One of the most common means of communicating with family and friends for most Smartphone users in Ghana is via WhatsApp. WhatsApp also plays a crucial role in business transactions as more and more businesses are employing the various functionalities of the app to communicate with their customers and prospects.
Late last year, there was talk of WhatsApp introducing a separate app for businesses. On Thursday the instant messaging platform officially announced the launch and roll-out of the business version of the app – WhatsApp Business. This application being rolled out in phases. As at the time of writing this article, WhatsApp Business was available in USA, Britain, Mexico, Indonesia and Italy with India being the latest country to have access to this application.
WhatsApp Business can be a potent marketing tool considering that WhatsApp is “the go-to Social Media platform” for most Ghanaians. In this week’s article we look at ways in which businesses might benefit from the features of WhatsApp Business.
What is unique about WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business is built on top of WhatsApp Messenger and includes all the features that you rely on, such as the ability to send multimedia, free calls*, free international messaging*, group chat, offline messages, and much more.
*Data charges may apply depending on your service provider.
According to WhatsApp, “WhatsApp Business is an Android app which is free to download, and was built with the small business owner in mind. With the app, businesses can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages.”- WhatsApp
This is great news for most Ghanaian businesses. This is an opportunity to run your business off your mobile phone and run it in a space where most of your customers congregate.
WhatsApp Business is free
All you need to do is to download it.
- Reduces cost of sending out SMS for businesses
- When dealing with another business the verification WhatsApp provides for businesses will let you have some degree of assurance about the authenticity of that business
- It may reduce the need for your small business to pay for an app to be created for it and may take away the complexities of operating an app for your business
You can set up your profile
“Create a business profile with helpful information for your customers like your address, business description, email address, and website.”
- Providing such detailed information about your business will help your prospects get a sense of brand (who you are)
- It helps to build trust with your prospects and customers
- Users will be comfortable dealing with you since they know it is a business and not someone seeking to scam them
Access to messaging tools
There are two forms of messaging tools WhatsApp Business provides:
- Instant replies – Quick replies let you save and reuse messages you frequently send so you can easily answer common questions in no time. This can be used for FAQs about your business. It can also be used as a “front desk” where you set customized greetings for people who contact your business.
- Away tools – Set an away message when you are unable to answer so your customers know when to expect a response. You can also create a greeting message to introduce your customers to your business.
You get statistics
“Access important metrics such as how many of your messages were successfully sent, delivered, and read.” You can turn this data to information which will help you to better understand your customers and offer better services.
You can mirror the app on your desktop/laptop just like the ordinary app. You can more efficiently respond to your customers right from your computer’s browser. The bonus here is that unlike WhatsApp you can you can manage the service online, without a mobile app!
Landline/Fixed number support
You can use WhatsApp Business with a landline (or fixed) phone number and your customers can message you on that number. During verification, select the “Call me” option to receive the code over a phone call.
Run both WhatsApp Messenger and WhatsApp Business
You can use both WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger on the same phone, but each app must have its own unique phone number.
To run WhatsApp Business, you will need:
- a smartphone that runs Android (it is not available on iOS yet)
- and a number for registering on the service
Downloading WhatsApp Business
“Before downloading the app, please be aware of the following:
- If you have an existing WhatsApp Messenger account, you’ll have the option to migrate your chat history to your new WhatsApp Business account. We recommend that you make a manual backupbefore proceeding.
- Your chat history can’t be migrated back to WhatsApp Messenger if you decide to stop using WhatsApp Business.
- You can use both apps, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger. Each app, however, must be linked to its own unique phone number. It’s not possible to have one phone number linked to both apps at the same time.
- The app is currently being rolled out to the world. If it’s not available now, please check Google Play Store again later.
- Download WhatsApp Business from Google Play Store.
- Verify your business phone number, the one you wish to use to talk to customers.
- Restore your chat history, if you wish.
- Set your business name.
- Build your profile. Tap the Menu Button> Settings > Business settings > Profile.” – source: https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/general/26000095
I hope that this article will prepare you to make the most out of WhatsApp Business when it is finally available in Ghana. Whilst we wait for the “wonder” WhatsApp Business you can check out my blog post on “3 easy ways WhatsApp can make you extra productive”
Kindly leave your questions and comments below.
If you have a business and are wondering how to leverage Social Media for growth, get in touch! I will help you to figure it out!