WhatsApp has surpassed 1.3 billion users since its launch in 2009. Today, It has 1 billion daily active users from all around the world. Not only the users, businesses also love it. According to the article published on their blog, More than 80% small business owners in India and Brazil say that they grew their business using Whatsapp and used it to better communicate with their customers.
Taking the above factors into account, On January 18, 2018, Facebook announced “Whatsapp for business“. Which is aimed to help users better connect with businesses and vice versa. Below is the official words from their blog.
So today we’re launching WhatsApp Business — a free-to-download Android app for small businesses. Our new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.
Numerous articles are published by the eCommerce stores and local shops owners sharing how they gained more customers and better customers satisfaction with Whatsapp. For example, Frederik Van Lierde published an article on LinkedIn about how he got more clients to his local store using Whatsapp!
But the problem is that not every local store or eCommerce store owners have the time to reply to each customer especially when they have a large number of customers. They need to pay for a customer service department or they may lose precious buyers! And here Chatbots can come into play!
What Are Chatbots
Chatbots are computer programs developed to stimulate conversion with humans. Although, they are still in their initial phase but may still be useful in answering users queries, redirecting users to the information base etc. Thousands of eCommerce stores owners are now using them!
Since People are now becoming comfortable with Chatbots, there is a high demand for Whatsapp bots and chatbots. But unlike Facebook and Twitter, Whatsapp doesn’t allow chatbots on its platform. There is no API provided.
But now there is a hope that Whatsapp will allow chatbots in near future. The quick replies feature of WA for business says, “quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions“. Here, Quick replies mean automated replies to FAQs (frequently asked questions) by the users!
People can continue using WhatsApp as usual — there’s no need to download anything new. And people will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam.
I personally think, why they didn’t allow chatbots on their platform, unlike facebook or twitter, is to keep it clean from spam. A better report and block feature may help them keep the bad bots (Spammers) away from their platform. Thus, another hope!