Three reasons to integrate WhatsApp Business API into your business

Johannesburg, 09 Sep 2021
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Do you have a medium to large business with growth potential? Do you have more than 1 000 customers with whom you want to engage? Perhaps it’s time to integrate WhatsApp Business API into your systems.

The WhatsApp Business API is proving a powerful tool to scale your operation, boost business communications and wow your customers with always-on support and time-critical notifications. However, as with any tech – no matter how brilliant it is – it’s only going to work if it’s used correctly.

Integrating the WhatsApp Business API into your business CRM serves to close the gaps between customer and company and results in a seamless and easy flow of (accurate) communication. The WhatsApp API operates best not as a standalone addition to your customer communication tools, but as a vital cog in the wheel of awesome service.

Here’s what you should know.

What is an API?

First things first: An API is an application programming interface that allows different people from your company to have conversations with customers using a unique and official contact number that isn’t limited to one mobile device. In layman’s terms, the API is deployed on a company’s local server, which allows the enterprise company to send and receive messages programmatically between users and the server.

The API also allows for advanced conversation automation features, metrics and templated messages. It integrates with your company’s CRM or that of a third party, chatbot and other analytics tools. Additionally, you save on the costs of having to maintain your own call centre to service your customers.

Why integrate WhatsApp Business API into your business?

The technical ‘how-to’ is far beyond the scope of this article, but it’s good to know what options are available and how integration benefits your business.

1. CRM integration

Since an API has no front-end interface and no WhatsApp official app, companies have to integrate the WhatsApp Business API endpoint into their business software or CRM (customer relationship manager).

One of the major benefits of integrating your CRM with the API is the convenience of running customer support using a shared message inbox made accessible to multiple agents.

The first thing to consider is whether the CRM you currently use or are thinking of using is compatible with the WhatsApp Business API. The good news is that most of the leading CRMs on the market, such as Hubspot, Microsoft Dynamics, SuiteCRM and Zoho, to name a few, can be easily integrated with the API.

Your CRM will require a WhatsApp API account that is linked to a landline or cellphone number that must be valid, owned by your business and capable of receiving either voice calls or SMS.

Currently, the user is always king, so promotional messages are not allowed and you may not hassle people whose numbers you have on file. Businesses may, however, make use of ‘message templates’, which are transactional messages such as e-commerce shipping updates, refund confirmations, etc. WhatsApp is considering a solution to provide promotional capabilities in the future, which is something to look forward to.

It’s imperative to make sure that your usage adheres to the WhatsApp Business policies covering collection, use and sharing of all customer data and sensitive personal information. Beyond this, businesses should also address their adherence to any local privacy laws to avoid penalties.

The all-important step of the whole process is, of course, obtaining access to the WhatsApp Business API. This requires an application to WhatsApp for an API account and approval. While you can do this yourself by navigating through Facebook’s developer page, the process can be time-consuming and highly technical. For both a streamlined and faster process, applying for access through an official WhatsApp Business Solutions Provider (BSP) like Cellfind is the shortest route to success. Cellfind will also be able to assist you in the set-up of your interface and other WhatsApp integrations that you may need tailor-made for your business.

2. Customer support and communication

Once you integrate WhatsApp Business API, all the members of your customer support team, call centre and even your sales reps can communicate with your customers through the API. This benefit of the API opens the door for faster and smoother communication and 24/7 interaction with customers, allowing customers to avoid call centre queues and at the same time reducing pressure on your support teams.

Using the WhatsApp API, enterprise businesses can deploy a web chatbot to automate customer support and text messages to frequently asked questions. These floating chat icons on websites are usually equipped with pre-filled text pertaining to the most common problems customers encounter.

A WhatsApp chatbot similarly runs on AI, works as a chat and is there to assist visitors with quick information, with the only difference being that these chats take place on WhatsApp itself.

Should you integrate WhatsApp Business API to your Facebook or Instagram business accounts, WhatsApp chats can be started on these pages by implementing the call-to-action WhatsApp chat button that customers can click on. These conversations can then be managed by WhatsApp chatbots.The chatbots can also be reached via adverts on the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

AI chatbots need to be coded and automated to produce conversational messaging experiences, but their superior results speak for themselves in terms of customer engagement. It’s also important to know that when WhatsApp chatbots are run on the API, there must be clear options provided to allow users to reach a human agent, which is outlined in the WhatsApp Business Policy.

3. Increase sales and decrease costs

The WhatsApp channel is less constrained than call centre call-backs or landing pages when it comes to executing a marketing campaign. Being a personal channel, it offers higher conversion than static, non-conversational websites.

Analysis is proving that a messaging agent or chatbot can be three to five times more effective than call centre agents and solve up to 30% of the customer interaction. Your call centre or customer support team can thus be streamlined to reduce employment costs to your business.

Beyond this, more satisfied customers mean more confidence in your business practices and more customer returns and referrals, thereby boosting interim and future sales.

The price of integrating the WhatsApp channel is meagre in comparison to the many benefits of clear cost savings that your business will soon reap compared to a more traditional centre set-up.

Contact the Cellfind Business Team today and inquire about their affordable pricing options to integrate WhatsApp Business API for your business and get invaluable advice on how Cellfind can help you to begin streamlining and refining your customer relationships. 

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