Facebook Is Taking Big Steps to Make WhatsApp a Big Business

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WhatsApp Business is adding more customer service features to chat with consumers, including a way for people to click on Facebook ads to chat with companies via WhatsApp. The WhatsApp Business API is launching to let businesses respond to messages from users for free for up to 24 hours but will charge them a fixed rate by country per message sent after that.

However, Clickatell says it is now authorised to give businesses access to the WhatsApp Business API, which it has already done with Absa, to roll-out the group's recently announced ChatBanking via WhatsApp.

Facebook says it had been testing the WhatsApp Business API for months, and has since worked with global clients like Singapore Airlines, Uber and Wish.

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WhatsApp also has an Android app called WhatsApp Business which was built with the small business owner in mind.

With Clickatell's integrations, a business can immediately start sending out notifications and conduct real time 2-way customer interactions. Additionally, to help prevent users from receiving floods of messages, WhatsApp is making it so that companies have to pay for certain kinds of messages sent to their clients, forcing them to be more selective.

WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion users, said starting Wednesday businesses can use its WhatsApp Business API to send notifications such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders and event tickets.

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"You will continue to have full control over the messages you receive", Facebook promised WhatsApp users. "To do so, we will work directly with a few hundred businesses and a select number of companies that specialize in managing customer communications".

WhatsApp Business, on the other hand, has an active user base of three million.

Facebook has launched a new WhatsApp Business API created to help businesses communicate with consumers via the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging app.

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