WhatsApp currently caters to over 2 billion active users (monthly) across the globe, making it the most popular messenger app to date. With the launch of "WhatsApp Business" in 2018, it is now empowering big and small traders to leverage the power of its familiar interface to conduct business operations more personally with their consumers.
WhatsApp Business comes with a slew of tricks up its sleeve, such as product catalog, business statistics, automated messages, etc., to facilitate business through better communication with the users, thereby increasing sales. While all these features provide benefits in their respective capacity, the WhatsApp chatbot offers the most value to businesses using WhatsApp commerce.
You can think of the WhatsApp chatbot as the face of WhatsApp's automation capabilities — a game-changer for businesses looking to expand their operations. But to harvest the benefits of a WhatsApp chatbot, one ought to know how to implement it, and that's where we chime in.
In this guide, we have discussed the specifics of a WhatsApp chatbot and how to go about the process of WhatsApp chatbot integration.
What is a WhatsApp Chatbot?
Chatbots are taking the world by storm, increasingly becoming a staple in the customer-service industry. Businesses are employing chatbots to offer more seamless and quicker customer experiences, and the results are quite fascinating.
Some of the many advantages of using chatbots include better customer retention, quick resolution of customers' issues, higher customer satisfaction rates, increased lead generation, reduced customer service costs, and a lot of saved time and manual effort.
Thus, it is only natural to have chatbots on WhatsApp, citing the latter's popularity.
But what is a WhatsApp chatbot in the first place? And is it different from regular chatbots? The short answer is: yes, and the long answer is: kind of yes. Let's look at it in more detail.
Chatbots are AI-powered software applications that endeavor to mimic human conversations. They are a part of almost every major business website to help companies handle more customers in a short amount of time.
A WhatsApp chatbot is similar to a conversational AI-powered software program that uses WhatsApp's chat interface to interact with users.
WhatsApp chatbots are flexible (read programmable), like other chatbots. Businesses use this attribute to their advantage by programming the bots to address user queries around the clock (in real-time), collect user data for personalization, make product recommendations, generate leads, guide consumers through the sales funnel, etc.
So now that we have an idea about a WhatsApp chatbot, let's address the elephant in the room — WhatsApp chatbot integration.
Getting Started with WhatsApp Chatbot Integration
To integrate a chatbot with WhatsApp, you need to be aware that two crucial components get highlighted in the integration process — WhatsApp Business API and Chatbot tools.
WhatsApp Business API
Let's start with the first one — WhatsApp Business API. Launched by Meta in 2018 (Facebook, back then), this proprietary Application Programming Interface (API) is a core requisite for chatbot integration in WhatsApp. Businesses need to apply for the API and get verified. Only then can they enable chatbots for their purpose(s).
WhatsApp has a network of third-party firms called Business Solution Providers (BSPs). These firms also provide businesses with the right tools and support for integrating WhatsApp with your business.
Tips for applying for the WhatsApp Business API -
✅You need to approach the website of one of the BSPs
✅Submit your business's details
✅Create a WhatsApp Business profile (or use the details from your Facebook business profile, if you have one)
✅Fulfill any other formalities
✅Get the approval
Once you have access to the WhatsApp API, you can start using the tools the BSP offers your business, allowing you to send messages and manage your customer base.
Remember that WhatsApp Business API is a paid service, and the BSPs charge a set amount per conversation (earlier, it was per notification). So choose your BSP accordingly.
Chatbot Creation Tools
Once your WhatsApp Business API account is ready, it is time to deploy your chatbot. Over the years, building chatbots has become a rather straightforward, no-hassle process.
Some tools available currently in the market arena even offer no-code and free chatbot creation services.
Remember that you cannot add a chatbot to your regular WhatsApp account. You need access to WhatsApp Business API to install a chatbot.
Conversation Design for Your WhatsApp Chatbot
Another crucial aspect of WhatsApp chatbot integration is the conversation design for the chatbot.
Conversation design, as the name suggests, is the process of planning how your chatbot will engage with the consumers on WhatsApp. It involves setting up the chatbot to handle most of the possible conversations that consumers might initiate.
Conversation design is pivotal to the "automation" that chatbots bank upon. Thus, your chatbot should respond such that your audience does not leave in frustration. But, well, we all know it's easier said than done, and designing an ideal chatbot is too much work.
Hence, there are certain principles or best practices for conversation design that you need to incorporate to build a good chatbot, some of which are listed below:
Devise Various Chatbot Flows
Once the welcome message has been delivered and read, the direction in which the ensuing conversation turns is only known by the consumers.
Whether they will ask for order details, initiate a product cancellation, ask for the catalog, or any other query?
Thus, your chatbot needs to be ready for all possible conversations with an appropriate response.
Include Suitable Fallbacks
Fallbacks are statements chatbots use when the input query is out of the scope of its understanding (not a part of one of the chatbot flows). However, just because a chatbot cannot answer a query doesn't mean it cannot guide the user to ask a relevant one.
So, instead of adding cliches such as "try again" or "sorry," you may display a message that prompts the consumer to throw apt queries. You can program the bot to display an informative message or present the list of options shown at the beginning of the conversation.
Throw in a Provocative CTA
Is the chatbot done with the conversation? Don't forget to add a CTA with a closing message. Who knows, all that the consumer might need is this last push?
No Long Messages, Please
You cannot expect your consumers to read an entire paragraph on WhatsApp when you wouldn't prefer to do it yourself.
Instead, branch out the conversation, offer more options, or use bullet points and concise language.
WhatsApp is a powerful tool for businesses, no doubt. But, to truly leverage its immense potential in increasing customer engagement and offering excellent customer experiences, you need a WhatsApp chatbot to help you out. Are you ready to power your WhatsApp conversation to its optimum level? Book your demo with Vizury today