WhatsApp for business the preferred customer engagement tool

One of the many benefits of WhatsApp for Business is that it utilizes the same end-to-end encrypted technology that its B2C platform uses.
31 January 2022

(Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

Social media applications like Facebook, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, and Instagram are, for business, amomg the most sought-after communication and marketing platforms now, worldwide. In fact, more and more organizations have ditched traditional advertising methods like print, TV, and radio and have moved towards commercials on these social media platforms.

For example, both Instagram and WhatsApp for Business have proven to be able to cater to a much more targeted audience, enabling companies to not only develop better marketing and advertising strategies, but also understand their audience profiles better.

While there continues to be concerns on how social media invades privacy in order to get valuable analytics for businesses, the reality is that social media is now the best tool for organizations globally. Looking at WhatsApp in particular, the chat messaging app has over 2 billion active users, as per Statista. It is the most used mobile messenger app in the world with more than 100 billion messages sent per day.

WhatsApp is also currently working an instant payment feature using Pax Dollars (USDP) on trial mode for some users in the US. This allows users to send and receive funds just as quickly and easily as they send photos on the messaging app, with no transaction fees to boot.

As the market leader in the social messaging space, the capability to market a product on such a platform makes it an incredibly powerful commerce tool as well. With the intention of being the sole app where customers can do their online shopping just as it is the default choice for a messenger app, Whatsapp for Business propositions a wealth of exposure and connectivity to businesses globally.

TechHQ caught up with Jiaqi Pan, the CEO and co-founder of Landbot, a chatbot builder that helps organizations with content for their WhatsApp business account, on how businesses are making the most of the social media application and its growing commercial features.

Why is WhatsApp becoming the most sought-after tool that businesses are using to engage with customers?

One of the reasons that WhatsApp for Business is such an attractive proposal is that it provides convenience to both customers and businesses alike. The informal interface that customers are familiar with gives the appearance that conversation is fluid and seamless. It does not require formalities as an email may, but instead facilitates more casual interaction. Conversation with businesses can be as smooth as chatting with family or friends. Whether it’s a quick message or a lengthy query, WhatsApp provides the capability to enhance brand relationships and the customer experience.

WhatsApp for Business has made a strong claim in the social commerce sector, integrating features such as ‘Catalogs’, ‘Carts’ and ‘Collections’ to offer more than just one way to market and engage in two-way conversations. The consistent development of the platform looks like it will be continued throughout 2022, with a recent announcement of an advanced search feature for business accounts to streamline searches more effectively. The platform is constantly developing its service to provide stakeholders with all of the necessary tools for effortless commerce in the social space.

Progressive companies are benefiting greatly in this digital economy, as businesses are consistently onboarding new technologies to make their own products and services more effective. The pandemic-induced digitalization of modern business processes has resulted in experts predicting that at least 70% of all customer interactions will take place via technologies like apps, chatbots, and mobile messaging in 2022. Platforms such as WhatsApp have prepared for this by consistently developing their technology with new features to create a functional and secure marketplace. With this in mind, we can understand how WhatsApp has all of the ingredients to take the social commerce industry by storm in 2022.

whatsapp for business

(Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

What makes WhatsApp stand out from other social media platforms? 

One of the many benefits of WhatsApp for Business is that it utilizes the same end-to-end encrypted technology that its B2C platform uses. This is hugely important as customers can use a trusted interface with minimal differences. Security and trust are of vital importance in this day and age, where cybercriminals are becoming increasingly technologically savvy.

WhatsApp for Business provides further valuable insights concerning the status of messages that have been sent. Businesses can be reassured by knowing that messages have not only been delivered to their customers, guaranteeing that their message has not been lost, but also that the message has been opened and read. This means that both customers and businesses can follow up with one another without being pushy.

WhatsApp for Business users further benefits from the monumental global presence. WhatsApp is the go-to communications app of choice in many Asian, African, and Latin-American countries. In India alone, Statista estimates that there are up to 487 million WhatsApp users. Employee benefits platform Plum saw an opportunity in this, to harness the immense reach potential of Whatsapp by integrating a bot to help manage claims. In doing so, they were able to cut claim filing time by 60%, improving the speed and efficiency of their claims processes.

Even in the United States, where social media competition is far fiercer, 78% of Americans access WhatsApp weekly. The interconnectivity that the internet has provided is limited so far as you are using the right platform to market your product or business on. Whatsapp for Business has proven that it is the number one competitor in this area.

How will chatbots be critical to omnichannel strategies for 2022?

Chatbot technology has made major strides over the past few years. Its purpose, to automate communicative tasks that are repetitive by nature, is clear and its use cases are plentiful.

As our reliance on digital solutions has grown, consumers have started to use new apps and protocols that better cater to their needs. This presents a problem to businesses, as they are required to deploy their services and monitor on multiple different channels to stay competitive with other companies. Having to be active across all possible commerce channels can be both a mundane and challenging task for customer service teams when their time could be spent more effectively on other areas of their business. The need to constantly switch between all possible channels means that customers may not receive timely answers to their queries, causing greater customer frustrations.

Chatbots provide a solution to this and will be critical in fixing the omnichannel problem. They act as a quick and reliable tool for customer interaction offering instant replies to customers. Real-time, standardized responses allow for seamless bi-directional conversation, without the need for a human on the business end.

The bi-directional customer experience is something that many businesses will look to deliver throughout 2022. 24/7, high-quality service is now essential in fulfilling a quality end-digital-product to customers. The conversational customer experience will become an essential tool in the next year and beyond.

Despite the implementation of AI, some chatbots are still not very user-friendly and can frustrate customers. How are businesses dealing with this?

The nuances of language have proposed varying hurdles for programmers to overcome with chatbots. Many companies have tried and tested chatbots to little avail, causing rushed releases when their bots have been defective, and leading them to a poor reputation.

Even AI-powered chatbots, which are technologically advanced tools, have remained inconsistent in their output. They have received negative feedback for being faulty and not understanding customer requirements, leading to increased customer frustrations. Further, the skill and time costs required of programmers to develop and maintain AI-powered chatbots typically make them an expensive tool for businesses. These are two major problems for businesses, who do not want to jeopardize the reputation of their business due to an expensive tool that was intended to help support business processes, not lose leads.

Nowadays, low or no-code chatbot builders make chatbot implementation simple and easy. You do not need to be an expert developer for your chatbot to function smoothly — only a platform that provides this service. Moreover, you no longer need a dedicated team to maintain the functionality of the chatbot. Low or no-code chatbot builders allow you to build your own chatbot to your exact specifications.