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9-Step WhatsApp Business Guide for Enterprise

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|  9 min
9-Step Whatsapp Business Guide for Enterprise
In this article

Why WhatsApp is a Good Fit for Business

Each day, over two billion people worldwide use the WhatsApp messaging platform to send over 75 billion messages. Although the majority of WhatsApp users are in the younger age brackets, globally some 27% of 35 to 44-year-olds are on the app.

Due to the prevalence and popularity of this platform, enterprise users can potentially benefit greatly from adopting its commercial variant, WhatsApp Business.

Among the good reasons for doing so are creating brand awareness, extending the reach of your brand, improving customer support, and enabling consumers to discover the products and resources you have to offer, through a communications medium that they trust, and habitually use.

What follows is a nine-step action plan that will empower your particular enterprise to get the most out of WhatsApp Business – within the context of a larger holistic business communication strategy that encompasses all the channels that consumers and stakeholders use to interact with your brand. 

This might for example involve supplementing the functionality of WhatsApp with other communications media such as bulk SMS or SMS API (Application Programming Interface) technology. Your enterprise might also expand its geographical presence on the platform through the use of virtual phone numbers.

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1. WhatsApp Business App or API or Omnichannel?

Though often collectively known as WhatsApp Business, the messaging platform’s offering for commercial users actually comes as three deployment options.

WhatsApp Business is a free to download app designed to help smaller scale enterprises communicate more effectively with their customers. In addition to all the features of the standard consumer WhatsApp messenger, the WhatsApp Business app includes tools like quick replies and labeling to help small businesses automate, sort, and quickly respond to customer messages. 

The WhatsApp Business app is ideally geared toward “micro” businesses employing one to six people. It has no support for multiple users, so in effect only one person in the company will be able to respond to customer queries using the registered number for the business. This limits the app to low query volumes, and/or organizations that designate a single agent for customer support.

In addition, WhatsApp business app users can only broadcast a message to 256 contacts – each of which you must manually add to your phone. The ideal customer profile for the app includes mobile or business-to-consumer (B2C) customers who need immediate assistance while making a purchase. Unlike session-based live chat, the WhatsApp Business app lets customers respond to conversations in real-time or at their own convenience, without losing conversation history.

The WhatsApp Business Platform provides a step up for businesses that need to handle more support requests than the WhatsApp for Business app can accommodate. It makes it possible to integrate the WhatsApp API (Application Programming Interface) into your existing tech stack for more complex business needs. 

In this way, the WhatsApp Business Platform extends WhatsApp Business app functionality to more than one device. This makes it ideal for micro businesses that wish to scale up to a new level.

The WhatsApp Business API is designed for enterprise organizations, big commercial concerns, and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) at the larger end of the scale – all with support teams that need to field a higher volume of customer requests. This includes SMBs with 11-250 employees, medium-size businesses (250-5000 employees), and enterprises (5000 employees or more).

The interface allows businesses to integrate WhatsApp business with their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, automate processes and messages through their existing tech stack, and assign repetitive tasks to algorithms and bots. The WhatsApp Business API also gives organizations access to unlimited broadcast messages, and the ability to use contacts from their own databases, rather than having to rely on phone contacts alone.

Note that you must typically purchase the WhatsApp Business API through a third-party vendor or partner. These partners will usually charge a fee per message sent.

You can also extend the functionality of the WhatsApp Business platform using other API technologies. For example, with the IDT Express SMS API, you can easily schedule SMS, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), or WhatsApp messages to be sent at a specific date and time in the future with a simple API call. You can swiftly integrate IDT’s  carrier-grade platform into your current systems or applications – and use features like IDT’s reliable and scalable Notifications API to create highly personalized SMS notifications that cater to any use case with unmatched flexibility.

2. Optimize Your Business Profile

An informative and engaging business profile is your opportunity to help customers learn more about your company. Your profile should therefore include important data like your business name, phone number, website address, business description, and working hours.

With the WhatsApp Business API and a Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) enabler like IDT, you can use your existing hotline number to handle WhatsApp inquiries. The WhatsApp Business API supports mobile, landline, and toll-free phone numbers.

In addition, with a virtual phone number from a credible provider, you can sign up for WhatsApp Business and choose to receive a call instead of a message for number verification. Using a virtual phone number you will have two access points to WhatsApp, available to both you and your customers.

3. Create a Detailed Catalog of Your Offerings

Particularly for eCommerce organizations, having a catalog makes it easier for consumers to discover and access your products and services, learn about the latest offers, ask questions, and more.

Within WhatsApp Business you can easily choose from multiple content types to share with your customer. These tools enable you to create and add descriptive content about your products, divide them into different categories, and provide a detailed description for each one.

For more omnichannel promotion, you can market the offerings in your portfolio using bulk SMS. The IDT Express Bulk SMS platform for example provides multichannel SMS campaign capabilities. With IDT Express, you can go beyond plain text and enrich your SMS messages with multimedia content. Our platform supports multimedia messaging via WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger.

4. Create a Welcome Message for Your Brand

You can consider a welcome message as the first point of contact that consumers will have with your brand. It’s therefore important to craft a welcome that creates a good impression, provides a clear picture and information about who you are and what you do, and invites the customer in for further interaction.

During the Discovery phase of the buyer’s journey, customers will expect to find clear, concise, and relevant information about your brand across all channels. For example, using WhatsApp Business communication tools, you can integrate the platform into your Interactive Voice Response tree to deflect customer calls to WhatsApp, rather than your contact center. 

To enable customers to drive the conversation with your brand, you can add non-intrusive WhatsApp conversation starter buttons to your website for key content, which lets customers get product information at their own pace.

Using virtual phone numbers, you can extend your brand’s network to a global scale, engaging potential customers in emerging, popular, and niche markets. With the IDT Express SMS API for example, you can send messages to over 70 countries globally using our local DID numbers. You can also receive messages in 14 different countries on your SMS-enabled phone numbers.

5. Develop Automated Communications and Responses

Of the two billion people that regularly use WhatsApp, some 68% say that WhatsApp is the easiest way to connect to a business.

Using WhatsApp Business automated messages and replies, you can manage customer queries, update consumers about your latest offers, update them on their order status, and keep a real-time conversation going.

You can create different message templates, depending on your business needs. For example, you could use simple, text-only notifications for account status reports or delivery reminders. Rich media notifications can give more life and interest to communications like e-receipts, and instructional videos. Interactive notifications with buttons enable customers to perform actions such as visiting your website, contacting your support team, or scheduling appointments.

By integrating your WhatsApp platform with the IDT Express SMS API, you can capture global interest using impactful bulk SMS messages powered by a carrier-grade platform and an extensive network of 550+ direct carrier connections. You can use smart routing to ensure that your messages follow the quickest and most efficient path and ensure timely delivery to your customers. 

6. Use Broadcasts and Groups to Your Advantage

WhatsApp Business Broadcasts enable you to send a single message to 256 contacts, without those users knowing the other recipients. The Groups function enables you to segment your consumers into relevant interest groups, for more targeted communications. As a group administrator, you can add events, remove members from the group, or add new ones.

Note that in terms of privacy, WhatsApp Broadcasts provide greater protection for individual consumers. More broadly however, WhatsApp Business implements end-to-end encryption for its conversations. This means that the only people who can view an exchange are the customer and the business. In addition, all messages and media are automatically deleted after a set period of time.

To receive WhatsApp Business messaging and broadcasts, customers are also required to actively opt in. This means that the opt-in must be triggered by a user action, such as entering a phone number or checking a box to indicate their consent.

Through integration with the IDT Express SMS API, you can also seamlessly handle SMS opt-out requests from customers, and automatically register them in your system to maintain compliance and provide exceptional customer service.

7. Exploit Your WhatsApp Status

Regularly updating your WhatsApp status will give your brand the opportunity to showcase new products or services, using text, design elements, and illustrations. You can even create a 30-second WhatsApp Story video. 

Be sure to provide an interactive element to allow potential customers to message you directly, or make inquiries.

In addition, with the user-friendly interface and intuitive features of the IDT Express Bulk SMS platform, you can quickly compose and send messages to individuals or groups, updating your brand’s status. You can easily tailor your messages to create a personalized experience for each recipient, and engage your audience on a deeper level.

8. Provide Customer Incentives

Giveaways and free contests are great avenues to promote customer engagement, and attract more potential buyers to your store. Discount coupons, quizzes with prizes, and awards for best story or picture submissions are just some of the examples you can pursue here.

Taking a more omnichannel approach, you can use the IDT Express Bulk SMS platform to schedule special messages to your consumers – whether it’s a time-sensitive promotion or a reminder for an upcoming event. With two-way messaging, you can engage in interactive conversations with your audience and allow recipients to respond to your SMS messages, enabling a seamless communication loop.

9. Enhance Your Customer Support

As a customer service channel, WhatsApp Business is on track to become the go-to messaging channel for customer care, with use of WhatsApp Business APIs predicted to increase 5,400% by 2024. According to a recent report, 31% of the app’s users fall into the 18-34 age bracket. This suggests that these types of messaging channels will continue to grow as preferred methods of communication as the technology evolves.

Using the WhatsApp Customer Care window option, you can easily create a 24-hour support window. When a customer replies to one of your messages, the support window opens – and during that time you can freely communicate with that customer without having to use WhatsApp-approved message templates.

If an escalation path leads to a customer care agent during the 24-hour window, WhatsApp Business enables you to use automation. These escalation paths might include for example a phone number, email, SMS text message, web support or a support form.

In cases where you need more than 24 hours to process an inquiry or answer a question, you might need to send a message template to the customer, prompting them to answer the message, and activate the “support window” again.

Through the strategic use of virtual phone numbers, you can extend your sales, marketing, and customer service presence as needed, to ensure that consumers the world over can reach you at any time.

Extend Functionality with Relevant APIs

Using APIs, you can extend the functionality of your WhatsApp Business platform. For example, with the IDT Express SMS API, you can seamlessly build customer journeys by fostering interactive conversations, all within the framework of your app. The IDT Express SMS API has a user-friendly wizard-driven code generation process that is fast and effortless to utilize. In just minutes, you can enhance your sales and foster customer loyalty by leveraging impactful SMS advertising targeted at your customer base. Quickly send SMS polls, surveys and request customer feedback with two-way messaging, and create highly personalized SMS notifications that cater to any use case with unmatched flexibility.

IDT’s bulk SMS messaging platform provides coverage in 99.95% of the world’s nations, ensuring that you can extend the reach of your base WhatsApp infrastructure through the deployment of virtual phone numbers.

To learn more about how the IDT Express SMS API can enhance your WhatsApp marketing efforts, book a demo

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