WhatsApp Launches App for Small Businesses
By: Sophie Maerowitz
January 19, 2018
Small businesses have a new social customer care tool.
Messaging giant WhatsApp has launched a new app just for small businesses. Using the app, small-business owners can provide contact details to customers, use chatbot features including greetings, replies and away messages and view metrics around customer responses.
“WhatsApp Business enables you to have a business presence on WhatsApp, communicate more efficiently with your customers, and help you grow your business,” the company said in a statement to The Independent. “With the app, businesses can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages.”
This is good news for businesses that currently take and fulfill orders manually or those that respond to customer questions and concerns via email or phone.
And for business owners who prefer a desktop workflow to a mobile one, the app is available on desktop as well. There’s just one caveat—the rollout is only available on Android so far. WhatsApp has not yet provided a plan or launch date for iOS.
The app also provides a level of verification for businesses, much like the “verified” status that currently exists on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This verification appears as a green checkmark on business accounts. WhatsApp verifies brands that have a correct phone number listed on their account with a grey checkmark, but to receive a top-tier green checkmark, businesses must be verified as an “authentic brand” by WhatsApp. It’s unclear how this distinction will be made.
To prevent spam and protect consumers, businesses will only be able to message users who provided their phone number and opted into receiving messages from a given account.
WhatsApp will be growing the service in coming months to serve larger businesses like airlines, banks and e-commerce platforms.
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