The leading messenger app development company, WhatsApp officially launched a separate WhatsApp Business app for small business today. The new app is made available today to download from Google Play in specific countries including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. It will also be rolled out around the world in coming weeks. The company says that this new app will make it easier for companies to connect with their customers, and will also make it easy for the existing 1.3 billion WhatsApp users to chat directly with their choice of businesses.
The company already announced in September last year about its plan to introduce WhatsApp tool that’s specific for small companies as well as an enterprise solution for large companies. While the company does have plans to charge larger businesses in the future, the app is currently free for small businesses.
WhatsApp Business comes with some key features that will enable businesses to officially represent themselves on WhatsApp service. Just like the Facebook Page, the app has a Business Profiles feature where customers can get useful information about the business such as email, website or business details in brief.
A business account can be set up using mobile number and also with landline number. The account holder will simply have to choose the “call me” option for verification in case of landline. Apart from the regular WhatsApp features, the new app includes smart messaging tools such as quick replies that can help businesses to respond quickly to common customer queries.
With automated greeting messages and away messages, businesses can manage faster response time, similar to the feature available on Facebook for businesses.
WhatsApp Business also comes with messaging statistics to review the performance of messages sent through simple metrics. The business accounts will be clearly listed different from the regular user WhatsApp accounts, which will help users know that they’re talking to a business. Besides, the app will also be accessible through desktop with WhatsApp Web, which will further help businesses to efficiently interact with customers/clients.
The company also mentioned in the announcement that some of the businesses will have Confirmed Accounts over time, once the phone number registered on the account matches with the business phone number. The Confirmed Accounts will probably get a green badge next to their name to consider as a verified account. The feature was already being tested by WhatsApp in their pilot program that ended recently.
While the new app is dedicated to businesses, people with their regular accounts can continue using the app as usual and don't need to download anything new. As a normal WhatsApp user, if you think that you’ll now be bombarded with torrents of promotional messages, it might be true to some extent. However, you will still have complete control over the messages you receive. You can easily block the business or report spam, if it’s annoying.
While the company hasn’t announced anything yet on when to bring large enterprises on-board today, it is likely that the enterprise solution will be based on the WhatsApp Business, but with more advanced features developed for airline companies, e-commerce stores and banks.