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WhatsApp Business API - Everything You Need To Know

May 16, 2022 • 13 minute read

We are delighted with your decision to consider the easiest and most convenient messenger application for engaging with your customers. Level up the customer engagement game for your business with WhatsApp Business API.

With a customer base of over 2 billion people across the globe, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application. It is a smart business decision to leverage the app for customer engagement and connecting with them on their favorite channel. 

We understand that there is a lot of information available about the topic and it can be overwhelming to proceed with the integration process. This article can solve all the queries that might bother you in using WhatsApp Business API for your business. By the end of this article, you will know what exactly is WhatsApp Business API, how can you get it for your business, and what will happen after you set it up.

What is WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business API is an application program interface that allows businesses to receive and answer unlimited WhatsApp messages seamlessly. It was created by Facebook in August 2018 to provide medium and large businesses with a tailored solution for scaling their customer engagement via WhatsApp.

During 2017-18, all around Africa, Latin America & South East Asia, small businesses started skipping email altogether and instead started using their personal WhatsApp accounts as their primary method of communicating with customers. These businesses were not WhatsApp-first, they were WhatsApp-only. This is when Facebook decided to launch WhatsApp for business.

Ever since the launch, businesses have accepted and used WhatsApp business to engage with their customers, and why not. There are a number of good reasons why businesses are moving to WhatsApp leaving all other platforms.

Since WhatsApp Business API is only an interface, it needs a separate CRM to engage with the customers. This means to use all the features provided with WhatsApp API, businesses need to have a dashboard provided by WhatsApp business providers like Yellow.ai.

4 Reasons for Shifting to WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp is a platform where businesses can meet their customers very comfortably and can communicate with them in a friendly manner. Let us look at some of the reasons why businesses should use WhatsApp for business.
 

Top Social Messengers Around the World

1. The ease and convenience of using WhatsApp have made it a go-to platform for messaging. With over 1.1 million messages being sent every second, we can only imagine how engaging via this platform has become a daily habit.

2. When compared to other communication platforms such as emails, WhatsApp messages have a much higher open rate. Using WhatsApp, businesses can cut the competition and reach directly to the customers.

3. With the automation of messages, businesses can respond to customer queries much faster. This in turn can lead to a higher conversion rate and an increase in customer satisfaction.

4. Using WhatsApp, businesses can make conversations engaging and fun. The use of rich text with emojis, stickers and multimedia make it simple and attractive for customers to interact and stay connected.

Basically, WhatsApp is a platform where customers are already present. For businesses, it is the easiest way to encourage customer engagement and provide customer support to the customers. It ensures smooth and fast interactions and a better customer experience.

Now that we know what is WhatsApp business API and why should businesses use it, let us understand the process of getting it for your business.

Who can use WhatsApp Business API?

Before you dive deeper into WhatsApp API and the process of applying for it, see if your business can get approval from Facebook or not. There are certain business terms and conditions that need to be followed before applying for the API. 

Apart from the terms and conditions, there are 2 factors that need to be considered. The size of your business and the industry you belong to.

1. Business Size

WhatsApp chatbot creation and integration is a long and complex process. Medium and large-sized businesses are currently approved by WhatsApp easily. This is the reason why WhatsApp business API is also called “WhatsApp Enterprise”.

For small businesses, getting approved is highly unlikely. They can use the free WhatsApp Business Application and use some features like sending instant messages (non-interactive messages).

2. Industry

WhatsApp has a strict commerce policy regarding the industries that can use WhatsApp Business API. Independent software vendors, real cash industries such as gaming and gambling, adult content and entertainment, arms, alcohol and tobacco, as well as supplements and other medical drugs are prohibited from using the API.

All other industries like eCommerce, travel and hospitality, real estate, education and telecommunications. There are certain industry-specific benefits that WhatsApp API can provide businesses.

However, we will be discussing some common benefits of WhatsApp API in the later sections of this article.

How to get WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp has always provided a safe and user-friendly environment for communication. With businesses piling up on the channel, it needs to be selective in providing WhatsApp business API. 

checklist to implement whatsapp api

In order to get a WhatsApp business API account, businesses need to follow 3 major steps described below.

1. Apply for WhatsApp Business API

Businesses can go around this in two ways- by signing up directly with WhatsApp or going through a WhatsApp business provider. We would suggest the latter if you are a small business, as a direct sign-up with WhatsApp would be extremely labor-intensive and technically challenging.

A business solution provider like Yellow.ai can make the process very simple and convenient where you would just need to provide some details and we will take care of the rest.

To begin with the process, you need to have a Facebook Business Manager ID with a verified number and display name.

If this is not the case, you can follow simple steps and create a Facebook Business Manager page with your business name and contact number.

1. Sign up for Facebook Business Manager by logging into Facebook Business Manager and clicking on Business Settings

2. Opt for a WhatsApp account in the accounts section.

3. Fill in your details like name, time zone, the currency you deal in, payment method, P.O number, website URL, industry, use case, operating region, country of company headquarters, Facebook Business Manager ID, the number for verification.

4. Confirm your business details

5. You will be presented with a verification code on your business number 

6. Enter the verification code and voila you are done!

Once your mobile number is verified, you need to verify the legal business name. For this, you need to provide certain documents.

Business address verification is also a part of your application for WhatsApp Business API. You can provide any of the acceptable documents to the Facebook team and get your business address verified.

Once the business is done with all the verification, you can provide us with the Facebook Business Manager ID, verified phone number and display name and get started.

2. Provide basic information

Moving forward in the journey with us, we would need certain basic information about your business in order to set up your WhatsApp Business Account. To make complete use of the platform, businesses must provide all the information accurately as the customers would be able to see it when they visit your WhatsApp page.

  • Company name
  • URL
  • Industry
  • Region(s) where you plan to provide the WhatsApp Service
  • Country of company headquarters
  • Intended use case
  • Volume predictions (messages/day)
  • Time to market (when do you intend to launch the service)

All of this information need not be provided at once but before the WhatsApp business page is sent for business approval, this information must be filled out.

Once the details are sent to Facebook, it might take up to 2-3 weeks to complete the process of business approval.

3. Activate phone number for WhatsApp Business account

You can use a new number or an already existing phone number. As your business is verified and approved by Facebook, complete your WhatsApp profile by filling in the information like business display name as per the naming guidelines, category, business description, and a catalog of your products.

Alternatively, you can provide the details and our team can complete your business page.

Note: Before going live, you can change your phone number and verified business name.

Top 10 Benefits of using WhatsApp Business API

Now that you know how to get a WhatsApp API for your business, let’s take a look at the benefits that you will observe once you start using a WhatsApp chatbot for your business.

1. Instant responses

With WhatsApp API, businesses can automate responses to their customers. However not artificially intelligent, the responses can be interactive and leave the customers engaged and satisfied. Businesses can set up welcome messages, OOO or away messages and delayed response messages.

With features like WhatsApp auto-reply and WhatsApp notifications, businesses can effectively interact with their customers round the clock, even during the off-hours or public holidays. Dynamic reply buttons and interactive list messages make WhatsApp the easiest communication channel for customers. 

2. Personalize experiences 

WhatsApp uses variables to personalize messages. It can fetch the data from your added contacts and place them at specific places in your messages.

For example, if you have saved the first name of a customer in column 1, the message “Hi {{1}}” will fetch the first name of the customer. Likewise, other customer details can also be used from your pre-existing data in WhatsApp messages.

Apart from this, WhatsApp currently supports 10 languages for interaction. With multilingual support, businesses can reach out to their customers in their regional language and build trust in their minds.

3. Answer FAQs

Simple self-serve queries can easily be automated by automating replies to all the frequently asked questions. With WhatsApp, businesses can help their customers with instant replies to simple queries. However, in the case of complex queries agents need to step in.

Since WhatsApp replies are triggered only when the keywords match exactly, businesses can set up to 5 input messages to trigger a response. For example, keywords such as price, rate, charge, and cost can all trigger the same response related to the pricing of your product.

4. Seamless agent hand-off for complex queries

With the WhatsApp CRM provided to you by the business solution provider, you can add a team of customer support representatives to work on the queries that come in through WhatsApp.

Customer support representatives can easily take the front seat in case of complex responses. This can be done by giving customers an option to connect with the customer support representative or automate hand-off in case of a highly-qualified lead, or a complex query.

5. Schedule appointments

WhatsApp API can be integrated with your calendar. For all the leads, you can automate scheduling appointments without any phone calls or emails threads.

Even if your sales team is not present at a specific time, you can send automated messages to your customers related to the timings when they will next be available. Using WhatsApp API, businesses can save a lot of time for their employees as well as their customers.

6. Send payment reminders

For the financial industry or any business with a subscription model, WhatsApp can effectively help in reducing the drop-offs. Customers tend to forget about their payments and using messages you can remind them about their dues.

With WhatsApp API you can send notifications under the alert update template about the due payments. With the rollout of WhatsApp payments, customers can even clear their dues over WhatsApp.

7. Collect documents

Before WhatsApp, documents were either submitted physically or via email. In this digitally transformed era, none of the customers like to complete their documentation traditionally.

WhatsApp can help you collect all the required documents and save them for later use. Although in the case of biometric scans, the physical appearance of the customer becomes a must.

8. Provide post-sale support

Providing customer support is the primary goal of using WhatsApp API. As soon as the order is placed, businesses can start their support immediately over the channel.

From sending shipment and delivery updates to solving complex customer queries, all can be done on WhatsApp. Businesses just need to automate the chatbot with 100% accuracy and test it for the same. If your WhatsApp chatbot is excellent, the customer satisfaction rate would automatically increase.

9. Transform marketing 

If you struggling with result-driven marketing, WhatsApp API is what you need. With an open rate of 99%, you can showcase your brand in front of thousands of customers who are actually looking at your chatbot marketing efforts.

With proactive marketing and messaging, businesses can take advantage of the growing eyeballs and attention. During this phase, a correct message at the right time can do wonders for your business.

10. Powerful and secure conversations

With end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp is the safest platform for customer interactions. In fact, customers have now started to trust WhatsApp even with payments and banking-related support.

WhatsApp is GDPR compliant, which means that businesses cannot send messages on their own. Customers first need to either permit them or begin a conversation and only then it is possible to send messages.

Due to this limitation, businesses send extremely powerful messages without any ambiguity. This makes the complete conversations extremely powerful and user-friendly.

What to do after setting up WhatsApp Business API?

We have covered almost everything that needs to be known about WhatsApp Business API and how to set it up. Now, that you have a WhatsApp API, let us look at the next steps that need to be taken from your side.

1. Green tick badge verification

A green tick next to your business display name can build a certain amount of trust in your customer’s perspective. Although, it doesn’t add to any of the features or functionalities of the WhatsApp chatbot.

Not everyone is eligible for a green tick badge. Businesses that send 500 messages/day and have an international presence of their brand are more likely to get it as compared to local small businesses.

If you are one such brand, Yellow.ai, being a WhatsApp API partner, can help you with an instant green tick beside your display name.

2. Set up WhatsApp notifications

The only way to send proactive WhatsApp messages to customers is through WhatsApp notifications. However, even for sending these, customers must opt-in to receive notifications from your business.

Highly structured messages or custom auto-replies are interactive messages that can be effectively used by businesses to engage with their customers and notify them about their orders or requests.

In order to send out a WhatsApp notification, you need to follow 2 simple steps:

  • Create a contact list for the WhatsApp notification. This can be a pre-existing list or a new list.
  • Design a WhatsApp message template and get it approved by WhatsApp.

There are certain rules that need to be followed so as to get your WhatsApp template approved and ready to be used. The message must not have any grammatical errors or silly mistakes.

The tone of the WhatsApp message cannot be sales-oriented or a pitch for your products and services. There are 11 categories under which you can create a WhatsApp message template and use it for your campaigns. These categories include informative and customer-friendly templates such as account update, alert update, auto-replies and many more.

FAQs about WhatsApp Business API

Our aim is to provide businesses a complete knowledge of WhatsApp API. We have received a list of FAQs from our prospective customers about WhatsApp API, and here are the answers to them.

1. What is a 24-hour messaging window?

For customer-initiated conversations, once a business receives a message, WhatsApp opens a 24-hour messaging window during which the business can interact with its customers for free. If a business does not respond to a message within 24 hours, the window will be closed.

Similarly for business-initiated messages, after 24 hours, if businesses want to send another notification, they need to pay again.

2. Why Yellow.ai?

Yellow.ai provides a unique feature using which an agent can reopen the chat window without any extra charges even after 24 hours if the last message was sent by the agent.

This feature can help businesses save a lot of money that they spend after cold leads and no response messages.

3. Is there any free trial provided by Yellow.ai for WhatsApp API?

Yellow.ai offers a free WhatsApp chatbot for 3 months for customers buying an annual plan. During these 3 months, businesses will only pay the charges of WhatsApp. No platform fees or hidden charges will be taken by Yellow.ai.

4. What are the charges for WhatsApp API?

The charges of WhatsApp business API vary from partner to partner, depending on the features and insights they provide on their dashboard. To understand the pricing structure of Yellow.ai, you can request a demo and our sales representatives will connect with you.

5. Can I change my WhatsApp account number after using it?

Facebook business manager allows you to change your WhatsApp number and business display name at any point in time.

Apart from these, if you have any other questions, feel free to contact us and understand the usability and affordability of WhatsApp API.

Leveraging WhatsApp Business API 

With the strongest and the most involved user base, WhatsApp is a channel leveraging which, businesses can never be disappointed. 

Leveraging WhatsApp API for conversations has a higher ROI when compared to any of the other customer support and customer engagement channels. 

As easy as it is to use WhatsApp, designing a conversational flow and building a chatbot is easier with Yellow.ai no-code bot builder. Even if you are stuck somewhere between the process, our executives will help you through it and build an awesome WhatsApp chatbot for your business.

Conclusion

WhatsApp Business API is not as tricky as you might be expecting. It is simple automation of messages to provide instant responses to your customers.

We hope all your queries are answered in this article and now you have a better understanding of using WhatsApp business chatbots. We have covered all the minute details about WhatsApp API while structuring this article. In case of any queries, you can feel free to contact us via any channel of your choice, and we’d be happy to help.

In case you are considering Yellow.ai as your business solution provider for WhatsApp Business API, kindly request a demo and our subject matter experts will get in touch with you and understand your requirements. They will offer you the best conversational automation suggestions and help you win big when it comes to customer experience.

Namrata Narsinghani

Content Writer at Yellow.ai, comes with a zeal to write content that educates audiences, creates brand awareness, and ranks on SERP. A digital marketing enthusiast, she loves to learn all new trends in the industry. Apart from work, she loves to swim, read, and travel.

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