Over the past few years, WhatsApp has become a nucleus of a ton of communities. Official college/school groups, families, and of course, the most important one – a medium for small-scale businesses to reach out to their customers. However, the messaging app offered almost nothing to supplement that experience for neither the user nor the owner. But the industry is progressing at a rapid pace with new contenders rising up and so is WhatsApp.
After announcing the addition of business verification last week, the Facebook-owned company today has confirmed yet another rumor about their future ambitions. WhatsApp has officially stated that it’s building a dedicated customer service app for these businesses called “WhatsApp Business”. The application will be free and will come packed with features created for both small companies and large-scale organizations with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks.
Through the new app, these partners will be able to send out notifications for various purposes such as flight times, delivery confirmations, and others. It’s worth noting the company has revealed a couple of early testers including BookMyShow, 1mg who have already begun to push such alerts to their customers. Enrolled businesses, apart from having a verified badge, will also feature a peculiar profile page containing details such as their store’s timings, address, website or Facebook address, a little summary of what they do, and location as well.
With over 1.3 Billion monthly users, WhatsApp sustains a prominent role in building the next wave of messaging apps. The company is rumored to be working on integrating a payment interface inside its application as well. While there are not a whole lot of details available for “WhatsApp Business” just yet, we’re expecting it to offer crucial features such as the ability to automate bots, monitor delivery of messages to connected users and even perhaps push promotional content to these customers.
Interestingly, a report by the Wall Street Journal also mentioned that the company could charge enterprises if they want multiple representatives for managing an account and send “high volumes of messages”, AI-powered bot functionality or even e-commerce transactions. However, the company has previously stated that the app will never display any sort of advertisements. Hence, we will just have to wait for the new app to launch which should happen in a couple of weeks.
Matt Idema, WhatsApp Chief Operating Officer commenting further on the announcement, said, “WhatsApp has simplified communication for people around the world. Now, we want to apply this same approach to bringing businesses onto WhatsApp in ways that create value for people. We’re looking forward to making it possible for people to connect with businesses in a fast and personal way, and giving businesses the tools to make that easier to do.