You probably depend on WhatsApp in your to day-to-day life, to keep in touch with friends and family. But are you making effective use of the popular messaging app as a business tool?
More than five million businesses around the world use WhatsApp Business – Alcatel takes a look at how this great Android app could benefit your business.
So, what is WhatsApp Business? It is essentially a version of WhatsApp designed for smaller businesses – you can download it from the Google Play store for your Android device. WhatsApp Business includes the WhatsApp features that you rely on, such as the ability to send multimedia, free calls, free international messaging, group chat, and offline messages.
With the popularity of WhatsApp in South Africa and the rest of the world (1.5 billion-plus users), it’s a useful, low cost channel for communicating with your customers around the world. You can run both WhatsApp and WhatsApp business on the same phone, though they will need to be associated with different phone numbers. This lets you keep your business and personal communications separate from each other.
To get started with WhatsApp Business, download the app from the Google Play store. Then create a profile for your business to help your customers find valuable information — like your website, location, or contact information. Once it’s all set up, you can use WhatsApp to market your business, answer customer questions and so much more.
Here are a few tips about how you can use this tool to get great business results:
1. Ensure you can meet customer expectations
Remember, it’s called instant messaging for a reason. Customers who send a question or order via WhatsApp will anticipate that you will respond more promptly to a WhatsApp message than you would to an email. Ensure that you are prepared to meet their expectations – you simply cannot take two or three days to get back to someone, as you might when they send an email. You should aim to respond within an hour or two, and certainly, not longer than 24 hours.
2. Use custom messages for automation
To save time, you can create a greeting message to automatically introduce customers to your business, set an away message when you’re unable to answer, or save time with quick replies to re-use answers, to frequently asked questions.
3. Publicise your WhatsApp details everywhere
If you are going to use WhatsApp as a communications tool, make sure that people know which number to use to reach you. Add your WhatsApp Business details to your business cards and signage. You can add a link button on your website and social accounts to make it easier for people to reach you.
4. Take advantage of different messaging and file formats
With WhatsApp Business, you can share text messages, PDFs, videos, locations, photos, voice recordings and more in response to a customer query. If you’re providing tech support to a notebook computer user, you can send them a how-to video or screenshots to help solve their problem.
Someone looking for directions to your office? Share your location. Need to share a menu for your restaurant? Package it as a PDF you can send to a customer when they book a table. You can even just add a cute GIF or meme to add a little lightness to your chats with a customer.
5. The WhatsApp status is a handy marketing tool
You can use the WhatsApp Status feature to post updates that vanish after 24 hours. This is a great way to alert customers to time-limited specials, give them a behind the scenes glimpse of your business, or invite them to check out a new blog post. You can share links, photos, videos or text in your status.