Post the pandemic, WhatsApp is becoming one of the top messaging channels of today. It accounts for delivering about 100 billion messages a day. This enormous increase in WhatsApp usage in recent years has ushered in many opportunities for businesses. Brands and businesses are increasingly using WhatsApp Chatbot.
This blog will deal with WhatsApp Chatbot and act as a complete guide to it.
What is a WhatsApp Chatbot for Business?
WhatsApp Chatbot, also known as WhatsApp Bot, is a program that interacts with users using pre-filled messages. It is powered by AI or rules and runs on the Whatsapp platform. Its communication can take both text and voice forms just like talking to a real person.
Businesses use WhatsApp Chatbot to automate their customer support and sales on their WhatsApp Business (you’ll get to know more about this in the subsequent section) account.
For instance, an eCommerce store using WhatsApp Business can display its categories and products to users as and when asked for. So, those brands that want to provide customer support through WhatsApp or boost their business using WhatsApp Business solution can go for WhatsApp Chatbot.
Such businesses need to bring the experience of their e-store or website on WhatsApp. They’ll have to talk to customers, showcase categories, recommend products, and send reminders to them through Whatsapp Chatbot. This will help them stay abreast of current digital marketing trends.
What is WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business is a solution from Facebook that aid businesses build their presence on WhatsApp. It is currently being used as an alternative to SMS by businesses to interact with their customers through reminders, chats, confirmation texts, etc. on WhatsApp.
They can thus connect with their customers, showcase their products, and respond to customer queries. WhatsApp Business solution allows you to create a catalog and use special features to automate, sort, and answer customers’ questions.
The two WhatsApp Business solutions available are WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API. While the former is good for small businesses, medium and large businesses can benefit by using the latter for delivering notifications and providing customer support.
What are The Whatsapp API Limitations?
Here are the four factors that are taken into consideration by WhatsApp for providing your business WhatsApp API.
1. Company Size:
As mentioned earlier, WhatsApp API is for large and medium businesses. Getting API access for small businesses is complex but not impossible. We suggest that you contact WhatsApp global business solution providers. Or find solutions for small businesses.
WhatsApp easily provides API access to businesses that operate in industries like real estate, financial services, telecom, education, and retail. But it’s tough to get for other industries such as the cash industry (gambling, gaming), arms, government, entertainment, adult content, independent software vendors, political organizations, healthcare, alcohol, supplements, and tobacco. You can check the complete list to know if it supports your industry.
3. Chatbot’s purpose:
WhatsApp encourages using WhatsApp chatbots for non-promotional and customer service notifications. However, you aren’t allowed to use it for marketing and promotional notifications.
4. Compliance with WhatsApp Policies:
What are The Prerequisites for Building a Whatsapp Chatbot for Business?
1. WhatsApp Business API
You can’t get a chatbot enabled on an ordinary WhatsApp number. You need to have WhatsApp Business API for that. WhatsApp Business API would let you have your presence on WhatsApp and give you a verified WhatsApp Business account.
WhatsApp APIs let you integrate numerous backend platforms and systems like WhatsApp bot, chat agents dashboard, marketing tools, CRM, and more to automate customer support and sales. To use WhatsApp APIs, your business should fulfill several requirements. There are-
- WhatsApp’s legal policies viz., the WhatsApp Business Policy, and the WhatsApp Commerce Policy.
- Adhering to its Display Name Guidelines.
- Going through its Business Verification.
2. The Conversation Design of your WhatsApp Chatbot
While creating your WhatsApp bot, the most critical aspect to focus on is its conversation design. For, your WhatsApp Chatbot will be your business’ customer interaction medium. Conversation design is nothing but building all possible conversations that your customer can strike with your chatbot. So, it is the basis of your WhatsApp automation.
For building your conversation design, you’ll have to identify your customers’ needs and the multiple ways in which they could present each query. This will ensure that your chatbot successfully delivers the right answer, boosts user experience, and thus prevents customer frustration.
Here are certain other things that you should consider while creating your conversation design.
1. Build multiple chatbot flows:
There will be several conversational flows to get the users to your ultimate goals (form or purchase). So, have these incorporated into your chatbot to make them highly efficient.
2. Include useful fallbacks:
Your chatbot won’t be able to resolve all queries presented to it. This is known as Chatbot fallback or failure. When this occurs, your chatbot should be programmed to display the main or sub-menu to help users choose and navigate to their destination from there.
3. Offer assistance:
Rather than promoting or over-marketing your products, your chatbot should provide support. Its conversational design should only show useful stuff to your customers when asked.
4. Keep your texts short:
Make sure that your chatbot’s responses are short and effective. For detailed explanations, you may attach a media or document along with a brief message.
5. Have a CTA in the ending message:
The ultimate aim of building a WhatsApp Chatbot is to get more business. So, at the close of a conversation, your chatbot must have Call to Action (CTA). It can be something like “Fill the form”, “Buy now”, “Check it out!”, etc.
How to Build a Whatsapp Chatbot for Business?
Step 1: Get access to WhatsApp API:
As we mentioned under the prerequisites section, you need access to WhatsApp API to have your WhatsApp chatbot. You can get WhatsApp API access in the following two ways-
1. Join with a business solution provider:
Facebook has granted its recognition to 65 third-party companies as its Business Solution Providers. Collaborating with one of these increases your chances to get access to API. You just have to get in touch with a partner’s representative to apply for WhatsApp API access. WhatsApp will consider your request within 1-4 weeks.
2. Self-requesting API access:
If you don’t prefer the above option, you can directly apply for WhatsApp API access by filling out the application form from WhatsApp. Your company details such as its name, the business owner’s name, website URL, phone number, and address will be asked for in it. However, the disadvantage of this option is that you may have to wait up to 6 months for your request to be considered.
Step 2: Building your Whatsapp Chatbot for Business
This section tells you how you can build your Whatsapp Chatbot with the help of a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider. For the easiest of the two options ie., WhatsApp Business Solution Provider and self-requesting, the former is the best.
Additionally, WhatsApp Business Solution Provider begins chatbot development in a sandbox (test environment) even before you get the API access. It saves you a lot of time. And when you get the approval, you can launch it straight away.
We suggest that you approach a WhatsApp Chatbot development company rather than a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider itself. For, the latter gets a lot of requests and so, might not be able to attend to yours in time. When you pick the former, not only you’ll get immediate help with building your chatbot but also they’ll guide you all through the application process.
Now, if you wonder what these WhatsApp Chatbot development companies are, they are agencies that have partnered with the official WhatsApp Business solution providers. They help you get the approval and escort you through the process.
Once you’ve picked your WhatsApp Chatbot development company, it is easy to get your WhatsApp chatbot created. The following are the steps that will be carried out by it-
- Outlining the chatbot goals.
- List the tasks that the chatbot will take up.
- Selecting languages.
- Listing the integrations required.
- Creating an elaborate chatbot roadmap and list of project requirements
- Incorporating security features
- Coming up with a chatbot persona, developing a conversation design, and a logic tree.
- Begin with building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or POC (Proof of Concept).
- Building the chatbot’s complete version
- Integrating your other systems and tools with it.
- Scaling to your needs!
A WhatsApp Chatbot on your business WhatsApp number will be a great advantage. It will serve as a touchpoint for your customers to connect with you to avail your products, services, and support. However, building a WhatsApp chatbot can be tricky. You need to know the limitations posed by WhatsApp for having a bot run for a business using this platform.
Further, we recommend that you avail of the services of a WhatsApp Chatbot development company rather than applying to a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider by yourself. For, this will save a lot of your time besides making the process easier.
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