What Is the WhatsApp Business API?
September 29, 2022
Table of contents
WhatsApp is one of the most used apps in the world. As of January 2022, there were two billion people worldwide using this application. With all the advanced features available for businesses to interact with their customers, it’s an intelligent decision to integrate WhatsApp into your sales, customer support, and marketing strategy.
It’s important to note that there is a clear distinction between the app for personal use and the business version. WhatsApp Business is specifically designed to connect your business with your clients; the additional features are unavailable with the standard app.
If you want to use WhatsApp Business as a customer communication channel you can choose between two options: the WhatsApp business app or the WhatsApp business API.
If you are just beginning and have a low amount of incoming messages, you can start with the WhatsApp Business app. Here you can create a business account and up to four additional profiles, but the primary user will have to enable each device manually. The WhatsApp Business app is free and takes little effort to set up.
However, as your team and your business grow and the amount of incoming messages increases, interaction with your customers will inevitably become more challenging. Your agents will need more time to answer customers’ messages, close sales, and provide support, eventually resulting in lost opportunities to close the deal, damaged brand image, and customer loyalty.
At that point, or if you ask me before that time comes, the intelligent idea is to migrate your business to WhatsApp Business API and take advantage of the advanced features it offers.
What is WhatsApp Business API?
Application Programming Interface is a software interface that allows two applications to interact with each other without any user intervention. It helps two different software to communicate and exchange data with each other.
WhatsApp Business API is specifically designed to provide businesses with a tailored solution for scaling their customer engagement via WhatsApp. With WhatsApp API, you can manage your WhatsApp Business profile and exchange unlimited WhatsApp messages.
But, wait. There’s more.
With WhatsApp Business API you can automate conversations by deploying chatbots and creating rules, increase your sales by running ad campaigns and integrate a product catalog connected to your account.
Furthermore, the API allows you to send bulk messages, monitor the number of conversations and closing times, answer frequently asked questions, and connect your business account to your omnichannel customer support inboxes.
Best of all, every feature listed above can be fully customized according to your needs.
Finally, with WhatsApp Business API you can maximize the efficiency of your employees while minimizing the time to respond to customers’ messages. Unlike the WhatsApp Business app that allows you to access your profile from up to five devices, with WhatsApp Business API you can log on to your accounts from ten, fifty, and even hundreds of devices.
Selling to people needs a personal touch. When you interact with your customers on their favorite communication platform, you give them a personalized experience, ensuring killer sales and happy customers.
In short, if you want to develop a personalized interaction with your customers, optimize key business processes, enhance your marketing strategy, and never lose a sale, WhatsApp Business API is the perfect solution for you.
Messaging on WhatsApp Business API
You have a variety of message types to choose from when you want to communicate a different type of information:
- Text Messages
- Media Messages
- Contacts and Location Messages
- Interactive Messages: List Messages, Reply Buttons, Single Product Messages, and Multi-Product Messages.
- Message Templates
- Media Message Templates
- Interactive Message Templates
24-hour response limit
When you receive a message from a customer, there is a 24-hour limit that the WhatsApp Business API enforces to prevent spam and to ensure fast responses. What this means is that you only have one full day to answer a customer’s message. After this 24-hour window, you can still respond to a message, but only with a Message Template.
It’s important to note that templates have to be approved by WhatsApp before they are sent. These messages can’t be promotional, nor can be aimed at upselling, and can’t carry discount codes and free gifts. You can review the full criteria and learn how to keep templates in good standing on the WhatsApp Business Platform.
So, how can you utilize Message Templates? Use them to send your customers delivery updates, payment confirmations, issue resolutions, etc. Depending on your WhatsApp Business Solution Provider and the destination of the sent message, a fee will be applied.
It’s important to note that Message Templates are the only way businesses can initiate conversations, so they are quite handy when you want to communicate with your customers outside the Messaging Session.
Who can use WhatsApp Business API?
While any brand can use the WhatsApp Business app, not all types of businesses are eligible for WhatsApp Business API. If you want to check whether your business is qualified to use this platform, you can review the WhatsApp Business Terms of Service. Apart from the terms and conditions required by WhatsApp, you need to consider the industry you operate in.
WhatsApp has a strict policy regarding what type of products and services you can offer on its business platform. Companies offering tobacco, drugs, alcohol, weapons, gambling, etc. are prohibited from using API. The official WhatsApp commerce policy is available on their website.
How to get WhatsApp Business API?
WhatsApp Business API is not freely available and businesses can only subscribe through official partners authorized by WhatsApp, otherwise known as WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSP).
The BSP partners are trusted to provide services of the WhatsApp Business API to maximize conversations between businesses and customers. Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has high standards for platforms that signup to become one, so make sure you choose an authorized solution provider, such as 360dialog.
When you choose a BSP, consider that the monthly fee can differ a lot between different providers. Some providers are not official BSPs and depend on a third party to offer the API. If that’s the case, you can expect to face additional costs. My advice is to first research the best solution for your business.
Additionally, it’s good to research the features every platform offers and how much it will cost you to integrate them.
How to apply for a 360dialog WhatsApp account?
Before applying, make sure you have a new phone number that hasn’t been registered for WhatsApp Business API in the past. If you want to use the number you registered for the WhatsApp Business app, first you will need to deactivate it from the app.
You will need a verified Facebook Business Manager ID. If your Facebook Business ID is not yet verified, follow these instructions. It takes about one week to obtain verification.
Generate your API key
To submit your application, you will need to enter your details on a form available on 360dialog’s website and accept the terms of service. Use this link to get a reduced price of $15/month.
The whole process is pretty straightforward and it will take you only five minutes to complete it. Here you can read the step-by-step guide on how to apply for a 360dialog WhatsApp account.
Once you generate your API key and your business has been verified, you will be ready to connect your 360dialog with a customer service platform, such as Rasayel. Why do you need to do this? The WhatsApp Business API has no user interface. It simply carries the information back and forth between the customers and your business profile on WhatsApp. That information is a code, practically unreadable for you, as it is geared for consumption by software.
What Rasayel does is, receives these packages of information and present them to you in an easily accessible way.
Connect to Rasayel
Connecting your account to Rasayel is even more effortless. You can read this simple guide to help you complete the process in less than two minutes.
Once you are done, you will be able to receive and respond to your WhatsApp messages on Rasayel.
How can Rasayel help you manage your WhatsApp Business API?
Rasayel offers you one platform for all your communications on WhatsApp Business, tools and features to help you boost the effectiveness of your interaction with your customers, and automate your workflows.
Within Rasayel’s communication platform you and your colleagues can collaborate efficiently and never let your customers wait for a response. The Shared Team Inbox lets you pick up incoming WhatsApp messages or assign messages to your team members so that every customer gets the attention they deserve.
With Rasayel you can develop personalized communication with your customers by building contact lists based on their interests, you can send broadcasts or campaigns to promote your products over WhatsApp, send newsletters, and improve engagement rates.
Aside from WhatsApp Business messages, with Rasayel you can manage all your other channels such as email, voice, live chat, and Facebook Messenger, on your computer, or on our mobile app and get to your customers anytime, anywhere.
More benefits and features
And, if you’re still having a dilemma if Rasayel is the best tool to grow your business, here are some more benefits and features:
- Get customer opt-in easier
- Integrate your WhatsApp with Shopify
- Save time by seeing eCommerce data
- Search and export all your WhatsApp customer and conversational data
- Voice recordings, rich media, interactive WhatsApp message types support
- APIs, Webhooks, and a Zapier integration
- Pricing that works for you as you grow
Ready to enhance your marketing strategy, increase brand visibility, and build customer loyalty with WhatsApp Business API? Start here.