WhatsApp has confirmed it has started testing a new and free business app for small companies and as well an enterprise solution for bigger firms with a larger global presence.
WhatsApp has confirmed it has started testing a new, free business app for small companies and as well an enterprise solution for bigger firms with a larger global presence. The Facebook-owned messaging app had earlier announced it will start showing verified profiles for some businesses like banks, airlines, etc to customers in order to bring services directly to the messaging app. Reports had indicated that BookMyShow, which is a ticketing platform in India, was one of the first to come on board for WhatsApp business with customers getting message alerts on the app itself.
“WhatsApp has simplified communication for people around the world. Now, we want to apply this same approach to bringing businesses onto WhatsApp in ways that create value for people. We’re looking forward to making it possible for people to connect with businesses in a fast and personal way, and giving businesses the tools to make that easier to do,” said Matt Idema, WhatsApp Chief Operating Officer in a statement.
WhatsApp has over 1 billion customers and according to the company it is already being used informally by many enterprises, small businesses to connect with their customers. Now the company will try and formalise some of this usage with a dedicated services platform. In a new blogpost, WhatsApp says, “In the coming months, we’ll be testing new features that aim to solve some of these challenges, and make it easier for people to communicate with the businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp.”
According to WhatsApp, its solution for enterprises like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks will ensure that customers can get updates, notifications around flight times, delivery confirmations, etc on the messaging app itself. Currently many providers rely on sending text messages for updates around such services, but WhatsApp wants to change all of that and become the default app for this sort of communication.
The company has already confirmed that businesses on the app will have a green tick next to them to signify they have been verified and are the official, authorised account. WhatsApp also says that while chats between users and business will be end-to-end encrypted, but in some cases businesses might rely on service providers to manage messages. In such instances, these providers will be able to read the messages sent by a user to the business. However, WhatsApp says there is “no way to delete these messages from the chat.”
Users will have the option of blocking a service on WhatsApp as well if they don’t wish to be contacted by a particular service.