Yesterday, WhatsApp introduced a new, standalone Android app for small to medium scale businesses. The app essentially offers a more efficient way for businesses to reach out and connect with their customers. Generally, when a free, popular messaging service decides to add a business module to its ambitions, the question of whether it will lead to spam is inevitable. And WhatsApp being THE most popular messaging app in the world, the question is even more relevant.
And that’s the case with WhatsApp Business as well. But we think, for now, you don’t need to worry about your WhatsApp account being swamped with promotional messages. Here’s why.
The thing to know about the Business app WhatsApp launched last night is that it’s not the full-fledged enterprise platform a few companies (like BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip etc) have been testing for awhile. Whenever that becomes widely available, you can probably expect a flurry of spam since the Facebook-owned company will reportedly allow businesses to send out “high-volume” messages through that. In addition to that, this forthcoming platform will also let businesses to plug their web services directly to WhatsApp for automating tasks like forwarding confirmations for flight booking.
The current WhatsApp Business app, on the contrary, is primarily designed to make the process easier for SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses) who have been employing the regular WhatsApp app for ages to contact their customers. It’s essentially a clone of the WhatsApp app you use every day with a familiar tabbed interface, albeit with a few additional benefits. For starters, owners can create a specific business profile for displaying information like address, website, timings, description, and more.
Moreover, they can configure automated replies for when the moderator is not available and a customer tries to ping them. There are options for setting up quick replies too for eliminating the process of repeatedly typing the same message. For example, a food service can add their “today’s special” menu as a quick reply and select it every time a user asks for it. Similarly, they can feed in an order confirmation reply. You get the idea.
Lastly, WhatsApp Business comes with a bunch of rudimentary statistics that businesses can look into, like how many of their messages were delivered, read and sent. However, it’s worth noting that a subset of this feature is available to every user on the main app. Apart from all of that, though, WhatsApp Business has no advanced marketing tools which can spawn a new wave of spam messages in your account.
That being said, we think WhatsApp will eventually introduce ways through which companies will able to send promotional content. Thankfully, WhatsApp says users can block these businesses and even report them as spam. Additionally, the company is expected to bring a slew of anti-spam features aimed specifically to curb forward chains. Until then though, WhatsApp will continue to function as it has always been.