With the growing technological innovations, there is no better time to integrate some of these innovations into your business. In this article, I discuss the possibilities of having a WhatsApp chatbot for your business and the subsequent steps that you need to take to have one. The potential to promote business growth using Whatsapp is arguably there for all to see. It is estimated that in the US alone, Whatsapp attracts close to 25.6 Million monthly active users and there is no doubting the fact that across the globe, the app has become an effective communication tool between friends, family, work teams as well as between companies and their respective customers. One can thus imagine the benefit this application can bring into your business.

Understanding Whatsapp Business

Before we go deep into dissecting what a chatbot is and how to get one for your business it is equally important to have an understanding of what WhatsApp is and its subsequent features. There is a sense in which Whatsapp was created to facilitate easy communication between individuals and Whatsapp business was further developed to contain features which facilitate easy business to customer communication.

Whatsapp business features a company profile which among other things contains the business address, description, working hours and website URL. It also has contact labels which allow for easy organising of contacts into labelled categories for easy access. This means you can categorise debtors and creditors to your business accordingly.

Whatsapp business also contains a greetings message feature meant to welcome visitors to your business account. Further to this, there is a quick reply feature where you can save and resend messages for faster responses to all those frequently asked questions (FAQs). Whatsapp business also provides valuable information as statistics about the number of messages sent, delivered and read from your business account. All of these features work much to prove just how technology coupled with the growing phenomenon of artificial intelligence improves interactions between a business and its customers.

Whatsapp Business Chatbot

Through the Whatsapp business Application Programming Interface (API) developers can create products associated with a specific service. Through the API, a local company is accorded an opportunity to send and receive scheduled messages and have the workflow of the messages integrated into its own business communication systems. The result is that a company is enabled to have more efficient management of communication which improves customer relations.

However, before one builds a chatbot there are few factors which should be considered. Firstly, Whatsapp has a closed-door policy when it comes to accessing and using its API. They favour medium to large scale businesses. Hence if you are a small business owner, the process of gaining API access will be complicated unless you approach the Whatsapp global business solution providers. Therefore, the first step in the quest to have a Whatsapp bot is to have permission to use the Whatsapp Enterprise API before the development process commences. To get such permission few considerations are made by Whatsapp team.

What Industry Is Your Business In

The industry in which you operate in acts as a determining factor to whether or not you be allowed to develop your chatbot. In this regard, it has increasingly proved to be difficult for political organisations, the government, healthcare providers and the cash industries to gain API access. However, businesses in the financial services, retail, education and telecoms have gained API access with relative ease. Hence, you need to confirm whether or not your line of trade allows you to have a chatbot.

Do You Have A Clear Purpose For The Bot

To have a bot, you need to have a clear and well-defined purpose for which you will be using it for.  In this regard, you need to be aware of the fact that it is forbidden to use a chatbot for marketing and/or promotional notifications. Instead, you should use the chatbot for customer services and non-promotional notifications. Such purposes allow you to gain API access otherwise it will be difficult for you to have one. In defining the purpose of your chatbot you will find it easy to prepare the subsequent content which will act as answers to user questions. Knowing the purpose of chatbot will also inform.

Are You Registered on The Whatsapp Business App

To have a Whatsapp bot you need to have a registered Whatsapp business account. Now, there are two (2) types of Whatsapp business profiles where one can either be an official business account (the green tick) and the other one is a basically a business account. The difference between the two is that the other one has a green checkmark badge and a visible name while the other one does not have such.

So, to get an official business account you first apply for Whatsapp API access through a Whatsapp business solution provider. Once API access has been approved you can then reach out to your business solution provider to apply for an official account (green tick). These solutions providers are found on the Whatsapp Platforms. Afterwards, you need to gain access to the Whatsapp API.

Getting Access To Whatsapp API

Most attempts to start building a Whatsapp bot usually hit a brick wall when it comes to requesting for WhatsApp API access. In this respect, there are two ways to get API access where the first one is to partner up with business solution providers. It is recommended that businesses collaborate with business solution providers and currently there are 65 partners registered with Whatsapp. If you work with the partners you will have more chances to get access to API.

Otherwise, you might prefer working with Whatsapp directly. If so, you can get access to WhatsApp API by filling out an application which often is responded to in 6 months. Reason for such delays is that Whatsapp prefers to work with business partners.

Once you get access to the Whatsapp API then what’s left for you is to layout your commands and intended interactions of your bot. In the next article, I will look into the steps you will take in developing the chatbot once you complete the application processes.