WhatsApp has 1.5 billion monthly users across 180 countries, and between May and July 2018, those users spent 85 billion hours on the app. Privacy is one key reason people flock to WhatsApp. It uses end-to-end encryption for all messages — including photo and video — unlike Facebook Messenger and Instagram. WhatsApp is also the go-to app for people who need to make calls abroad, as it allows users to make calls anywhere with 3G, Wi-Fi, or 2G networks.

The popularity of WhatsApp is likely to increase now that WhatsApp Business is available on iOS and Android. But what is WhatsApp Business? It’s the business-centric iteration of WhatsApp that allows businesses to interact with customers on a new platform — and this prospect has companies eager to take advantage.

WhatsApp Business offers a great opportunity for brands to increase their reach and visibility. Basically, it’s become a major new channel for customer engagement. With the advantages of WhatsApp Business in mind, companies must be ready to get creative with their customer communication models; they must integrate WhatsApp Business into an omnichannel strategy.

How Does This Change the Way Businesses Interact With Customers?

WhatsApp’s entry into the business world will inevitably influence the way customers expect to interact with companies. Businesses will likely face even higher demands from customers for speed and convenience — as well as personalization.

Without the ability to mass market, businesses will need to seize the opportunity to get closer to customers through personalized content. It’s a tactic that is winning customer loyalty and driving revenue. By using WhatsApp Business for customer communication, brands can gain new insight into their audiences — how they interact, what they share, etc. — and use this information to communicate in a more engaging, relatable way.

How to Integrate WhatsApp Business Into Your Customer Communication

When adding WhatsApp Business to your roster, make sure you know how to leverage its specific style and function to get closer to customers. Use these tips to get started:

1. Integrate WhatsApp into your customer service agent interface. You want agents to be able to speak through WhatsApp Business alongside other channels, forming a whole strategy, rather than separate threads of messaging that dilute your brand’s voice. Implement a unified agent desktop that will gather data from all sources and channels, enabling the agent to have an omnichannel view of each customer, no matter the point of contact.

2. Add WhatsApp automation to boost interaction. When you add artificial intelligence to your contact center, you can streamline and automate many of the tasks that take up your agents’ time. As a result, they have more time and energy to focus on delivering great customer service. This is especially important when adding a new channel to your strategy. Bots shouldn’t replace humans altogether, however. Program your bots to move chat sessions to human agents when the complexity of an interaction exceeds the computer’s capabilities.

3. Make sure you understand the legal requirements and privacy policy. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, takes its requirements and privacy policy very seriously. In fact, Facebook can close your account if you don’t comply with its standards. Before jumping into WhatsApp Business, make sure you review the WhatsApp Business policy and cover all your bases.

The advantages of WhatsApp Business are clear, but with great power comes great responsibility. Make sure you’re ready to work alongside the platform’s regulations, integrate it fully with an omnichannel approach, and use it to better your customers’ experiences. To learn more about WhatsApp Business and how you can use it to drive customer engagement, join our webinar.