WhatsApp Business API Guide & How to Get Started?

In this guide, you will find detailed information about WhatsApp Business API such as its definition, functions, product characteristics and benefits.

Let’s start with some quick but MASSIVE statistics from Whatsapp. WhatsApp has 1.5 billion daily active status users worldwide.

So it sounds reasonable to start using Whatsapp for business to reach customers. Look at it this way! It’s not something totally new for them. Since it’s hard for people to give up their habits, using an app that they are already familiar with will be useful for companies to make the digital leap and increase conversions.

Let’s start by mentioning exactly what you can do with WhatsApp Business!

  • Create a business profile
  • Provide your business information
  • Connect with your customers

Ok so, there is one thing that you should definitely know as a business owner or a service provider.

CUSTOMERS ARE FRUSTRATED!

Frustration of can't finding a business information.

It is terrible when customers can’t access your business info, no matter what.

Make them happy, by providing something really simple. Reach them as you do in your everyday life but this time do it through Whatsapp.

Whatsapp text message on mobile screen.

Haven’t heard of these words before?

Whatsapp now allows your business to message customers over Whatsapp by using their enterprise software.

So why not start using it right away?!

You can speak to over 1.5 billion people across the world who use WhatsApp to communicate with their friends and family every month.

Let’s talk about how to use this B2C communication platform for ideal customer service solutions!

First, you should understand the basics.

What Brings WhatsApp Business to Business Life?

WhatsApp Business API is a reliable, secure and fast way for businesses to communicate your customers all around the world.

To get started with the WhatsApp Business API;

1. Verify your business via Facebook Business Manager.

2. Create your WhatsApp business account with Facebook Business Manager.

3. Your business will be reviewed to determine its comliance with the WhatsApp Terms of Service and WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

It is an automatic step but you can check your business verification status; Settings tab in Business manager > WhatsApp business account.

4. After verification is successful, add a phone number and your business's display name.

5. Access your base64-encoded certificate which will be required while registering as a WhatsApp Business API client.

6. Set up a line of credit for billing process.

Interacting with Customers

WhatsApp Business API let's you interact with your customers

Interacting with customers in a private and secure environment is something every business owner has always wanted.

However, what I really like about it is that Whatsapp limits the actions to protect users' experience. That means users' experience can’t be interrupted by various ads & promotions.

So, as a marketer, I can still leverage Whatsapp Business API to build a transactional relationship with my customers and as a customer, I can still take advantage of this relationship because this is what I want!

Remember, businesses are only able to send messages if they take permission from their customers. So basically, businesses need opt-ins to build this relationship.

Engaging Globally

Engage globally with whatsapp business api

Reaching a global audience is now easier to achieve thanks to Whatsapp Business API. It allows you to reach out to clients from every time zone, throughout the day, even outside of your open hours.

I think SnapTravel summarizes the best of this scenario:

“Expanding our service onto the WhatsApp platform allows us to continue our global expansion and give customers the freedom they deserve to reach us using the messaging app they want to use.”

With Whatsapp Business API, you’re not only expanding your global reach but also improving your understanding of your target audience. I’ve mentioned the importance of segmentation nearly in all of my blog posts.

Understanding the basics of a customer base is of great value.

Whatsapp lets you see where your users come from and which platforms they use.

Creating a Fully-Branded Business Identity

Creating a brand voice with WhatsApp Business Api

Considering that WhatsApp Business API enables one to communicate one-on-one with customers, there is a great chance for companies to create a unique business identity.

I’ve mentioned the importance of creating a brand voice, and you can make it possible with the help of WhatsApp Business API.

You can reflect your brand's personality by communicating directly with your consumers. Also, providing specific information such as an email address, contact number, social media link, location-specific info or a URL will be helpful to build a brand voice.

Also, it’s helpful to prove that you’re a reliable source. Personally, I prefer to purchase an item through a verified business account instead of a “wild-cat online store”. 🙂

Don’t forget to surprise customers with your unique multimedia communication choices such as videos, photos, slide shares or anything else.

WhatsApp Business API text example

Whatever you do, never become boring. Leave the ordinary text-based messages to the normal folk and explore new ways to attract your customers.

So, the main point is: when people complete a call-to-action and are satisfied, their trust will increase and eventually they will become loyal customers. Believe me, people like to see a familiar face and a familiar tone of voice.

So, why not be creative and build a fully-branded business identity?

Whatever you do, focus on enhancing the customer experience and benefitting from the results!

What Brings WhatsApp Business API to Customers' Life?

WhatsApp Business ai answers customer expectation

Put yourself in your customers' shoes and imagine. How could WhatsApp Business API improve your experience?

Or don’t sweat it and let me tell you exactly how you can do that!

We are all someone’s customer, right? Let’s imagine what we expect from the purchase process.

Being Notified

Being notified is the #1 priority in the purchase process. As a customer, I would like to get relevant, timely and personalized notifications if possible.

Mobiles are everywhere! A lot of people engage in the most important events through their mobiles, with a few taps in a few seconds.

In this case, providing mobile communication is instant and easy.

It doesn't matter if your customer went out jogging or is baking in the kitchen, you can notify them that their ordered package is on its way.

Put yourself in their position! You would probably not check your emails while jogging, but you will check your WhatsApp messages in a heartbeat. That’s why people prefer it.

Whatsapp customer support

As a business organization, you should know that Whatsapp Business API enables you to automate commercial communications such as:

- Order status;

  • state of an order
  • confirmations
  • pricing etc.

- Shipment Information;

  • Estimated time of arrival alters
  • Delivery Process
  • Destination Notifications

- Staff communications

  • Shift Scheduling
  • Dispatch Notifications

- Travel notifications

  • Booking a travel
  • Boarding info
  • Flight info

Getting a Secure Experience

Whatsapp is trusted by millions of people thanks to its secure dynamics. The very basic step is verification. As a random user, you can’t actually use Whatsapp without authentication.

I guess you’ve heard of the “encryption” term before. Well, Whatsapp provides a %100 secured experience thanks to the complete end-to-end encryption. That means, the involved 3rd parties can see their chat messages and nobody else can.

Whatsapp protects your data which includes chats, documents, status updates, photos, videos, voice messages, and calls via its end-to-end encryption.

Actually, it’s a win-win framework. Let me explain how:

As a business owner, you can trust WhatsApp’s built-in user verification process and that’s how you can reach real users who are interested in your services.

As a customer, you will know that you’re interacting with an officially approved business and all of your rights are protected by WhatsApp’s secure environment which includes:

  • Verification codes for new users
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Getting Answers

Probably the most irritating part of a customer's journey is not getting answers. There are a lot of companies out there keeping their clients in the dark.

I’ve experienced this scenario many times, and it really decreases the credibility of any company.

So, for businesses, there is no excuse anymore!

Whatsapp Business API provides an instant way to answer questions and solve issues.

Build a proper customer relation with WhatsApp Business API

In this case, business owners should implement some tactics to provide the best communication experience.

Back-and-forth messaging is a simple and valuable way to improve engagement. So, customer questions should be answered, clarified and resolved for good results.

Of course, some companies prefer to send automated notifications other than have live conversations. It’s all up to you, your brand and target audience. I totally agree with the benefits of sending automatic messages that show that employees are handling other calls or unavailable to reply.

WhatsApp Business API make the automation

Also, virtual agents which are bots that use artificial intelligence and data analytics are able to reply to incoming messages based on the contexts and keywords.

With the help of these virtual agents you can increase the number of customers you can engage with at once. I think it’s a great way to improve customer support!

Technical Steps You Should Follow to Get Started

So far, we have understood what is WhatsApp business API, its benefits and so on. Now, it’s time to talk about the technical necessities to start using this service ASAP!

The very first thing to do is:

Set Up Environment

The most important part you should remember is that the WhatsApp Business API Client can be run on any Internet-connected machine that runs Docker. So basically, it is based on Docker.

Also, it is expected from you to run the database on a separate physical server from the Core app and Web app containers. If you want to set up the Docker containers by yourself, you should use the on-premise solution on your computer before porting to your production environment.

On the contrary, if you’d like to use Amazon Web Services (AWS), they manage backups, recovery, and much more just for you.

Register your WhatsApp Business API Client

All you have to do is follow the registration steps by setting up a password and acquiring the authentication token.

Test Installation

You’ve done your setup? That’s pretty good. Now it’s time to test the installation. You should start by checking your personal contacts with your personal WhatsApp phone number. The reason is you have to send your WhatsApp Account a message by adding it to your personal phone’s address book before actually sending your first test message.

Then, you’ll get Customer Service which stands to get messages from you within the 24-hour window.

After that, in order to understand if the installation process has concluded successfully or not, you should send a text message to your personal WhatsApp number.

Or you may use the WADebug tool to ensure you’ve set up WhatsApp business API properly.

Congrats! You’ve completed half the process!

Ok, let’s continue setting your settings. You may change your Business Profile, profile picture, about section, and much more.

Create a Backup

Restoring your stuff from another machine without any effort is always a good idea. You don’t have to register on the system again. That’s why you should create a backup and protect your password from improper use.

Set up Webhooks

Want to process incoming messages and respond with a code sample? 🙂

Webhooks are user-defined HTTP callbacks that are triggered by specific events.

Webhooks process text, media content and location of the messages you’ve sent. You can test this with that code sample in a few seconds.

“If the Webhook URL is not set, then callbacks will be dropped. Callbacks are an important channel to deliver, both timely notifications as well as out-of-band errors, and it is thus highly recommended to configure the Webhook URL endpoint.”
For details: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/api/settings

Also, there are several types of inbound notifications that can be delivered to your unique Webhook.
For details: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/api/webhooks/inbound/

Use Message Templates

Templates are always a good idea. Now, you can use message templates to boost your engagement. For example, for your first contact, Whatsapp shows a button to mark the conversation as spam or block the number. That is how validation, as well as trust, can be built with the help of Whatsapp Business API.

Third-Party Channel Requirements

Of course, there are some requirements for 3rd party channels such as language and user interface.

Required Language Elements:

“receive [noun], [logo and name], on [number]”

Where noun is the type of information related to the flow.

Required User Interface:

You should provide an opt-in via a visual element that is shown next to your Whatsapp name, logo and chosen 3rd party channel.

The user needs to edit the number which is used through specific actions. Also, as a UI element, language must be shown to make a specific reference to said information.

TIPS for WhatsApp Business API

So far, you’ve probably experienced many other ways to succeed in whatever you do.

As Sleeuwen said, “you can only exceed your limits if you’ve discovered them”.

It’s so true in terms of businesses. If there is an invention you can use, why not benefit from it?

Believe me, customer engagement is the milestone of any business. So, in order to get your messages read, you should combine your communication skills with this valuable source: Whatsapp Business API.

Trip arrangement on WhatsApp Business API

Just go beyond a simple text message and explore new ways of keeping clients engaged!

Why not use different colors related to your branding or bold text or italics? You’re not limited. Use engaging language by making use of emojis to be cool and funny.

You may create message templates that are structured by your brand’s attitude.

Note that: In the first place, WhatsApp displays buttons to mark the conversation as spam or block the number. Also, by connecting your existing CRM tools including live chat agents to your WhatsApp Business API Client, you can provide a better user experience with a verified business!

Also, sending some video tutorials of your product can be another way to express your brand.

Remember, you should answer questions about whatever you offer with transactional and eye-catching messages!

Have you heard about Webhooks?

Well, WhatsApp build it just for you! You can process incoming messages from people who respond to you on WhatsApp. That means Webhooks can analyze incoming text, media, location, and the status of the messages with a code sample to test with a couple of clicks. Cool, isn’t it?

customer_satisfaction_with_whatsapp

Whatsapp Business API is the new and ultimate solution to make and keep your customers happy 🙂

In this article, I try to summarize the main points of using this B2C communication and customer service solution properly. I believe, WhatsApp Business API provides a secure and spam-free environment for users interacting with businesses.

I hope you found this article useful, and if so please don’t hesitate to share your comments!

Cheers.

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