Just recently, things have started shaping up in regards to this. Some hidden information from beta versions of WhatsApp has revealed what such a tool would look like. From the discovery made by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working on a separate application that will help businesses communicate with their customers.
The app will be available on Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. It will be called “Small and Medium Business”. A business will have to download this new app in order to gain access to the business features that be available in the app. It’s probably good that there’s a separate app as people can still continue using the normal WhatsApp for their personal communications. So far, from what has been uncovered, the app will have the following features.
The first thing that is said to be coming is a feature called Structured messages. This is a type of advanced message within WhatsApp which will could include text, images and action buttons. So a business selling shoes could create a structured message for a new sneaker that they’re now selling. The message could contain details about the sneaker (e.g price), an image of it and a button for someone to start the shopping experience.
These type of messages will also be auto translated to the customer language set on their WhatsApp. The next thing covers the details about a business and any announcements that it might want to let their customers know about.
Details about a business and announcements
Using the Small and Medium Business app, businesses will be able to create a WhatsApp business profile from the app. The profile will contain more details than the standard WhatsApp profile which we are all used to. Details like their address, opening and closing times or a profile picture etc could be featured there.
Just like on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, there will be verified and unverified business accounts within this app. So anytime a business account contacts a person, the recipient will see a green check mark after the business name if it has been verified by WhatsApp otherwise it will not be there.
Business will also gain access to an announcement feature which will allow them to send announcements to their users. People on the regular WhatsApp will still retain control over which businesses can send them announcements or messages.
WhatsApp Business app possibilities
WhatsApp business app addresses many problems that business and customers have faced when trying to communicate with each other. For example, sometimes you cannot fully trust that the contact you’re talking to is the business, the verified accounts will solve that. This is because all businesses that want to communicate sensitive information with their customers will have to get verified as it will help them in their credibility.
Other stuff like airlines being able to send their customers updates on the status of their flight e.g if it is delayed. The possibilities are quite unknown now but they could end up being in the hands of the business and how they decide to use this new app to better serve their clients.
Most of us Zimbabweans use WhatsApp almost every day and having to go to another app or worse website in order to get information about a business is sometimes out of reach or just too much work. Some businesses locally have already started using WhatsApp to communicate with their client but hopefully, this will make it a one stop place for business-customer communication.
Let us know what you think in the comments. Would you like for such an app to exist? What kind of features would you like it to have as a customer or business? What do you like or don’t like about the current way in which businesses communicate with you on WhatsApp?
Starting 10 October 2017, WhatsApp began testing the business app with a select few businesses. The business app will continue to be tested in this closed beta until it is released if it proves to be successful in the testing phase.
If you’d like to apply to join the beta testing program for the app or know more about how the testing is being done, you can read the following: WhatsApp app for businesses goes into testing: landline number registration and more.