Last month, WhatsApp made it official: WhatsApp Business App is open for business with some caveats. The app lets business owners communicate with customers through automated messages and pre-scripted quick replies, and offers insights and analytics based on those interactions. As of today businesses in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, USA, the U.K. and more can implement the service and communicate with their customers, potentially gaining a direct connection to WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion monthly users.
So what’s the catch? Notice no mention of the word enterprise above. WhatsApp Business App focuses on small businesses and the one-to-one interactions. Though there was much chatter about large enterprises adopting the platform, further analysis shows WhatsApp’s solution alone doesn’t offer the scale and tools an enterprise requires. Large businesses need to simply plug-and-play and use their vast collection of customer data to create a meaningful customer care journey on any chat app.
Instead, Business App seems to curtail the work that smaller businesses and entrepreneurs in regions outside of North America and the UK put into digital customer service. While in North America, we are used to businesses conducting more of their social media based customer service through Facebook’s Messenger and Twitter, the developing mobile data infrastructure of other regions can make these rich web experiences a hindrance to easy communication.
WhatsApp offers a low-data option for communication. Already, consumers worldwide use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and services to which they subscribe. Over 80 percent of small businesses in India and Brazil have said WhatsApp helps to facilitate B2C communication and, as a result, grow their businesses’ reach.
As the Wysdom blog has previously mentioned, an omnichannel approach is needed to address the breadth of communication options a customer expects from a large business such as telecommunications, finance, insurance, and more. With many options emerging for businesses to adapt, like the revamped Apple Business Chat, Google’s Jibe, smart home devices and more, an enterprise dedicating cycles to develop for only one platform such as WhatsApp’s can prove costly in the long run.