The key information you need to understand and get the most out of WhatsApp Business API for your business. On May 19, 2022, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp will introduce public cloud-based API services in a bid to get more businesses to use the app.
The changes applied are significant for companies, since they reduce the estimated budget for the use of this channel at enterprise level, but they also have more tools to improve the customer experience.
What is so different from what WhatsApp had before?
The announcement wasn’t exactly to introduce a new WhatsApp Business API, but rather for the new API Cloud service that Meta is offering.
Before this announcement, the WhatsApp API was also available, but it was not in the cloud accessible to the public. This meant that a company needed certain infrastructure and staff to host the software and manage thousands of requests. In recent years, many companies have emerged to provide hosting for WhatsApp API as a third party. However, with this new announcement, Meta is making the API public as a cloud service, so companies will no longer need a third party to host the API. This also means a reduction in the necessary budget, since third party hosting or internal infrastructure (and staff) are no longer in the equation.
As a result, the business model is also simpler.
What are the different business models of WhatsApp
WhatsApp offers three different business models: the first, for individuals that we all know is free; the second is intended for small businesses calle WhatsApp Business, also free, easy to download, and allows a basic one-on-one response with the client; and finally, WhatsApp Business API (WABA), formerly called WhatsApp Enterprise, is suitable for larger organizations willing to pay to handle thousands of two-way conversations, which are possible to manage only through automation.
This new easy access to the WhatsApp Business API model empowers medium and large businesses looking to scale audience engagement, accelerate sales, and drive better customer experience outcomes.
Manage thousands of conversations at a lower cost
Enterprise messaging solutions provide the power to drive two-way communication at scale with low costs. Unlike traditional call centers, which are costly and time-consuming to implement, messaging and automated conversations can reduce the cost of providing world-class customer support while providing an efficient way to scale communications with customers.
As it happens, this is perfectly in line with a trend in the market demanding to move towards proactive and asynchronous communications with customers. Instead of forcing customers to wait on the phone to speak to an agent, enterprise business messaging allows customers to simply start a conversation with their favorite brands and get immediate help.
In this way with asynchronous messaging, businesses can provide 24/7 support through automated chats that trigger personalized routing and tracking.
Get the most out of WhatsApp Business API with DANAconnect
While the WhatsApp API adds a lot of functionality to manage thousands of messages at the same time, it’s still just an interface. It doesn’t actually handle automation to respond to customer requests.
What DANAconnect can add to the already existing functionalities of WhatsApp allows companies to:
- Verify the identity of clients for processes that require security.
- Automatically respond to thousands of customers’ requests at the same time.
- Implement tree-model menus using workflows to handle different requests taking different paths.
- Offer your customers on-demand document downloads, such as account statements and critical information that needs extra security.
- Integrate data queries to your systems to access sensitive information necessary to go through certain operational processes, for example, the payment of an overdue debt after consulting the amount.
- Provide information for self-service and automatic responses to inquiries, for example, letting the customer know the available balance of their credit card.
- Route conversations to human agents (but only) when necessary.
Basic key topics to understand the WhatsApp Business API model
A conversation begins when the first message is delivered in a chat using the WhatsApp Business API (WABA), either initiated by the business or in response to a user message. Businesses and users can exchange any number of messages, including “templated messages” (see concept below), within a 24-hour chat session without incurring additional charges. A single charge applies for each 24-hour chat session.
- Entry Points
It’s important to know how and why your customers will connect with your business through WhatsApp. Each of these entry points will influence how you engage with your customers over time, but they also affect price, as company-initiated conversations are more expensive and must be approved by Meta before being sent. (see prices below)
- Conversations in free period
The first 1,000 conversations each month are free. Each WhatsApp Business API (WABA) account receives 1,000 free conversations per month. Both the user and the company can initiate these conversations. Even if a WABA has multiple numbers included, the free tier threshold will still be 1,000.
- Free conversations from entry points
Conversations are not charged when a user sends a message to a business via a call-to-action button in ads WhatsApp click or through the call-to-action buttons on a Facebook page. Free entry point conversations can only be started at the user’s request. The first conversation started from the entry point is free. Subsequent conversations with the user have a cost. WhatsApp applies the standard price for its click ads anyway. The conversation that starts from the ad is free, but not the ad itself.
- 24-Hour Session Messaging:
To prevent spam and make sure businesses respond quickly to incoming messages, WhatsApp imposes a message limitation called “Session Messaging” on messages that were initiated by the customer. Session messaging allows you to respond to messages from contacts within a 24-hour window. You can message the contact after the 24 hour window closes, but the entry point in that case is from the business side, which means it’s not a session message anymore, so it’s a bit more expensive and you need a Meta approved template.
- Interactive session messages: Interactive session
messages give customers a simple way to choose what they want through buttons and lists in menus instead of just typing text.
- Human Escalation Pathway:
While the WhatsApp API service is answered through integrations with automated bots, customers sometimes prefer to resolve their issues with a human agent. To satisfy this need it is possible to make transfers to a human agent.
- Templated Messages
If it is your company that wants to start the conversation, you must configure structured messages and automation templates, which are used every time you initiate contact with a client. These templates for starting messages must be approved by Meta. Also consider that on WhatsApp the prices for replying and starting a conversation are different and that starting a conversation is more expensive than simply replying to a customer.
- WhatsApp prices for companies
You can find in this link a PDF with the WhatsApp prices for conversations in US dollars as they are published on the company’s corporate website: See the price table from the WhatsApp website (as of June 6th, 2022)
- First steps with the WhatsApp business platform Signing
up is simple and fast You can start receiving and responding to user-initiated messages (one-on-one) right away through a dashboard in your Facebook Business account.
Get the most out of the new WhatsApp API for your business
In today’s world, consumers expect to be able to contact brands quickly, easily and asynchronously. As an enterprise-grade company, one of the best ways to provide your customers with a helpful and personalized experience is through automated conversations that allow you to respond to thousands of customers at the same time. The sooner you optimize your business for automated messaging, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards.