Review: What can you do with WhatsApp Business and how to use it as a chat on your website?
Of course, we all know WhatsApp. But did you know that there is also a business version? Meta - the company behind Facebook and WhatsApp - launched WhatsApp Business in late 2017. A gamechanger it said. But does it really work that well? Does it actually offer businesses added value? I sought it out for you.
Introduction: what is WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business is the business version of the widely known WhatsApp. Mainly interesting for smaller organizations. Companies or associations that want to be in contact with existing or potentially new customers in a very simple way.
WhatsApp Business API
For large or medium-sized companies, there is the WhatsApp Business API. In case you're not familiar with the term "API"? API stands for Application Programming Interface. A particular code that is shared between two software suits that allows simple relationships to be established. So in this case, WhatsApp offers developers the opportunity to start integrating WhatsApp Business into their existing software.
Later in this article, I will show you how to use WhatsApp as a chat tool on your website. This is an example of an integration based on WhatsApp Business API. Other example is WhatsApp combined with an ERP or CRM system. So as to keep customers informed about their orders, invoices, etc.
Update: end of 2021 WhatsApp announced it was working on a new API. This would enable much faster implementation of WhatsApp.
What can you do with WhatsApp Business?
You can install WhatsApp Business on your Android or Apple smartphone through the known Stores. What features WhatsApp Business offers, I describe in detail below:
1. Chatting with (potential) customers
Of course, chatting with contacts is the basic functionality of WhatsApp Business. Good to know is that you can label your chats. For example, chats that still need to be followed up on.
Just like WhatsApp, you can work with mailing lists in WhatsApp Business. A distribution list to send one message at a time to multiple contacts. Note that this feature only works for contacts who have your number stored in their cell phone.
2. Company Tools
In addition to the chat feature, the app has some specific "business tools. Found via the Home screen > Menu (3 dots at the top) > Company Tools. Below I describe the various features:
- Company Profile: general company information such as website, e-mail address, hours of operation, etc. All kinds of information that customers see when they click through on your company name.
- Catalog: when a full webshop would be overkill for your business, here you can create products (name, image, description and price) and add them to certain collections. Products that you can link to or that are visible to customers when they click through to your profile in WhatsApp.
- Greeting: an automatic welcome message for new customers.
- Absence notice: a kind of "out-of-office" that you can set flexibly. Useful when you don't want messages after a certain time, or when you take a week's vacation in the summer.
- Quick answers: quick replies are shortcut keys to send frequently sent messages or messages. For example, /welcome or /thank you.
- Tags: As mentioned above you can label your chats. Useful to keep an overview of your chats at all times.
3. WhatsApp button on your website
When customers want a quick answer to a question, being able to send a chat is ideal. Actually, adding a "WhatsApp button" on your website is not that difficult. In fact, it is nothing more than a link that you add - in various forms - to your website.
There are 4 possibilities:
- Add a link behind a text or icon:
This with following structure: https://wa.me/[gsm-nummer].
Where you replace [cell phone number] with your number with country code, but without a plus sign or 00 in front of it. So for example: https://wa.me/32491223344
- QR code generation via external tool:
Online you can find numerous "QR Generators" to generate a QR code from the above URL. Not only useful for your website, it can also be fun to add this to your business cards.
- Share link via app:
A function not yet described in 'Company Tools' is 'Short link'. Here you can generate a link in which you have the option to set a text of your choice as the default.Note: Here, too, you can generate a QR code, but - besides taking a screenshot - it is not as easy to save.
- You are using an external service:
For example, Wappy as explained in the following topic.
4. Using WhatsApp as a chat tool
There are also developers such as Wappy Who offer software to put a button on your website that allows visitors to send you a message via WhatsApp. A chat tool that you can add to your website for free (up to 25 chats per month).
- A visitor asks his question through the chat window
- The next step depends on your visitor's device:
- Computer: after sending the message, the visitor is redirected to the WhatsApp Web App, after which the initial query is sent.
- Smartphone: after sending the message, WhatsApp opens and your visitor can send the initial message to you.
Despite the fact that as a visitor it may seem like you are suddenly chatting with someone, it is - especially via computer - so not. There are some steps and windows between typing a question and actually being able to chat via WhatsApp. Not so ideal in my own opinion.
Despite attracting attention, I find the added value of Wappy versus a WhatsApp Button rather limited. It is also questionable whether a visitor - who does not know you yet and expects to ask a question via chat - is actually going to send you via WhatsApp.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
No doubt you still have some questions about using WhatsApp Business? Below I try to answer the most common questions:
1. Can I install WhatsApp Business on my Windows PC/Mac?
No, unfortunately to date there is no specific WhatsApp Business application available for Windows or Mac. Is your number the same for WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business? Then you can answer chats via the WhatsApp Web app or through the downloadable Mac or Windows app.
2. What is the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business features the same functionality as WhatsApp, but has additional "Business Tools" integrated into the app specifically for businesses.
3. Can I use WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business with the same cell phone number?
Yes, that is possible. Just keep in mind that there is no longer a distinction between you as a person and your business. Would you rather have this separated? Then you better consider a separate number. Do you have a smartphone with dual sim function? Then you can use one phone to use your private number for WhatsApp and your business number for WhatsApp Business.
4. What is the difference between a group and a mailing list in WhatsApp?
When you create a group, all members participate in a group conversation. When you use a mailing list, all members of this list receive your message as if it were a personal message.
5. Is Wappy Chat free?
Wappy is free to use up to 25 chats per month. Want more customization options or to link more users? Then you need to purchase a Wappy Premium subscription to consider.