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Bots on Whatsapp for Business

March 26, 2018
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Finally, WhatsApp has released the Business profile in India. The ‘Enterprise Solution’ will help companies to communicate better with their customers.  WhatsApp has 1.2 billion [http://www.vfirst.com/blog/marketing-automation/top-trends-in-marketing-automation-to-look-out-for-in-2018/] monthly active users globally with 200 million in India itself, thus this move is going to impact the market in a big way.

As per the team of Whatsapp “enterprise solution will initially be free, but we do plan to charge businesses in the long run”. According to the team’s plan some features like managing customer chats with away messages for when businesses are not able to respond at that moment, etc., will be made available to businesses. Semi-bot like feature we would say.

How will Whatsapp get involved in Business?

Using the business profile, users will get notifications on the WhatsApp mobile application from the business profile. If users ordered on Flipkart, Amazon or any other website and if they opt-in for WhatsApp communication, users will get regular updates about the order directly on the platform. Imagine the unified experience if consumers can get train or aeroplane timings all in a single platform. While something like this has been attempted by various other players in the mobile app world, none really have seen any success because they weren’t platforms on which people essentially communicate.

What is the role of BOTS in this?

Whatsapp’s Business started with manual messaging by business profile, but in the current available state, it is very difficult to handle large customer quires at same time. Small business can use Whatapp for communicating with customers at present version, but enterprises cannot use current version to interact effectively if they have a huge consumer base. So, we can expect WhatsApp will provide better way for large enterprises also.

Background

Last year, WhatsApp was running a select beta with Indian internet players including BookMyShow and RedBus which allowed them to access specific WhatsApp APIs to send ticket confirmations to customers.

Whatsapp Business already has Toy Connects for children. These business customers also get the option to set automated response called “Away Messages”, so that when customers message them after business hours or on some day when the business is closed, they are instantly informed about the same. Businesses can also schedule “away Messages” ahead of time.

Current Scenario

To quote the Whatsapp team, “Whatsapp Team Messaging Tools: Save time with smart messaging tools — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.” [https://blog.whatsapp.com/]

Kernel

For “Quick Replies” and “Away Messages” we think after some time Whatsapp will move towards automation and implement bots, which would also mean that FAQs can be integrated with Bots.

Advantage of a bot on the Whatsapp Business will be that it helps companies by answering your customer queries with the least possible TAT.

Whatsapp supports API. This may allow for data to be passed between the server of a Bot application and the Whatsapp Business Platform.

Past Example

LINE messaging platform is supporting API for customer Bot application. When a user sends a bot a message, a web-hook is triggered and the LINE Platform sends a request to a web-hook URL. Client server then sends a request to the LINE Platform to respond to the user. Requests are sent over HTTPS in JSON format.

Likewise Whatsapp Business has also started with manual messaging now and would later need to move to Bot support.

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