WhatsApp has introduced new features designed to allow businesses to more easily communicate with customers as part of Facebook’s wider push to seriously monetize its messaging service for the first time ever. The new functionalities are being rolled out to WhatsApp Business, a version of the app that was announced last September as the platform’s foray into the enterprise segment. WhatsApp officially rolled out the business-oriented service to the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, India, and several other countries earlier this year.
With the latest update, customers will be able to share their mobile phone number with a business from its official website, mobile app, or online store so that the company in question can reach out to them regarding their queries via the messaging app. WhatsApp also added a shortcut button for websites and Facebook ads designed to help customers immediately start chatting with a business they’re interested in. This particular tool comes in the form of a click-to-chat button, a feature of WhatsApp that works to let users start a conversation with a certain business automatically. Finally, WhatsApp introduced the ability for businesses to support customers in real time in the event that they want information about a particular product or need assistance in fixing an issue.
Businesses will have to pay to be able to send chat messages to customers, so not all of them may have the luxury of communicating with all customers that reach out as they will have to choose to chat with only those individuals they expect to convert to sales. As for the regular users of WhatsApp, this means they don’t have to worry about receiving a barrage of messages from businesses trying to advertise and sell their products. Users also have the option of blocking businesses from which they don’t want to receive instant messages. This January, WhatsApp Business also received new features meant to facilitate PR activities on the platform.