7 Best Practices for WhatsApp Business Messaging

Top considerations for creating an effective communication and engagement strategy using the WhatsApp Business Messaging API.

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7 Best Practices for WhatsApp Business Messaging

“What’s up?” It’s a great conversation starter amongst friends and the reason why the world’s most popular messaging application, WhatsApp, coined its name. With over 1.5 billion consumers opting to connect in this casual and private environment, the introduction of the WhatsApp Business Messaging API provides businesses with the ability to engage customers in the same intimate manner. With this powerful API, you can have real-time conversations with your customers and build great relationships, if you do so thoughtfully.

Businesses with a global customer base — from retailers to airlines to banks— have been clamoring for the opportunity to get a WhatsApp business presence in order to connect with customers, around the world, in a simple and secure way. That’s because messaging has emerged as a convenient and necessary two-way communication channel for enterprises and the customers they serve.

In fact, according to a recent Nielsen study, over 50% of consumers surveyed are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. They’d rather message a business than call a customer service department. Progressive businesses have already adopted Facebook Messenger and SMS text messaging to engage with their mobile- and app-obsessed customer base. That trend, coupled with the fact that WhatsApp is now considered the world’s #1 messaging app, and it’s clear to see why having a WhatsApp presence has turned into a must-have business priority.

By building a WhatsApp Business environment, companies now have the opportunity to share richer communication messages—which can include photos, videos, documents and more—while having inspired conversations all within the messaging app. With WhatsApp for business messaging, you can have more intimate conversations, get personal, and chat directly with your customers if they are in your existing contact list.

Business Messaging Done The Right Way

While the phrase “What’s Up?” is common, kicking off a conversation with it is probably not the optimal way to handle business with a customer. Businesses should take into account a number of key conversational best practices before engaging directly with customers in your WhatsApp environment. And remember, provide clear guidelines to your staff!

1. Engage with customers who want to connect with you.

If you are like most of us, you don’t want to receive messages from someone you don’t know. Sending unwelcomed messages are a ‘no-no’ on WhatsApp. Rule of thumb: you should only use WhatsApp to connect to known customers rather than reaching out to new ones. Embolden your marketing team to use other promotional avenues to entice new and/or prospective customers to connect with you directly.

2. Don’t spam. Message judiciously.

While we encourage the use of WhatsApp to connect with customers, this doesn’t give you permission to spam them with WhatsApp messages. Ideally, you should use WhatsApp to communicate with existing loyal customers for such things as notifications, alerts, announcements, or one-to-one conversations.

3. Think business casual.

WhatsApp is where many consumers interact informally with their friends, so being trustworthy, familiar, and creative in your business messaging is essential. Your messaging campaigns should reflect (and respect) the personal tone of this channel, but caution your staff to stay professional. They are, after all, representing your business.

4. Get to the point.

Keep your responses short and to the point on WhatsApp. Customers who chat on the app are probably on-the-go and intermittently (ok - sometimes obsessively) looking at their phone. It’s best to keep replies as concise as possible and must be easy to read at-a-glance. If your reply doesn’t fit on a smartphone screen, it’s too long.

5. Get creative.

Because WhatsApp enables multimedia communications—think photos, documents, videos, slideshares, and more—brands have the freedom to be creative with their conversations. Moving beyond a simple text or email, you can infuse your brand ethos in uniquely new ways to make even more engaging customer connections.

6. Ensure your brand is consistent.

Business Profiles are mandatory for businesses on WhatsApp, allowing you to add information about your company, including your business name, address, category, description, email, and website. Think of it as a branded business identity that serves as the familiar face that greets users when you message them, increasing their trust in you and their loyalty to your business. Create a recognizable profile your users can identify with and infuse your brand personality throughout.

7. Be ready to have great conversations.

While WhatsApp serves as an ideal channel for notifications like delivery alerts, purchase confirmations, and customer support, keep in mind that it also provides a more direct way to have two-way conversations with your customers. Make sure your application is staffed by a real human on the other side to encourage sales, resolve issues, and engage your customers to the fullest.

Deliveroo Gains Global Reach, Instant Customer Connections with WhatsApp Business

To ensure their users, and the businesses that they enroll, have a great user experience, WhatsApp limited the number of businesses they initially invited to participate, and continue to do so. Deliveroo, a popular food delivery service, was one of the first brands to integrate WhatsApp messaging into their communication platform.

Since Deliveroo works with over 35,000 restaurants in 12 countries, tapping into WhatsApp’s vast global reach made launching WhatsApp messaging for food delivery notifications and status updates a no-brainer. They had already deployed multiple messaging communication channels—from in-app chat to SMS—using Twilio’s messaging API. When it came time to integrate WhatsApp Business into their communication platform, they chose to, once again, take advantage of Twilio's WhatsApp Business API delivered through the Twilio API they were already comfortable with. Doing so ensures that whatever communication app their customers want to connect with them on is readily available.

“Deliveroo is on a mission to transform the way customers eat. We’re thrilled to now offer order notifications and status updates to our customers via WhatsApp, powered by Twilio’s API.” -- Mike Hudack, CTO Deliveroo

Since its inception, Deliveroo has been focused on providing the best possible food delivery experience. Their omnichannel approach allows them to be available on whichever channel their customers prefer. While some customers still rely on SMS messaging to connect directly, others can now opt to get order notifications and status updates via Deliveroo’s WhatsApp presence. Best of all, Deliveroo was able to bring WhatsApp notifications to customers in just a few weeks, thanks to Twilio.

The Twilio WhatsApp Advantage: One API. Instantly Omnichannel.

If you have a global audience, or you want to engage with customers on their preferred channel, incorporating WhatsApp in your communication strategy is an absolute must. The quickest way to get there is using Twilio’s WhatsApp Business API for two reasons: First, by employing the Twilio API, you can quickly deploy, test, and play in the WhatsApp sandbox while you wait for your business to get approved by WhatsApp Business. And, secondly, if you are going to thrive in this digital messaging arena, one communication channel is not enough; with Twilio’s communication API, you can add whatever channel your customers want and capture all those conversations seamlessly—across channels—to enable truly personal and engaging customer experiences.

Ready to build your WhatsApp presence quickly and easily and add new channels as your customer’s demand? Request access for your Whatsapp Business Profile, ask about Twilio’s comprehensive messaging services, or just connect with us directly.

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