Should you be using WhatsApp for business to better reach customers?

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In the United Kingdom, WhatsApp Messenger is the most downloaded app and has the most monthly active users out of all social platforms. We know how the app is great for sending messages, memes, videos and photos to your friends and family. But have you ever considered using it for your small business?

As our world becomes more digitalised, companies need to keep up with the technology or risk being left behind. Customers use methods that are easy, simple and provide quick-time results.

WhatsApp saw the opportunity for small businesses to better connect with their customers. And so, they created WhatsApp Business.

What’s the point of the WhatsApp Business app?

WhatsApp Business is an app designed to facilitate better communication between customers and small to medium sized businesses. It is free to download; available for Android and iPhone users. The app is similar to WhatsApp Messenger but with a few more nifty features to help you stay organised and spend less time on responding to clients.

One of these features is the business profile. Like other social media platforms, this acts as an overview of your business with all the key information. Here you can display your address, email address and website, to act as a directory pointing to where you want customers to go.

Another feature is quick replies. Quick replies allow you to save regular responses and re-use them as often as you like. This means you can quickly respond to common questions with minimal effort, saving you time to focus on other tasks or priorities.

Other features of the app include labels, to help organise your contacts or chats, and automated messages. These pre-populated messages are sent when you’re unable to respond so customers know when you’re likely to get back to them – sort of like an out of office message on your emails!

Examples of using WhatsApp for business

As you can see, there are some great features available on the WhatsApp Business app which aren’t offered on WhatsApp Messenger. It shows how the messenger giant is trying to win you over to using their app, but is it a good idea?

Why WhatsApp Business is a great idea

Small businesses often have limited time and resources. We get that here better than anyone. With features like the automated replies and quick responses, you’ll be able to save you and your employees a lot of time. Having these set up on the Business app means that customers can receive replies immediately, 24/7. If you’re unable to get back to them straight away, their expectations will be managed as the app will let them know when you’re likely to get back to them.

You may be thinking this all sounds great, but how do I effectively measure whether the app is working for me or not. WhatsApp Business offers simple tools to show statistics including how many messages were delivered and read. This will help you focus on what works and what doesn’t, enabling you to tailor future campaigns with methods you know bring results.

The downsides to WhatsApp Business

One big let-down of the WhatsApp Business app is that you can only have one account registered per device. If there is more than one of you in your company who need to access the account, this may be a problem. This setup means that only one person will be responsible for answering messages received through the app and so, (depending on how many people contact you through app) this could be quite an onerous task.

Another obvious no-no when using the app is its limited payment options. At the moment, clients can only send payments using UPI payments. It would be better if the app offered more payment options, such as credit/debit card, to ensure potential customers aren’t restricted. As well as this, the app does not allow for refunds to be processed, which could cost you time and money as the seller.

So, should you be using the app?

If you are a small business who is looking to provide better communication between you and your customers, the WhatsApp Business app might be for you. It offers flexibility so you can keep in touch at times that suit you. Whilst letting clients know when you are away using the autonomous replies. The quick replies features could potentially save you a lot of time by pre-populating answers to frequently asked questions.

However, if you’re looking to expand your small business to have more than one person managing the queries, you may be in for a bit of trouble. The app only allows one account to be registered per device, which may be a lot of maintenance if you receive lots of messages. The payment options may also hinder yours and your customers’ experience as no refunds are currently available and only UPI payments are offered.

When considering using the app, it ultimately comes down to each individual business. If you have the time and capacity, WhatsApp Business may be the perfect tool for you. Though with the above-mentioned niggling bits, you may find that you come into problems further down the line as you expand.

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Sources: Digital Information World, WhatsApp