WhatsApp, whose namesake is a pun on the phrase “What’s up,” is a downloadable messaging platform people utilize to stay in touch with friends and family, much like typical text messaging. However, the platform is evolving into a communication vehicle between consumers and businesses.
WhatsApp promises fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free by downloading the app onto a mobile device. More than 2 billion people use WhatsApp to stay connected with friends and family. Facebook — now Meta — acquired the brand in 2014; however, WhatsApp continues to operate as a separate app.
Meta introduced WhatsApp Business to bridge the gap between consumers and businesses, allowing businesses from your local pizza place to name brands such as Nike to meet consumers where they are. Through this accessible communication channel, companies showcase products and services; connect with customers using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages; provide customer support; and deliver important notifications. It is not only about communicating but also a marketing opportunity and brand builder focusing on engagement.
WhatsApp communications representative Adam Landres-Schnur said WhatsApp is catching on in the business world in the United States, albeit a little late to the party.
“Consumers expressed that they wanted to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses, as well as their friends and family. For example, they wanted to talk to their local hair salon and to use it to talk to their local bakery,” he said.
This concept helps integrate the business into people’s technology-driven lives.
“We created this product just for businesses. WhatsApp Business gives businesses simple tools to more effectively communicate with their customers directly through the app,” Landres-Schnur said. “We developed tools that also assist larger companies, such as banks and airlines, in connecting with their customers.
“Over the last few years, COVID made it hard to visit businesses in person, so we saw this modern method of communication accelerate,” he added.
WhatsApp enhances the customer experience — a stark contrast to 1-800 numbers, long hold times and being passed from agent to agent before achieving a productive interaction.
While many U.S. businesses cling to outdated legacy channels such as phone and email to do business, WhatsApp and CRM specialist Salesforce recently joined arms. This partnership is hoped to further increase WhatsApp’s prevalence.
WhatsApp enables businesses that are Salesforce customers “to provide personal and conversational experiences,” said Michael Affronti, general manager of messaging at Salesforce.
Meta’s WhatsApp seems to operate as a catalyst for change in the business realm through experiences customizable to any size business, giving consumers more of what they want — simple messaging as a primary source for communication.