WhatsApp is incontrovertibly one of the most popular mobile apps ever made. The entry of WhatsApp into mobile space was no less than a revolution as it totally wiped out the SMS culture from the face of earth. The second revolution it brought in was easy & embedded video calling, which enabled WhatsApp users to make video calls from the same application. This consolidated solution offered by WhatsApp also proved to be quite popular, and ripped a big share off the revenue charts of Skype and Google Hangouts. And now, with a new revolutionary app that provides business communication to entrepreneurs running businesses of any scale, with special focus on SMEs, WhatsApp has surfaced the third revolution, which it likes to call ‘WhatsApp Business’.
There is no doubt that this is a clear reply from Facebook to Google’s arsenal of digital marketing tools, which have long helped businesses around the world track their progress and grow in a streamlined manner. Facebook’s decision to take takeover WhatsApp in 2014 has shown Mr. Zuckerberg’s knack for making great business decisions, and this one truly paid off. How? Allow us to explain.
Facebook is a great tool to connect with the world. The way it has redefined meeting new people is just amazing. But then, is it that easy for a layman to operate Facebook? The stats say ‘not really’. Also, for a layman, Facebook may not be a very productive tool from a business point of view, as most of its productivity lies in the digital marketing side of the platform, which is too complex to understand for a commoner. So, in order to tap maximum number of people from across the globe, Facebook chose WhatsApp to be used as a business communication tool for the simple reason that WhatsApp is easy to operate and being used by people from all age groups, class, and profession. In simpler words, WhatsApp has always had that ‘generic’ reach among the masses, with a huge potential to be used in marketing spheres that largely rely on basic communication among its nodes, customers, and vendors. The result of a series of such realizations is the launch of WhatsApp Business, which is now available exclusively on Google Play Store.
WhatsApp Business is simply great, and its greatness is backed by the way it focuses on small businesses to help them save a lot of money on vague communication tools that don’t really do much. However, because WhatsApp Business aims to cater to SMEs largely, it is more of a basic tool. So let’s take a look on what team WhatsApp has done differently with their recent tool that people, especially entrepreneurs, have huge expectations with.
Interface & Experience
Now some of the users have complained, in the Play Store review section, of the same regular interface that is there on WhatsApp Messenger. But then they are missing a very important logic here; the point of keeping the interface just about the same is to retain the simplicity and what the world accepted WhatsApp for, back in 2009. Same goes for WhatsApp Business; everything from chat window to account settings has an easy flow, and a very comprehensive interface. In terms of look & feel, WhatsApp Business has included all the components from regular WhatsApp Messenger, and introduced a few more things like Business Profile, Automated Messages, Quick Replies and more. The app, all in all, has the same UX design.
Although one can hardly say if the app is different from its regular messenger version just by its outlook, WhatsApp Business has a number of features that can help businesses big time by establishing an always-ON communication system for their customers, some of the best ones among which are:
Business Profile is meant exactly what it literally means – a profile for your business that says everything about your business such as brand logo, title, business address, business category, business hours, email address, and website. To make it easier for customers to find your business address, WhatsApp Business comes with Google Maps integration for pinpoint precision. In the business category section, you can find almost all the important categories, and in case your isn’t there, just choose ‘Other’ from the list, and type it in. And because a business may have another website, and WhatsApp understands that, you can add another website in your business profile. However, adding a maximum of two websites is the limit here, which we expect WhatsApp to lift soon. In our opinion, Business Profile is the best free tools available in the market that lets you maintain a neat presence among your customers. Although the app is not meant to increase your reach, Facebook is already there to serve that purpose, which sort of completes a pre and post sales toolset.
When you are managing a small business, you find that there are many things that are repetitive, and take a chunk of your time that you could have used otherwise. Well, WhatsApp Business addresses at least one of those issues, by allowing you to save generic and commonly used replies that a business owner would make to their customers. So basically, with Quick Replies, you can create of list of saved replies and even assign shortcuts to them. Let us understand this with an example. Suppose you send a generic reply like “It was a pleasure serving you. Please come back again” every time you serve a customer. Sending the same reply again and again to different customers would be sheer waste of time if, let’s assume, you serve a large number of customers in a day. So instead of this you just create a quick reply for this sentence and create a shortcut, something like like ‘/s’ for the same, which you can find inside the same section.
Greeting your customers is a must, but don’t you think greeting a hundred customers in a day would be too hectic? Well, WhatsApp Business came up with a very simple, but uber-effective solution for this – an automated reply! Just set a greeting message that is sent automatically when a new customer pings you for the first time or after 14 days of no activity. Simple, right?
The concept of an away message is also pretty simple; let your customers know when you are not available for service. This feature has two types of utilities: send a message to your customers every time you are away, or schedule a message whenever your working hours are over for the day. An away message as well is customizable and can be scheduled to whatever time.
So these are some of the features in the WhatsApp Business that make it easy for a small business to interact with its customers in more of an automated way. Apart from these, the app has all the basic features of the original WhatsApp, such as WhatsApp Web, Status updates, End-to-End encryption, Regular Chats and much more. But the launch of WhatsApp has left us with two contrary questions: Will the small business space accept the elementary nature of WhatsApp Business in business communication just like the world accepted the simplicity in its messenger, or will the team have to make significant changes to augment the app with a very technical interface, which just might feel more native to niche.
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