Enterprise communication through WhatsApp
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In the age of millennials where our handsets are flooded with zillions of products, there is hardly any product/application that can match the impact and reach of WhatsApp. With reach of 1.5 billion users globally across 180+ countries, Whatsapp emerges as the most popular messaging app. Some of the other fascinating numbers reflecting impact of messaging behemoth product are:
- One billion daily active WhatsApp users
- Over 200 million users in India (Highest for any country)
- Two billion minutes spent making WhatsApp voice and video calls per day
- 65 billion WhatsApp messages are sent per day, or 29 million per minute
Despite such huge impact, Marketers have failed to leverage the channel to reach out to their end customers as Whatsapp was primarily designed for P2P messaging. Unlike SMS and E-mail, WhatsApp could not be used by enterprises to engage with their end customers. But finally in August 2018, Whatsapp launched their much anticipated Open API that has potential to revolutionize the enterprise communication like never before. Whatsapp enterprise is many a time confused with WhatsApp Business application designed for small and micro enterprises for managing the communication and reach out to their end customers. The WhatsApp Business application cannot support volume of messages expected by large enterprises.
Channel Deployment: Technicalities and File Support
Unlike WhatsApp business application, WhatsApp for enterprise cannot be downloaded through application store in mobile handsets. Enterprise need to register their business related information on Facebook and deploy a docker separately for every number to deliver and terminate the messages for their end customers. Open API supports delivery of rich text, audio files, pdf, word and other rich media document files.
Road Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities
WhatsApp as channel is in the nascent stage and commercials are on the higher side as compared to SMS and Email. Cost for one single push message from enterprise to customer is about INR 0.3 where as no charges will be levied for the next 24 hours if pull communication is initiated by the end-customer. Enterprise can leverage the WhatsApp to create a hassle free and unique experience for the customers by resolving their product queries, complaints and assisting them in completing their application form etc.
Imagine in near future, John has recently moved to New Delhi to pursue his interest in Indian classical music. John uses his personalized artificial intelligence driven robot named Phantom for his day to day activities. John requested the Phantom to identify, compare and place an order for the Tabla through an e-commerce websites. Phantom identifies the different e-commerce websites and connects with them through Whatsapp channels. These e-commerce websites may have enabled a chatbot at their backend of Whatsapp channel. So a personalized robot and a chatbot engages to identify the best suited product for a human at best possible price. As this communication will be initiated from robot so no charges will be levied by WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has decided to tread cautiously in the unchartered waters and a lot of developments are expected in time to come. Enterprises can either manage the development at their own or they can outsource it to their Enterprise communication companies which will have an important role to play as they can add their own industry experience to create a unified seamless experience for the enterprises.
Contributed by Sandeep Sharma , Product Manager, ACL