. Registration is authenticated using a phone number, a significant innovation that eliminates the frustration of remembering a username and password. Once delivered, messages are deleted from WhatsApp’s servers.”
1.1 It all started with Facebook acquisition
Selling WhatsApp to Facebook was not all scandals and lawyers. It did come with a silver lining, with WhatsApp gaining something like 25 million users per month.
The number of users, though, is not the only thing that changed in 2014, and, as you probably already know, the story of this acquisition is far from being all fun and games.
You probably opened WhatsApp and noticed “From Facebook” being added at the bottom of the screen, but one thing you might not be aware of, is how the lack of ads and the use of our personal data risked to drastically change. On one side, Brian Acton and Jan Koum. These guys were all about privacy, explicitly against advertising. On the other side, Mark Zuckerberg, who has -mostly- shown a completely opposite attitude towards advertising, with Facebook’s history of questionable use of personal data.
How come no one saw problems coming was, and is, my personal favourite unsolved mystery.
Anyway, it didn’t take long before things took what we cannot really call an unexpected turn. Rumours of Facebook’s plan to monetize WhatsApp and introduce ads started spreading, causing complaints that eventually led the social network backing off. The ad plan never saw the light, the project was put aside and the team dismissed.
1.2 It is time. #deletefacebook.
You might have heard about this tweet from Acton gone viral in March 2018, but what on earth happened?
Facebook was fined 110 millions from the European Commission. The accuse? “Falsely claiming it was technically impossible to automatically combine user information from Facebook and WhatsApp” during 2014’s acquisition, only to then not only share WhatsApp information, but use it for Facebook advertisement. Facebook paid the fine and acknowledged the incident as unintentional.
Few months after the scandal, Acton left the company, with Koum following in April.
2. WhatsApp Business
It’s March 2019, 10 years after the launch of WhatsApp: WhatsApp Business is finally available worldwide, and accessible from every system.
First things first, WhatsApp Business is not a subgroup of the standard version. It is a separate, independent app, with its own logo, whose purpose is connecting businesses and customers. It is free and is thought for small-medium enterprises’ owners.
With WhatsApp Business you can:
- Have a business profile
- Fill in such profile with all your information
- Interact with customers: from sending updates to Q/A
- Set automated messages, quick answers, and greetings
- Get a verified business account badge
- For medium-big enterprises, WhatsApp business can help provide clients assistance and send them notifications
“WhatsApp Business enables you to have a business presence on WhatsApp, communicate more efficiently with your customers, and help you grow your business.”
3. 20 reasons to use WhatsApp Business in 2020
As stated by WhatsApp, and we couldn’t have said it better, the number one reason to use WhatsApp for your business is that all your clients are using it already. Easy as that. At number two and three we can most definitely find higher engagement and opening rates.
- Higher open rate: while a good email open rate is around 20% in 2020, the open rate of Whatsapp is 99%
- Professionalism: using WhatsApp business instead of your private one gives your clients a better idea of a serious business. Furthermore, you can have your business account verified (green checkmark)
- It improves the response time, allowing you to manage all the communication with your clients in a faster, more efficient way
- Be able to communicate promotions, discounts or promote a new product
- Create a catalog to showcase your products and services (each month they are viewed by more than 40 million people)
- Increase visibility
- 300M daily active users worldwide, they could become your customers
- More accessible than, let’s say, emails
- It drives conversions
- It gives you the possibility to send automated messages
- You can use broadcast lists to best segment your clients
- If you have international clients, there is no fee for international communication
- You can categorise sales by using labels (new client, new order, paid, pending payment..)
- See messaging statistics and metrics
- You can easily integrate it with CRM systems like HubSpot and Salesforce
- It gives you reliable delivery information
- Coming soon: WhatsApp Payment, the beta version was released in India in 2018, earlier this year in Brazil. Payment features will soon be available in Europe.
- Customers can start a chat with you using QR codes
- They did address those privacy concerns: WhatsApp Business uses end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication
2.1 Number 20
If any of you out there is still struggling to see WhatsApp rising potential, no worries, we came prepared. Buckle up for reason number 20. WhatsApp Business has the ability to change your customers’ behaviour. How? Customer service and support.
“Almost 70% of the identifiable reasons why customers left typical companies had nothing to do with the product. The prevailing reason for switching was poor quality service”
(Donovan P., Samler T., Delighting Customers: How to build a customer-driven organization, 1994, Chapman&Hall)
On WhatsApp, customers can benefit from 24-hour customer service. During this period of time, WhatsApp allows you to respond to your customers’ questions and problems with no added costs. A real boost to customer service in terms of quickness and quality of support. The messages sent within this 24 hours “customer care window”, are the so-called session messages. They are routine answers to customers’ questions, while HSMs, or Highly Structured Messages, are the “template messages”. The most common texts WhatsApp Business lets you save (from welcome messages to payment confirmations), to use them as automatically sent, quick replies, that will save you lots of time.
4. Follow the example
Ever thought of how many times you saw the “Send on WhatsApp” button? Here’s a refresh of how introducing WhatsApp is benefitting these famous companies, to keep you inspired along the way:
- Booking.com is sending booking confirmations
- KLM uses it to share flight information and send passengers notifications
- World Health Organization: WHO used WhatsApp business API to send health alerts and information during the pandemic
- Uber relies on it to give drivers a “fast, familiar, and reliable way to connect with a member of the team and ask inquiries”
- Yoox used the platform to offer a temporary personal shopper service
- BMW states their will is “to keep customers updated on the service status of their vehicles, improve the quality of the service and get faster at answering customers”