WhatsApp Business: WhatsApp brings its professional app to the UK
A new way for businesses to interact with their customers has been launched in the UK: WhatsApp Business.
The UK is one of five countries worldwide where the SMB-focused app has rolled out officially, having initially been in a pilot programme since September last year.
WhatsApp has traditionally been used, both as a consumer tool and within businesses, to engage in conversations among members of specific groups, say those working on a given project, for example, or to organise a social event. WhatsApp Business, however, is intended to open a new channel of communication between businesses and their customers.
“Our new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them,” the company said.
Features of the app include business profiles, for at-a-glance information on the company; some basic automation including quick answers for FAQs, greetings and away messages; and the option to access WhatsApp Business through the web, rather than the app.
Business accounts will also be marked as such, so users are aware they’re engaging with a company, and a Confirmed Account status will be rolled out “over time” to some businesses, although there’s no indication of time scales involved.
The WhatsApp Business app itself, which is currently only available for Android, only needs to be downloaded by the business user, with customers able to use their normal WhatsApp account.
“People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam,” the company said.