WhatsApp will push Businesses into using Chatbots?
WhatsApp has opened their business API today. Businesses can utilize WhatsApp more and more as a marketing channel and a customer service solution from now.
The shift in communication from email and phone calls to messaging apps has been rather obvious in the last few years. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion monthly active users. Facebook is not the only company that realizes that shift. Google and Apple are also trying to encourage customers to reach businesses with their chat solutions.
You might have noticed, that I said Facebook and not WhatsApp. Many people don’t know that Facebook owns WhatsApp. So the scandals related to Facebook cannot be 100% disconnected from WhatsApp. Both co-founders of WhatsApp left in the last year, seemingly due to the conflict on data privacy and monetization. We actually mentioned this monetization coming in episode 6 with David Pichselmeister when discussing the specifications of WhatsApp as a chat interface for businesses.
Facebook promises to keep the end-to-end encryption. It means that only the end user and the business would be able to see the messages. There are some people who suspect it’s not true, also with developing options and third-party tools there’s a little bit more room to fail this rule so to say…
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WhatsApp is finally earning money
In terms of monetization, the famous 24-hour rule from Facebook Messenger appears but it’s different from the Messenger Platform. WhatsApp incentivizes businesses to answer rather quickly (or at least within 24 hours) so then they don’t have to pay for the messages. If it’s after 24 hours then they have to pay for it. Not sure how it unfolds in practice, but considering the weekend and holiday seasons that’s a direct push into automation and chatbots.
I really enjoy this ‘reward system’ as I think it raises the bar for customer support and ‘helping’ businesses to step up in that regard.
WhatsApp and chatbots
I rarely read the news but I do get notifications from companies in the chatbot world. This is how I was informed about all this. Smootch has added WhatsApp to their platform. Mikael Yang, the CEO of Manychat has previously said that their software will add WhatsApp after it becomes available. I’ll also ask the Chatfuel team on their take.
As it is one of the top platforms, especially with a high coverage in certain regions like South America, I expect that more and more bot builders will offer it as a channel to deploy your bots. I definitely get asked a lot whether chatbots for WhatsApp are possible and when will it be available.
Please note that it’s not available for mass approval. Companies with this functionality are for example Booking.com, Uber or the often seen as a pioneer in terms of customer service, Dutch Airlines (KLM). You can try to get approved here.
What is your take on WhatsApp? Did I miss something important? Let me know in the comments.