With 1.6 billion monthly users around the world, WhatsApp is by far the most popular mobile messenger app on the market. While WhatsApp isn’t as prevalent in the U.S., it still hosts almost 70 million users, with over half of them using the app on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s essential that your business includes WhatsApp as a way for customers to get in touch, especially if you own a small business.
WhatsApp offers a specific plan for companies called WhatsApp Business. It allows you to create a more advanced profile where you can catalog your products and set up automatic messages, such as greetings, out-of-office replies, and quick answers to common questions. The best part is that WhatsApp Business is entirely free when operating on only one device, which makes it perfect for small business owners. However, the story is quite different when you need to have several care agents answering customer queries simultaneously. For this, WhatsApp offers a client API that you need to implement yourself and, depending on the type of API integration and business scale, it can cost you from 0.5 to 9 cents per message.
Adding Multiple Users Through WhatsApp’s API
By default, WhatsApp Business only works for one user, and the only way to have multiple agents answer all your customers’ messages is through the software’s API. To set it up, you need a Facebook Business Manager, a verified business, a WhatsApp Business account (with a line of credit), and a command-line tool that can perform cURL requests.
Next, it’s time to actually set up your WhatsApp Business API Client. The very first thing you need to do is set up your WhatsApp Business account. Then, you need to jump on Docker and install the client API by following WhatsApp’s installation guide. The API Client also supports Amazon Web Services, so if you’re using this, you can follow WhatsApp’s dedicated guide for AWS.
Once you have the WhatsApp Business API client up and running, it’s time to register your phone number by either sending an API call to the account endpoint or filling out the registration form on Facebook Developers’ Web Business Tool. Finally, you just need to update your settings and send a text message to confirm everything is working correctly.
This can be a challenging process for less tech-savvy people to grasp. Even if you follow the installation guides precisely, you’ll find yourself doing things that are probably beyond your technical capabilities, and you won’t be able to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. Fortunately, a few VoIP providers offer WhatsApp Business integrations, which makes the entire process effortless.
Integrating WhatsApp Business With a Virtual Phone System
VoIP providers are aware of market trends and know that customers get in touch with support through various communication channels. That’s why the best virtual phone systems have been developing more and more integrations – like WhatsApp Business – so you can help your customers in the ways that suit them best.
RingCentral is one example of how to integrate your WhatsApp Business account effortlessly without requiring a software developer. All you need is to get RingCentral Engage Digital, a platform where you can manage all your digital channels through a unified dashboard. In other words, not only does RingCentral’s omnichannel digital customer engagement platform allow you to answer WhatsApp messages, but it also lets you respond to customers getting in touch over other channels like Facebook or Instagram. This useful platform supports smart routing as well, which means it can analyze incoming messages and automatically route them to the right people. For example, if a customer messages you on WhatsApp with a payment question, RingCentral forwards the message to the customer support agent who specializes in billing.
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