WhatsApp has been getting a lot of media attention since Facebook bought the instant messaging service for $19billion last year, but something which may have been missed is how valuable the app can be used as a business communication tool.
The numbers speak for themselves: WhatsApp now has half a billion regular active users. No wonder the corporate world is interested.
WhatsApp does have limitations though. For example, groups are capped at 100 people – which is obviously restricting for a lot of businesses. Something which is probably intentional…
WhatsApp say they have no intention of making the app business user friendly. On their blog they quote Tyler Durden from Fight Club: ‘Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need’ Clearly they care about providing a service to the people, not a tool businesses can make money from. So as it stands it doesn’t look like they will be optimising the app for business use.
WhatsApp VS Email
It’s all very well saying that WhatsApp now has half a billion active users but why do businesses need to be using this when they have email at their disposal? Because communicating successfully with people is all about using the correct method. If you communicate with people via their prefered medium you are much more likely going to get a response off them. If your target market is mainly Millennials (roughly people born between early 1980s to the early 2000s) then you may well find that communicating via instant messaging will be much more successful for you than email.
Because of this, more and more businesses are using the app as a business communication tool to build relationships with their customers and also as a solution to internal communication. Here’s a list of eamples in 3 areas where you can use WhatsApp as a business communication tool.
For Local Businesses
- A local green grocer taking orders via WhatsApp. Any local business that delivers products can take inspiration from this. Just promote your WhatsApp number and inform your customers that they can order via it.
- A florist sending images to regular customers of the fresh flowers they have in that week. Another great idea for local businesses to send pictures of their products to their regular customers. Customers could then reserve certain products after they have seen images of them.
- Taxi firms using the share location feature. Local taxi firms / delivery firms can allow customers to share their location via WhatsApp.
- An event company creating a WhatsApp group for event attendees. A great way to share quick updates and info about the event. You can then also share pictures and videos of the event with the group.
- A company using it as a communication option for customer service enquires. WhatsApp is actually much better suited as a customer service tool over Twitter as it is private.
- A jeweler using it for ongoing communication with their clients. Again communicating via this casual platform can help your customers get to know you and like you as well as it being a bonus for your client if instant messaging is their prefered method of communication.
- A subscription company using it to share updates about a client’s account. E.g renewal reminders. A great option to offer your customers, to receive updates via WhatsApp rather than email.
- A consultancy company using it to follow-up with potential new clients. A great informal way of following up a quote / proposal.
- A team manager using the audio function to communicate with their team. Recording a voice message rather than sending a written message can be clearer and saves time.
- A team using the group function to have on-going communications. particularly great for teams that work remotely.