How does a WhatsApp Developer API for Business Enterprises work?

Business Enterprises need to be in contact with customers and the target audience to ensure brand loyalty and customer retention. Voice call was one of the ways, followed by email and SMS. Though the methods are still in use, enterprises are moving on to advanced technology to stay updated about customer requirements. 

WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users throughout the world. It is one of the most favorite apps for many users. The interactive features allow users to easily communicate with each other. As an extension of the same, developers have introduced WhatsApp Business app exclusively for business enterprises to stay in touch with users. 

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Enterprises will have to request early access to use the app. The WhatsApp Developer API documentation is available on their website to integrate the system of the enterprise with the app. There are companies that provide integration services to enterprises. These companies offer a platform with a single REST API that can be used to integrate with more than 30 different communication channels. 

They send the request for early access to WhatsApp and complete the integration process in the meantime. WhatsApp has certain rules in place that have to be followed by enterprises to create an account and get it verified. 

  • Enterprises will have to use a phone number to create an account. The number can be their customer support number and it should always be active. 
  • Enterprises need to create and integrate a database of user phone numbers to be able to send messages. Messages cannot be sent to phone numbers that are not in the database. 
  • Enterprises will need to take explicit permission from users to send them messages. They can obtain permission in any of the following ways. 
    • Ask for consent from customers via email.
    • An online or physical form where they agree to receive messages from the business.
    • A missed call to the number declaring their consent. 
    • A conversation initiated by the customer. Businesses can respond to the message without prior permission within 24 hours after receiving the message. 
  • Enterprises cannot send messages until their account is verified by WhatsApp. This could take some time, so companies provide a feature known as a sandbox that helps enterprises send messages to customers while the account verification is still in process.
    • Companies have pre-approved phone numbers, one of which they allot to the enterprise to send messages. 
    • Messages can be sent only using the existing templates. This means that enterprises cannot yet promote their business, but can send informational messages. 
    • The variables can be edited and customized in the template code to send personal messages to users. 
    • There is a limit to the number of messages that can be sent per minute and per month. 

The WhatsApp Developer API enables enterprises to use web applications, email, and other portals apart from the mobile phone app to send and receive messages. Companies provide detailed tutorial videos to help enterprises learn things work. The platform, integration, webhooks, load balancing, and technical aspects are taken care of by the companies. 

An interactive dashboard shows enterprises the number of messages sent, delivered, read, rejected, failed, etc. at any given point in time. A record is maintained to track the live conversations, unresolved issues, and waiting transactions. 

The interactive and rich interface of WhatsApp allows enterprises to send and receive messages not just in plain text, but in a formatted text (with words in bold, italics, strikethrough; with emojis) and also images, audio and video files, and documents. 

Clickable links can be included in the messages allowing users to visit the webpage directly from the chatbox. A preview of the page is visible in the chatbox for easy identification. Users can book orders and make payments from the same chatbox. The end to end encryption feature which is a major aspect of WhatsApp, keeps the data secure at all times. Passwords and OTP can be sent to users via personal chatbox. 

One of the leading companies in the market is Gupshup which provides the best API integration services to various top brands. They deliver around 4.5 billion messages per month.