WhatsApp™ Business API was released just over a year ago but has ceased to be a service “for the few.” It is still difficult to get a precious green tick but other functions are stable and the official account of the world’s most popular messenger is becoming available for almost everyone.
Not Only Giants
In the early days of WhatsApp™ Business API, it was nearly impossible to get access to the service. The company tested API with the largest corporations such as BMW, Booking, Netflix, Uber, and KLM. But the solution has become more affordable for business over time. New providers make connection available not only for large companies, but also for medium business.
This product of WhatsApp™ Inc. is not an application and this is its main feature. It is a full-scale API integration which can be deployed by any company using company’s own equipment or a mediator’s server, and then integrated with company’s infrastructure (CRM, artificial intelligence modules, analytics systems, and chatbots).
Moreover, WhatsApp™ Business API is probably the most stable and understandable connection of the messenger. An impressive manual contains recommendations and restrictions — no more blocking for no reason. Business API is the only way to initiate communication with a user officially and without further sanctions.
Main Scopes of Application
- Customer Support. Create a helpdesk, automate operators’ work, and support your customers 24/7 wherever they are.
- Transactional Messaging, Invoicing, and Online Payments. API integration makes it possible to send transactional messages and invoices right from the messenger.
- Notifications. Set up automatic reminders on coming events, tasks, or delivery state for users.
- Quality Survey. Collect post-communication feedback and first-hand customer opinion on the service.
- Sales via Messaging. Let your team bring customers to a purchase in the usual channel with the help of convenient sales tools.
1. Customer writes first
After a user has written to you, a 24-hour window opens. During this period, you can communicate with the customer for free and in any format. Such messages are called sessional. Upon a full day after the last message, the window closes and your next message can be template only.
Highly Structured Message (HSM) templates are messages you can send to customers regardless of whether they have initiated the communication. They shall be obligatorily approved by WhatsApp™ Inc. and may contain variables, for example, the passenger’s name and flight number, service cost, or booking address. Templates are paid but a 24-hour window opens if a user responds.
3. Account verification
Verification is account confirmation and official status assignment by WhatsApp™ Inc. It results in the following:
- a customer sees the company’s name instead of a telephone number in the chat;
- there is a green tick near the account’s name.
WhatsApp™ Inc. grants verification at its own discretion exclusively. In most cases, nobody should expect to obtain it except for some large companies. But any business can apply for verification. All functions of WhatsApp™ Business API are available to unverified companies as well.
4. Instant message delivery
If you used WhatsApp™ via unofficial connection before Business API was released, you probably faced messaging delays. Business API eliminates the problem and messages are instantly delivered to both you, and your customers.
Rights entail obligations. WhatsApp™ Business API has many capabilities but you have to play by the rules. Here are the main restrictions.
1. Mass messaging cannot contain advertisement.
WhatsApp™ cares about its users, therefore does not like spam and blocks anybody sending such messages even if they pay. Message templates which you send to users shall be strictly informative:
- they cannot contain any marketing or advertisement materials;
- you cannot send discount coupons or other promotion materials.
2. Mass messaging cannot be aimed at selling.
Do not include questions like “When can I contact you?” in your templates. You can use WhatsApp™ Business API for sales but only within a 24-hour window when you communicate with a user in no particular form. Templates themselves shall not be aimed at selling or upselling.
3. Mass messaging cannot contain surveys.
WhatsApp™ prohibits surveys and statistical studies to be distributed among customers. You can propose a user to assess the operator work or the company in general after the conversation — but only within a 24-hour window.
4. You must be polite with customers.
It is unlikely that you want to pay for insult messaging but, nevertheless, WhatsApp™ monitors that users are not upset with anything. Templates cannot contain insults. Threats and extortion are strictly forbidden.
Is a WhatsApp™ Business API Account Available for Everyone?
Not exactly. There are some products which cannot be sold via WhatsApp™, for example:
- prescription drugs, health-related products, and some biologically active additives;
- tobacco products and alcohol;
- animals (but products for animals and veterinary services are not prohibited);
- adult products and services;
- real money gambling;
- dating services;
- any subscriptions;
- real or virtual currency.
The full list is available on the WhatsApp™ website. If your company sells any of the products and services on the list, you probably have to find another promotion channel.
Why Is It Reasonable to Connect WhatsApp™ Business API via Chat2Desk?
Unlike the WhatsApp™ messenger and WhatsApp™ Business App developed for small companies, WhatsApp™ Business API does not have its own application. Basically, it is a client deployed right on company’s servers.
On the one hand, it is this feature of WhatsApp™ Business API which allows for messenger integration with a CRM system, analytics, and other useful software. On the other hand, in order to connect the software and the messenger, developers have to work tediously. They will have to set up the connection, adjust it in accordance with API updates, and maintain integration operation.
Chat2Desk will do it for you. You will obtain a stable connection, you will not have to worry about its installation or maintenance, and you will still be able to use all functions of WhatsApp™ Business API including integration with your internal programs. It will allow you to forget about technical issues and to focus on high-quality service and communication with your customers.
What Does the Cost of WhatsApp™ Business API Connection Consist of?
- A monthly fee for the WhatsApp™ channel in the Chat2Desk chat center.
- A monthly payment to the WhatsApp™ business account provider in the amount of $120/mo.
- A monthly fee for every additional WhatsApp Business API number in the amount of $80/mo.
- HSM templates are paid for separately. One costs $0.048 and you only pay for messages actually delivered. Templates are pre-paid. The minimum quantity is 1,000 pcs. They are not chargeable in a monthly basis so you can buy more as you are spending.
- They are installed and connected for free.
- The quantity of messages (except for HSM templates) and customers is not chargeable.
The final cost is calculated individually and depends on the quantity of numbers and HSM templates.
Find out your connection cost on the official web page of Chat2Desk and WhatsApp™ Business API integration.