WhatsApp Business API: Basics and Ultimate Guidelines

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The popularity of WhatsApp messages has grown steadily, especially in this current pandemic era. With more than 2 billion active users, this app is also a hit with online shops. WhatsApp can be just as important to your brand as any other messaging app.

That’s right: WhatsApp isn’t just for sending messages to your co-workers or sending media messages to your family who lives in another city. It can also be used for your business too.

It was not a wonder that Facebook decided to expand this product to balance its potential for business with WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API.

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Would you like to:

  • Engage your customer in your company’s daily activities?
  • Build a healthy relationship with your customer?
  • Boost your customer care services?
  • Answer more messages and customer queries with less time and prepare automated responses when you are not available?
  • Process orders, requests, and payments in real-time in one app?
  • Deliver an omnichannel messaging experience to boost your brand?

If the answer to all those questions is yes, then it is the right decision to use WhatsApp. Why? Because WhatsApp is a free, reliable, secure, and widely available messaging platform to use as your brand’s messaging platform.

what is whatsapp business api

What is WhatsApp Business API

We all know all about WhatsApp. Video calls, texting, sending media, etc. So who is this WhatsApp Business? Is it different or what? The answer is, it was still in the same realm as WhatsApp, developed by Facebook, but an enhanced extension of it that is built especially for businesses.

WhatsApp Business allows you to chat with your customers and take advantage of all WhatsApp’s popular features, such as sending text, images, links, PDFs, and GIFs. Meet your customers wherever they are and interact with them on a global scale.

WhatsApp Business can be used to improve customer experience and reduce the cost of using it. Currently, different companies are starting to look at WhatsApp Business as their marketing tool. WhatsApp Business can be used for businesses to get closer to customers.

With WhatsApp Business, businesses can reach customers faster in an efficient manner. WhatsApp itself can be used on Android, iPhone, Mac, Windows, and tablets so that many customers on different platforms can easily contact the company. Lots of customers tend to have high expectations that their conversations will be answered by customer service.

WhatsApp Business comes in two forms: the WhatsApp Business app used by more than 50 million monthly users, and the WhatsApp Business API. This application is suitable for small businesses and API solutions for medium and large businesses. How do you know which one is right for your business? WhatsApp Business allows only one device and one person to be used. Do you need a more hands-on-deck for your customer care? Then WhatsApp Business API is perfect for you.

So what’s the difference with the WhatsApp Business API? API stands for Application Programming Interface, which allows developers to integrate various applications simultaneously. In this way, it is possible to integrate WhatsApp Business API with other existing systems such as CRM and customer service. This version is different from the regular Whatsapp Business which cannot be integrated or modified with other advanced features flexibly.

The Whatsapp Business API helps businesses connect with potential clients, customers, and employees. The integration of Whatsapp with the CRM system will make it easier for management to deliver notifications and handle customer service, including simplifying customer interactions with the company, increasing responses to customer complaints, and being able to respond quickly to customers regarding other common questions.

Integrate Your WhatsApp Business API and Other Social Messenger in One Dashboard with OneTalk.

WhatsApp Business API Account Basics

Whatsapp Business API provides a secure and spam-free interaction with a business experience. Its features make it easy for you to interact with your customers. On the other hand, it is also easy for customers to reach businesses. This is the advantage of Whatsapp Business for customer service.

WhatsApp Business API aims to facilitate business communication with customers so that WhatsApp API can improve the quality of company services. Quality of service is one of the factors that can make consumers repeat purchases if they get a good buying experience.

So it takes good service to win the hearts of consumers. WhatsApp API is one of the right business solutions to increase repurchase intent so that you can increase the business of the company.

There are two types of messages allowed in the WhatsApp Business API: Session Message initiated by your customers and Template Messages initiated by you.

Messaging session begins when your customer sends a text message to your business and allows you to respond to the message within 24 hours. In those sessions, you can customize and/or automate your customer service. Once you close the Session Messaging window, you will be able to send Template Messages (pre-approved by WhatsApp) to reach customers who show an active opt-in.

If you want to communicate with your customers outside of a 24-hour customer service window, which means you want to start a conversation with notification to an active customer, you have to be aware that you may only send Template Messages. For all of these outgoing customer service messages, you need approval from your customer before you can send text messages on WhatsApp. Customers must first agree to receive WhatsApp messages with an active opt-in.

WhatsApp Business API Features

WhatsApp Business API Features

Your account appears as WhatsApp Business. 

When chatting with a customer, at the top of the customer’s chat you will receive a notification that the customer is chatting with a business account. With this notice, customers will trust the company more. Another advantage of WhatsApp Business is that businesses can enhance business profiles like profile pictures with company logo, full title, business category, business description, business days and hours, business email, and business website so that customers can know the business profile from the WhatsApp Business account and your WhatsApp account will look more professional.

Integration with customer service services such as CRM. 

If a company’s app or website wants to be able to automatically send WhatsApp messages by the system, such as OTP codes, receipt number notification messages, billing information, etc., it can be connected via WhatsApp Business API.

There is an analysis of customer interaction data. 

WhatsApp Business provides businesses with detailed information related to customer interactions, such as the number of messages sent, received, and also read. The more information you have, like this statistical data, is very useful for businesses to learn how to convey messages to customers. You can also look for more insight with Google analytics.

You can use the company’s phone number

The next feature that WhatsApp Business API can give is the advantage of using a corporate telephone number other than a cell number so that it makes the WhatsApp Business account of the company look more professional and credible. By using company telephone numbers and profiles more clearly, customers can have more confidence in the company’s WhatsApp account.

Auto message (auto-response). 

Companies must be able to serve customers sincerely at all times. One way to do that is to answer questions from customers who sometimes message you outside of business hours. With WhatsApp Business, businesses can make it easier to communicate with customers using the auto-reply feature. Companies can automatically create message templates beforehand and send a reply message when they are unable to reply to a customer’s message. Messages will be sent directly to consumers who send a message directly.

4 Great Use Cases of WhatsApp Business/WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp Business API can help you, business owners, with a few things. Here are 4 great use cases of WhatsApp Business API for your business.

Improve your customer service

With a WhatsApp Business account, you can make your social media customer service more efficient and personalized.

In addition to serving as a channel for direct messages, WhatsApp Business has several tools that you can use to improve communication with your customers:

Quick Reply

Save answers to frequently asked questions as template messaging and set shortcuts. This will give you the time you have spent writing answers to frequently asked questions. You can answer customer queries much faster and more effectively.

Labels

Use labels to organize and categorize users and messages. This will help you sort messages by urgency and identify returning customers. You can use pre-programmed labels or create new labels.

Away Messages and Welcome Messages

Set up these automated text messages so that your customers get an instant response. With this chat support system, you can respond to their incoming messages immediately even when you’re away. This is a great way to set an expected response time if a customer contacts you outside of your working hours. Make your customers feel valued, and build trust in you by greeting them faster. Several omnichannel messaging platforms provide this service. You can also combine this with quick or automated replies so your customers feel like they’re being heard.

Display your products in the catalog

You can think of the WhatsApp Business Catalog Tool as a mobile storefront. This allows your customers to browse your products and get more information without leaving the app and searching it at another browser. This tool is useful for highlighting new products, seasonal collections, or bestsellers.

Here are some interesting facts about the catalog:

  • You can upload a maximum of 500 products or services.
  • Each product or service may include the title, price, description, product code, and product link on your website.
  • Each product has a picture.
  • You can share a link for visitors to get more information from the catalog in a WhatsApp conversation.

Communicate with colleagues or employees

WhatsApp Business is not just for communicating with customers. As your business solution, it’s also a useful way to keep in touch with employees. Did you know that 79% of professionals use messaging apps like WhatsApp to communicate in the workplace?

One of the reasons is the group chat feature which allows you to send messages to up to 256 people at a time. It is possible to send PDFs and other documents via WhatsApp Business for files up to 100MB in size.

Connect with other professionals

WhatsApp is also beneficial to communicate with other people in your field. This app’s video calling tools can be used with other professional networking capacities, such as Zoom or Skype.

Moreover, you can sync WhatsApp Business with your desktop so that professional network calls can be made from your work computer instead of your phone.

whatsapp busines api uses

WhatsApp Business API: The Ultimate Guidelines

WhatsApp API does not allow you to send chats at any time and in any format you want. Companies must follow the rules designed before sending broadcasts or messages using the WhatsApp API to prevent spam.

For example, you can freely message people within 24 hours that is counted as session messaging and transaction notifications can be delivered after 24 hours in template messaging. In addition, template messages need WhatsApp approval in advance.

All these steps were made to follow the messaging rules, so you can maintain the order of phone number rating and quality.

Quality Rating

For a higher quality conversation, WhatsApp API provides insight for every contact phone number by their quality rating and status. You can find these quality insights through the Business Manager API.

These ratings show how WhatsApp views your business’ conversation quality and determine how free you are to interact with your contacts. Of course, businesses have to ensure that they only send high-quality message templates to prevent their business’ number from getting blocked, reported, or flagged by contacts.

Contacts have the option to choose the reason for blocking any number for various reasons, such as no longer needed, unregistered, spam, etc. Other important reasons beyond this list include how often businesses send notifications and the time to respond to the inquiries.

When blocked, your phone number’s quality rating will drop from high (green) to medium (yellow) or low (red). Thus, your phone number will be moved to a Flagged status when your number’s quality rating is low (red).

After upgrading to a medium or high rating within 7 days, your phone number’s status will return to Online. If your Quality Rating doesn’t improve within 7 days, WhatsApp will still return your status to Online but impose a lower message limit on your number.

Messaging Capacity and Limit

Message delivery limits are related to your phone number quality and status. This determines how many unique users are allowed to message with your account each day, including new and existing conversations.

However, the message delivery limit does not apply to the number of conversations to user-initiated messages within 24 hours. Only the number of users that will receive your notification messages or template messages will be limited.

In short, WhatsApp imposes three levels of messaging limits on businesses. Every business starts from Level 1, the first step after registering their phone number. According to WhatsApp documentation, the tier of business accounts are:

  • Start your first message – Tier 1: Allows your account to send messages to 1.000 unique contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.
  • After you get more active- Tier 2: Allows your account to send messages to 10.000 unique contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.
  • Finally, the maximum benefits – Tier 3: Allows your account to send messages to 100.000 unique contacts in 24 hours.

Companies will be able to upgrade their phone number to the next tier if the quality rating is not low. The total number of users who were notified should increase to double their current messaging limit within 7 days.

For example, if you had conversations with 2,000 users in 7 days, your WhatsApp phone number will be upgraded from Tier 1 to Tier 2. If your business sends up to the current daily limit every day, it will take at least 48 hours for the upgrade to occur.

To monitor the quality of your phone number, you can subscribe to receive notifications when there are:

  • Change the status of your phone number from Connected to Flag and vice versa.
  • Upgrade or downgrade to your WhatsApp Business account messaging level.

But, that’s not all! To improve the quality of messages and the overall customer service experience, WhatsApp recently introduced a new policy to include the human agent pathway in chats. This is beneficial to make more appealing interactions with your customers.

human touch in whatsapp messages

Human Touch in WhatsApp Messages

Unsurprisingly, customers don’t like chatting with bots especially if they have a problem that can only be resolved with the help of a human agent. In order to finally acknowledge this pain point, the well-known chatting app has finally mandated the “WhatsApp Human Escalation” path.

Starting November 2020, WhatsApp can reactively review bot experiences directly on the platform. During this review, WhatsApp will initiate a conversation with the bot and record these messages for quality monitoring. Don’t worry, they will clearly show the messages on the thread when they do.

Some acceptable escalation methods include human agent handoffs, phone numbers, emails, web support forms, and encouraging in-store visits. However, indirect channels such as social media, help center web pages, or links to applications do not meet this requirement.

Without a human escalation path, the quality rating of your phone number may become low (red) and the status of your phone number will be flagged. You will receive alerts via updates from your Business Manager and registered email.

If the problem remains unresolved within 7 days, WhatsApp API will limit your number of messages sent. Businesses that send fewer than 1,000 notifications per week won’t feel an immediate impact. But if you need to increase the sending limit of messages in the future, you have to solve this problem first.

When you can master WhatsApp Business API to its full potential, your Customer Engagement and CRM will escalate as well. As mentioned above, using WhatsApp Business API can elevate your customer service more than you know. Phone number’s rating and status are a few important factors for your customers.

Examples

How do we ensure that we are engaging with our customers when we are on a platform with more than 2 billion users? 

Just settle it up by adjusting the settings depending on your goals! Let’s take a look at some examples. In the retail industry, businesses talk to customers about returns and refunds and whether or not their product is available. Purchase confirmations and shipping updates are mandatory to be reported. If you are in the travel and hospitality industry, you need to send flight changes, upgrades, boarding passes, and hotel confirmations to your customers.

The same thing occurs in finance, reminding your customers when suspicious emails are being traded; Or help your customers pay and talk to them about lost credit cards. Helping your customers change subscriptions in telecommunications while having a private chat with them on WhatsApp is also possible. 

You do not need all of the examples above, and just want to organize your logistics? Feel free to talk with your customers, schedule delivery, and send notifications or receipts through the same channel. As diverse as it seems, this is a very versatile way to interact with your customers.

There are other ways for you to do this, but companies nowadays also use omnichannel messaging solutions to support their WhatsApp Business API.  Why? Because omnichannel can boost your sales and marketing, support your business and create personalized, engaging customer interactions made simple through one streamlined API without much application that you need to accept cookies. 

Using OneTalk to Boost Your WhatsApp Business Account

Using WhatsApp API with the help of an omnichannel messaging platform can be beneficial for your company’s CRM. OneTalk by TapTalk.io provides just the right services for your company to be a leading brand. With the right features provided by OneTalk, you could serve world-class customer services. It will be more than sending media and maximize the benefits of WhatsApp Business API.

If you use OneTalk, not only you can further enhance your customer service experience, your account will also get a Green Tick, an important aspect to prove your company’s account credibility and strengthen your brand’s presence.

The integration between OneTalk and WhatsApp API is easy with simple steps. OneTalk makes it possible to bring your WhatsApp API in one omnichannel messaging dashboard. No need to handle much hassle, let OneTalk manage your Green Tick badge. Extra benefits, you can reply to all the messages from any platform at the same time.

Bring the best business solution in your hand, all in one platform. If you are interested in our services, check more details to explore our features, pricing, or contact our agent here.