People whose phones are connected to the Internet would most likely have WhatsApp installed in it, be it for casual communication or more serious ones, like work- or study-related. It is user-friendly, lighter than most chat platforms, and has already established a huge user base. About 1.5 billion people throughout the planet use this green app actively, which basically provides fertile land to sow digital opportunities for businesses. What’s more, WhatsApp has also just launched WhatsApp Business, a product that enables companies to connect with its customers in a much easier way.
Why WhatsApp Business is Highly Sought After
The main reason why WhatsApp Business API is extremely popular is due to the magnitude of its wide and diverse user base throughout the world. Imagine what we can do with 1.5 billion people using WhatsApp simultaneously, especially if our customers are heavily dependent on this app. Not only for customer service, we can also engage our customers in many different ways, such as delivering an online ticket, sending customers service notifications, or even ordering a service by chatting with a team of customer service agents through a WhatsApp number.
However, many people, even businesses, are still in the dark about the differences between the WhatsApp application they usually use from WhatsApp Business.
The question is always, “Why should we pay for the pricier WhatsApp Business rather than using the usual free WhatsApp application?”
We will get into that in this article, but firstly, we have to know what’s what and what’s not.
WhatsApp Business works slightly differently from the WhatsApp application that we commonly use. WhatsApp Business opens up a way for businesses through an Application Programming Interface (API) to help businesses use the WhatsApp interface to smoothen up their processes. The major difference is, while WhatsApp Application is ready to be used as a chat platform for end users, WhatsApp Business API makes the business system connect with the existing WhatsApp application that is already utilized by WhatsApp users. It also can be customized to match our business purposes such as developing a chatbot system so that all inquiries can be answered by a bot.
To maximize the business branding presence, WhatsApp Business also allows companies to identify themselves, the service they provide and other important details such as operation hours, location, short description about themselves, and website URL. This allows customers to know with whom they are chatting with and receiving messages from, just like when companies use SMS to send service-related information but just wider and easier. In addition, the tool also allows companies to send templated messages, making it easier to quickly sort and automate the customers’ enquiries.
WhatsApp Business is NOT Free
We have already discussed that WhatApp is opening up to businesses, but the hard-to-swallow fact is that it is not free at all. Although the WhatsApp application that circulates among the masses is free, for companies to access the API, they still need to pay some fees.
We are not only talking about the price that is set by WhatsApp itself, which is already significant, but also other costs that companies need to consider. Manpower and infrastructure, such as a dedicated server, can also burden a company’s budget. Not to mention if we want to add fancy features like chatbots and the like, fees will definitely skyrocket.
Use a Third Party to Obtain WhatsApp API Access Instead
First of all, companies would appreciate the fact that rather than requesting the API by themselves it is easier for companies to seek the help of official resellers of the WhatsApp Business API to get similar services through vendors such as Kata.ai, Infobip, and Wavecell. Requesting the API directly from WhatsApp will not only cost you time to cultivate a dedicated server to support the system, but also money, and a huge sum at that.
Addressing the initial cost problem, most of Qiscus’ clients have overcome it by using the services of resellers to get access of the WhatsApp Business API. The server and the maintenance cost will be handled by them, so we can focus on other things, such as developing the API to match the needs of your business. To top it off, the administrative process to request the API access itself is long and arduous, so it’s only natural to make a deal with the above-mentioned vendors rather than from WhatsApp itself.
Usage of WhatsApp Business API is Limited
The perks of using WhatsApp for business is enticing as ever, but we also have to highlight the limitations set by WhatsApp. Firstly, there is a limit to the number of concurrent chats that can occur which is only 20 requests per second, which is insufficient for anyone to exploit. Additionally, only a single phone number can be used for this API, which in other words, handicapping the business to provide wide, fast, and seamless services.
This will only leave you with two customer services agents to handle the service, as a single phone number in WhatsApp can only be accessed by two separate devices: a computer and a phone. The ideal solution to this problem is by implementing other tools. Nevermind the single phone number; by using a multichannel chat service, such as the Qiscus Multichannel Customer Service Chat, we are able to prepare the API for several people/agents to use at the same time. This will enhance the customer experience, especially if the multichannel tools support chatbot integration and are connected to various different chat platforms.
Interested to Hop on The WhatsApp API Bandwagon?
With all of the considerations mentioned above, we can assume that it is easier said than done to use WhatsApp Business API in your company’s system, despite the perks. If you are still interested to integrate this AP within your company’s processes or have other enquiries, Qiscus is willing to help you in this regard, if you want to discuss this further on how WhatsApp Business API works and how we can help you to access it, feel free to email us at [email protected].