If you’re thinking of automating certain communications with your customers over WhatsApp, you are in the right place! In this article, we talk about what a WhatsApp chatbot is, its advantages, what you can use it for, and how to create one.
What is a WhatsApp Chatbot?
You might have seen bots on many websites you have visited. They appear at the corner of the page with a message like “Hi there, how can I help you?”. Once you click on it, it could provide you with a list of questions to choose from, or you can type your own.
A WhatsApp chatbot operates on a similar principle but is integrated within the WhatsApp messaging platform. It uses a predetermined flow of questions and answers or AI to communicate with users through the WhatsApp interface.
WhatsApp chatbots can perform various tasks ranging from answering frequently asked questions, providing customer support, processing orders, or even conducting surveys. Chatbots can link up with your CRM to give personalized answers and do things like book appointments or track orders.
How to Choose The Right WhatsApp Chatbot
Choosing the right WhatsApp chatbot for your business involves a strategic approach. It’s not just about deploying any chatbot but integrating one that effectively supports and enhances your customer engagement and business processes.
This involves identifying your primary goals, understanding the nuances of your industry, and meticulously planning the chatbot’s conversational flow.
Identify Your Goal
To select the right WhatsApp chatbot, understand your customers’ needs and your team’s repetitive tasks. Determine the chatbot’s purpose, like automating lead qualification, providing post-sales support, or handling high-volume inquiries. Choose a bot that addresses your specific business challenges, such as greeting customers from ads or collecting feedback post-purchase.
Consider Your Industry
Tailor your WhatsApp chatbot to your industry’s unique requirements. Understand common customer queries and comply with industry-specific communication regulations. Ensure the chatbot aligns with your business processes and customer service style, and continuously refine it based on performance and customer feedback.
Map Out the Bot Flow
Create a flowchart mapping the chatbot’s conversation from initial customer contact to goal achievement. This flowchart should clarify the customer journey, including the potential involvement of human agents. Ensure the flowchart answers key questions like the sequence of queries, potential customer questions, and appropriate responses.
For instance, a real estate agency might use a chatbot for lead qualification, guiding potential clients through a series of questions before human interaction.
Best Practices to create your flow chart
- Match the bot’s language with your brand culture.
- Have fallback options for unrecognized customer intents.
- Minimize steps in the workflow while maintaining quality.
- Define bot actions during customer inactivity.
- Confirm resolution of customer inquiries/issues.
Decide Chatbot Type: Reactive vs Proactive
When deciding between a reactive and proactive WhatsApp chatbot for your business, understanding the key differences and how they align with your business needs is essential. Here’s a simple breakdown to help you choose:
- Reactive WhatsApp bot
Reactive chatbots are designed to respond to customer inquiries, complaints, or requests for information. They have the capability to escalate issues to human agents if they can’t resolve certain queries on their own.
By handling common questions and issues, reactive chatbots significantly reduce the workload of human customer service teams. Available around the clock, they ensure that customers can receive help whenever it’s needed.
Reactive chatbots are particularly ideal for customer support and handling frequently asked questions (FAQs). They are most effective when users are expected to initiate contact with specific questions or issues.
- Proactive WhatsApp bot
Proactive chatbots start conversations with users when triggered by specific actions or events. They can send promotional messages, reminders, or updates based on customer behavior or preferences, thus enhancing the customer experience.
These chatbots are particularly effective at increasing conversions and customer retention, such as by reminding users of abandoned carts or promoting special offers. They personalize the user experience according to individual interactions and behaviors, which often leads to higher customer satisfaction.
Proactive chatbots are especially suitable for marketing campaigns, customer engagement strategies, and scenarios aimed at boosting sales or retaining users, as they can anticipate and respond to customer behavior with relevant information or offers.
Benefits of Using a WhatsApp Chatbot
Chatbots open many opportunities and benefits for businesses and their customers. The quality and design of the chatbot make a big difference in how effective it is for your business and how satisfied your customers will be. A poorly designed WhatsApp chatbot can frustrate customers and hurt your revenue. A well-designed one could make a substantial positive impact.
1. Enhance Business Efficiency
Many customer communications entail repetitive tasks. For example, order cancellation, order confirmation, payment, and new product announcements require standardized steps you can leave to a bot. This way, your agents save time for more complicated tasks requiring human interaction.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say that every time someone views your website, you want to see if they qualify as a customer and help them make a purchase based on their needs. You can automate a bot to do this for you.
After the lead answers a few questions, the bot could give them a list of products and services or ask an agent to talk to the customer.
2. Boosted Sales
Imagine if you could sell your products to your customers on their favorite messaging app. Well, it is possible!
You can design your chatbot according to your customer journey and for different customer segments. A customer might message and ask for a product, for example, “Hi, do you have a green pullover?”. Your bot could reply with a single product message and show them the product and its price. It could assist them until the final step of placing their order and making a payment without human intervention.
If you’d like to learn about WhatsApp’s various message types, including single- and multi-product messages, please read our One-Stop Guide for Interactive Messages.
3. 24/7 Customer Support
A small business can make do with using auto-replies like “Thanks for your message. We will respond shortly.” to customers’ first messages. If they contacted you outside of your working hours, you might use “away messages” to let them know you’re not available.
Customers expect quick answers, regardless of when they contact you. A study by HubSpot found that close to 90% of consumers expect a 10-minute response time to their queries.
With a WhatsApp chatbot, it doesn’t matter what time, on which day, or at which time zone your customers message you.
4. Reduced Conversation Costs
Deploying a WhatsApp chatbot can lead to significant cost savings in customer communications. The setup typically involves three cost components:
- Access to WhatsApp Business API/WhatsApp Cloud API
- A Shared WhatsApp Inbox like Rasayel
- WhatsApp’s conversation-based cost
WhatsApp’s billing model is based on a 24-hour conversation window, beginning with the first message delivered to a customer. During this period, all messages exchanged, including those from the chatbot, are counted as part of a single conversation, falling under a singular charge.
This model encourages efficient resolution of customer issues within this timeframe. A well-designed chatbot can be instrumental in achieving faster resolutions, thereby optimizing costs associated with customer interactions.
5. Smoother Customer Interactions
According to a Statista study, one of the most frustrating things for customers is when they contact a business to explain an issue, and later have to repeat all they’ve said. With a WhatsApp bot like Rasayel’s, all of the information that the bot collects is stored in the chat, and all of the customer support agents have the same context.
This not only saves the customer from having to repeat themselves but also allows agents to free up their time to focus on more important things, such as resolving an issue or helping the customer achieve what they want.
How to Create A WhatsApp Chatbot: 2023 Guide
Creating a WhatsApp chatbot in 2023 involves a few essential steps. From selecting the right platform to finalizing the chatbot’s workflow, the process requires careful consideration of both technical and business aspects.
This guide will walk you through each step, providing insights and tips to help you build a WhatsApp chatbot that meets your specific business needs and enhances your customer engagement.
1. Pick the right platform
When looking to create a chatbot, there are two main approaches you can consider:
- Code Your Own Chatbot
- Use an interactive chatbot builder
Neither of the WhatsApp APIs has an interface/inbox to send and receive messages. Therefore, you’d have to purchase an inbox or a CRM for customer communications.
2. Get Started
Whether you choose to create a WhatsApp chatbot from scratch or use a chatbot builder like Rasayel, you must have some pre-requisites:
- A Facebook Business account
- A phone number that meets Meta’s criteria
- Access to the WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp Cloud API
- A team inbox or messaging platform to send and receive messages
3. Setup & Connect Your WhatsApp Business Account
Historically, businesses looking to access the WhatsApp Business API needed to subscribe through Business Solution Providers (BSPs). This process often involved intermediary steps and additional coordination with these providers. Not to mention the additional cost for the subscription! However, this landscape has evolved significantly.
Rasayel is a Meta-verified tech provider and lets you access the WhatsApp Business Platform/API directly. You can set up your WhatsApp account and activate your number within Rasayel and without Business Solution Providers.
4. Design a Chatbot Flow
Rasayel offers an incredibly user-friendly and accessible way to create a WhatsApp chatbot. The chatbot builder requires no coding skills or knowledge, making it easy to use for anyone at any technical level.
Let’s get practical! We’ll create a reactive chatbot flow that triggers whenever a customer sends you a message containing a specific keyword. We’ll guide you step-by-step through building your chatbot using Rasayel’s user-friendly chatbot builder.
- Open Rasayel and click the chatbot icon
- Click “Create a bot”
- Select “Receive message” or “Send a template.” If you select “Receive message,” you will create a reactive chatbot. If you select “Send a template,” you will create a proactive chatbot.
- Select a channel
- Add condition
- Drag a Simple message or an Interactive message (offering quick reply options to continue the flow.
- Compose your first message, and add buttons for replies.
- Attach the message to the flow.
- Add new messages that will trigger after the user clicks one of the options for quick replies to the previous message.
- If you add a Simple message, you can choose what happens next: a. Connect to agents b. Connect to a team c. Close conversation d. Tag conversation
After adding all the steps, you can review your flow. And if you’re happy with it, just press Set Live. From that point on, your flow will be triggered on every new WhatsApp conversation, starting with the keyword you assigned.
You can build a powerful WhatsApp chatbot in minutes using the intuitive “drag-and-drop” chatbot builder.
5. Test and Optimize Your Chatbot
After creating your WhatsApp chatbot, the next step is to test and refine it. This involves simulating realistic customer conversations to evaluate the chatbot’s responses and functionality. It’s important to involve your team in this testing phase for diverse feedback.
Monitoring the chatbot’s performance will help you identify areas for improvement. Based on these insights, iterate and make necessary adjustments to the chatbot’s settings and scripts.
Role of WhatsApp Bots in Different Industries
From simplifying online shopping in the e-commerce sector to improving patient care in healthcare, WhatsApp chatbots are making significant advancements in various fields. Let’s explore the specific impacts of WhatsApp bots on different industries, highlighting how they cater to unique industry needs and enhance both customer and business experiences.
In the fashion industry, WhatsApp chatbots are revolutionizing the way customers shop and interact with brands. They can provide personalized fashion advice, offer product recommendations, and facilitate easy browsing and purchasing.
Chatbots can also handle customer inquiries about size, availability, and shipping, providing a seamless shopping experience that aligns with the fast-paced nature of the fashion world.
Read more about how to create a WhatsApp chatbot for fashion brands.
WhatsApp chatbots in healthcare are enhancing patient engagement and care. They assist in scheduling appointments, sending medication reminders, and providing general health tips.
Some advanced bots are even programmed to offer preliminary health assessments based on symptoms described by patients. This not only improves patient care but also eases the administrative burden on healthcare providers.
Read more about how to use a WhatsApp chatbot for your healthcare business.
In banking, WhatsApp chatbots offer a secure and convenient way for customers to manage their finances. They enable users to check account balances, and recent transactions, and even perform simple banking tasks like transferring money.
Chatbots can also provide financial advice and updates on new banking products or changes in policy, making banking more accessible and user-friendly.
Read more about how to use a WhatsApp chatbot for your banking business.
4. Real Estate
Real estate businesses are using WhatsApp chatbots to streamline property search and customer service. They can answer queries about property listings, schedule viewings, and provide details on pricing and location.
Chatbots can also assist in gathering customer preferences and feedback, making the property searching process more efficient and tailored to individual needs.
Read more about how to use a WhatsApp chatbot for your real estate business.
In the education sector, WhatsApp chatbots are becoming a key tool for communication between institutions and students. They provide instant answers to student queries, send updates about courses and events, and facilitate administrative processes like enrollment and fee payment.
Chatbots help educational institutions enhance their engagement with students and improve the overall educational experience.
Read more about how to use a WhatsApp chatbot for your Ed-Tech business.
If your business is growing and WhatsApp is one of your primary channels of communication, you can automate many tasks with a WhatsApp chatbot. Repetitive communications and tasks like order confirmations, order cancellations, running a marketing campaign, guiding customers through the sales process, and many more can be done by chatbots. You can leave only the work that requires an agent presence to your team.
With a chatbot, your customers can be attended to at any time of the day, and you’ll never miss out on a sale.
Frequently Asked Questions
A WhatsApp chatbot is a software application designed to automate communications on WhatsApp, providing users with responses, information, and guidance without human intervention. Similar to bots found on websites, a WhatsApp chatbot can answer questions, show articles, ask further questions for clarity, and, if unable to resolve an inquiry, refer to a human agent.
To use a chatbot on WhatsApp you first need access to the WhatsApp Business Platform. Clearly define the chatbot’s purpose, such as customer service or sales assistance, and design its conversation flow to ensure efficient customer interactions. Integrate the chatbot with your WhatsApp Business account using the WhatsApp Business API, and thoroughly test it before deployment.
The cost of a WhatsApp chatbot can vary depending on the provider and the features you need. For example, Rasayel offers a chatbot builder included in all plans, with the ‘Start’ plan beginning at $300 monthly. This plan includes features like an inbox, customizable WhatsApp templates, broadcasting capabilities & integrations with platforms like Zapier and Shopify, along the chatbot builder itself.
WhatsApp chatbots provide multiple advantages, including streamlining business operations by handling repetitive tasks such as order confirmations and cancellations, which frees up time for tasks that require human involvement. They also aid in increasing sales by guiding customers through the purchase process within WhatsApp itself.
Offering round-the-clock customer support, these chatbots ensure immediate response to customer queries, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction. Additionally, they are cost-effective, as they help resolve customer issues swiftly within a 24-hour window, reducing the cost per conversation.
Finally, chatbots enhance the overall customer experience by storing interaction details, which helps human agents to be better informed and avoid asking customers to repeat information, leading to more efficient service.
To integrate GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) with WhatsApp, you typically need to use the WhatsApp Business API and connect it with a platform that supports GPT. This involves technical steps such as setting up a server to handle requests and responses between WhatsApp and the GPT model.
WhatsApp Business API allows integration with third-party AI technologies, such as chatbots and smart reply systems. These integrations enable automated, intelligent responses, and AI-driven conversations. While some AI platforms offer free tiers, using WhatsApp’s Business API for integration involves additional costs.
For beginners, it’s recommended to start with no-code chatbot builders that offer intuitive interfaces. Rasayel provides drag-and-drop functionalities to create simple chatbot flows without needing programming skills.
If you'd like to learn more about how WhatsApp can help you grow your business, please reach out to us on WhatsApp at +13024070488 (Click to chat now).
We also offer a free consultation session where we review your use case, answer any questions about WhatsApp, and help you build a strategy to make the best out of the platform. Book a call with us here. We'd love to speak with you: