WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular instant messaging platforms, has announced a new application specifically tailored to facilitating communications between organisations and consumers.
WhatsApp Business will make it simpler for businesses and customers to communicate by:
- Allowing businesses to create custom profiles with specific company information eg contact information, a company website and a description of the business. Users will, at a glance, be able to see when local stores are open.
- Allowing businesses registered with the app to prepare answers to frequently asked questions and set ‘away’ messages when personnel are no longer available to facilitate responses
- Allowing businesses access to basic metrics on account activity, including the total number of messages received
- Allowing businesses to adopt the status of ‘confirmed account’ (once their account has been verified)
Personal users of WhatsApp who happen to be business owners can install both applications on the same phone and register each application to a different phone number.
It’s also possible to link a WhatsApp business account to a landline phone number and for businesses to send and receive messages via their desktop computer through WhatsApp web.
As per a standard WhatsApp account, users receiving messages from business will be able to block them at any time.
WhatsApp Business is only initially available in the USA, the UK, Indonesia, Italy and Mexico (India has also been added to initial group of countries), however WhatsApp has declared plans to roll it out further.
It also seems to be the week for announcing business messaging options, as Apple has announced it will release a beta version of what it terms ‘Business Chat’ with the rollout of iOS 11.3 in Spring.
‘Business Chat’ will enable users to communicate directly with businesses from within the Messages app and in the interim the feature will only be available to select businesses.
Apple has noted that the Message feature will make it easier to interact with a range of business for services that are important consumers eg scheduling appointments or speaking to sales representatives.
Importantly, the new feature won’t share contact information with the business being communicated and consumer can end the conversation anytime they choose.