According to the head of WhatsApp, people send over 100 billion messages via this network every day. If you were to deal with only 0.000001% of them, you’d still have to answer 1000 messages a day.
Truth is, even 100 seems enough if most of them are messages like: Is this item in stock? Does it come in red? What’s my order status?
And you’re expected to send an answer in under 2 minutes.
Well, this is exactly what a WhatsApp chatbot can help you with.
Stay tuned to find out more about this topic—and then some.
In this article:
- What a WhatsApp chatbot is
- How does it work
- What are the benefits of using it
- Two available WhatsApp bot solutions
- How to make one for your own needs
Looking for different types of chatbots you can implement to help your business grow? Check out these articles:
- 12 Best AI Chatbots for Business & Personal Use
- What Are Instagram Chatbots and How to Use Them?
- What Is a FAQ Chatbot? Benefits, Types & Use Cases
First things first—
What is a WhatsApp chatbot?
WhatsApp chatbot is an automated software that you can use to interact with customers on the WhatsApp platform without the need of a human agent. Instead, it uses functionalities such as AI (artificial intelligence) and NLP (natural language processing) to provide quick replies to text messages and simulate human conversations.
You can use a bot for WhatsApp to handle customer queries in real time, which can greatly improve client experience and reduce the need for human intervention.
Here’s a WhatsApp chatbot example to help you get an idea of what it can look like:
Read more: Find out all you need to know about what chatbots are and how they work.
Okay. It’s time to explore things further—
How does WhatsApp chatbot work?
Essentially, WhatsApp chatbots work according to different types of conversational flow. And there are three elements that these flows consist of: Trigger, Condition, and Action.
Let’s take a quick look at what each one of these elements means.
In short, a chat trigger is a node that lets a chatbot know when it should begin a conversation with a user. An Action element, as its name suggests, commands the bot to do a certain action. Finally, the Condition node acts as a circumstance under which a bot will perform a specific action, so it represents a sort of middle ground between the Action and Trigger nodes.
But how does this all work from the perspective of a chatbot for WhatsApp?
Let’s say that a user sends you any kind of message—this would be the Trigger. Now, if this is a new user, for example, this could be the Condition for our bot to message them back. And sending the message back would be the Action element.
You’re probably wondering whether you should integrate a chatbot with WhatsApp in the first place.
Here are some key reasons why you should consider using it for your business.
Why create a WhatsApp chatbot?
Besides Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp has one of the fastest-growing customer bases in the world. Facebook officially reported that WhatsApp’s monthly active user base has increased by 365% over the course of 6 years. And as of April 2023, there are over a whopping 2.7 billion users of the platform!
This means that sooner or later, it’s almost certain you will have customers who would want to use this popular platform to communicate with your company.
But let’s dive even deeper and check out the different benefits of using a WhatsApp business chatbot.
1. Improved customer experience
Installing WhatsApp bots can help you respond to your customers when you’re not around. They allow you to maintain a smooth conversation flow and offer a more cohesive, omnichannel experience to customers.
In fact, as many as 54% of consumers want to use WhatsApp Business for customer service and support. So, by implementing this popular communication platform, you can only improve the overall client experience.
Plus, today’s bots for WhatsApp can answer even complex questions and perform specific tasks, like gathering contact information for sales or processing a refund. This makes them particularly useful for any ecommerce business.
Read more: Check out our list of inspiring ecommerce case study examples and find out the best techniques companies employ to get more customers.
2. Boost in customer engagement
Not only can WhatsApp chatbots save time and elevate your customer support, but they can also do wonders for engagement. Namely, these types of bots can lead and assist clients through the sales funnel process by providing them with the right answers at the right time during their customer journey. Thus, it can help engage users when it’s needed the most—during the decision-making stage.
3. Increase in brand trust and loyalty
By allowing people to communicate with your brand via the platform they use the most, you provide them with the convenience that can directly increase customer satisfaction and their loyalty towards your brand. In fact, studies indicate that as many as 52% of customers are drawn to a brand that offers convenient experiences.
Aside from allowing personalized communication through their preferred platform, you will also provide safe encryption to protect the confidentiality of their conversations. All these result in building customer trust and retention in the long run.
Last but not least, here are a few other things that WhatsApp chatbots can do for you:
- Elevate lead generation by providing automated client services 24/7
- Save response time and reduce customer service costs
- Support clients by providing instant answers to their questions and enabling them to take fast actions
- Personalize customer experience with customized WhatsApp scripts
Read more: Check out the case study to learn how this leather goods company improved customer experience with Tidio chatbots.
So, now you know more about the benefits of using these bots in your business.
But how to build your own? And are all WhatsApp chatbots created equal?
First, let’s examine the key traits and differences between two solutions you can use to build your own bots—WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business Platform.
Two WhatsApp chatbot solutions
Here’s the thing—
There are two ways in which you can get your WhatsApp chatbot service:
To understand how these two differ, have a look at the table below:
What does this all mean?
If your primary need is the simple automated “away message” functionality, and you don’t need multiple operators or unlimited access—WhatsApp Business App should be more than fine.
However, if you plan to create an intelligent chatbot, and you deal with many messages on a daily basis, the WhatsApp Business Platform is the best option for you because of customization and higher flexibility.
Here’s what each choice entails:
If you choose to go for the direct development option via WhatsApp Business App…
You should note that technically, there are no chatbots you get in WhatsApp Business App. Instead, there are two simple WhatsApp automations: Away Message and Automatic Reply. If you want to have chatbots, you need to engage your own development team or hire a chatbot-building company. Then, the developers should be ready to create your own WhatsApp chatbot app with Python, PHP, GitHub, Dialogflow, or NodeJS, depending on your architecture.
If you choose to integrate a chatbot (a.k.a. the WhatsApp Business Platform way)…
You should go for services offered by WhatsApp Business Solution Providers. An official WhatsApp Business solution provider covers all infrastructural requirements and offers an API hub, so creating your own bot is 100% code-free.
On top of a chatbot platform, Business Solution Providers usually offer many additional features such as contact management, analytics, and reporting.
Can you see the paradox already? A more complete WhatsApp chatbot solution is much less of a hassle. But what you choose depends entirely on your needs.
Read more: Check out the top WhatsApp chatbot tools on the market and compare their features and pricing
Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to create a WhatsApp chatbot in Tidio using the help of the WhatsApp Business Platform.
How to create a WhatsApp chatbot step by step
Creating this type of chatbot with the WhatsApp Business Platform is relatively simple. Let’s break it down!
Step 1: Check if you meet the official WhatsApp Commerce Policy
This first step is important because it clarifies whether your business can freely use the WhatsApp Business Platform, and consequently, benefit from creating this kind of chatbot.
It’s essential—particularly for ecommerce companies who want to check if official WhatsApp Business policies will not limit the common practices of the industry they are in. Here are some examples of what this policy prohibits and approves using:
On top of that, WhatsApp Business Solutions have specific restrictions that can play a decisive role for some companies when it comes to using their API in general:
- Opt-in (GDPR): if you wish to proactively message your customers, you need to receive opt-in permission that confirms they wish to receive communication from your business (for reactive messaging, opt-in is not needed). Also, you are responsible for the method of receiving the opt-on, for example, by adding a pop-up window once they start a conversation
- Message types: you can only send transactional notifications or WhatsApp messages that comply with approved message templates
- 24-hour message window: if a customer starts the conversation first, you can continue that conversation up to 24 hours after the last message
- Not being able to use the same number on both platforms: say that you end up using the WhatsApp Business App first and then plan to switch to the Business version. Or, you plan to use both of them. While you can have both on the same phone, you do need to use two separate phone numbers for them.
Read more: Make sure to check the official WhatsApp Business Policy for more information and FAQs.
Step 2: Set up an account with your WhatsApp Business Provider
Once you make sure you are eligible for using the platform, it’s time to act. First, create your account with an official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider—like Tidio.
To set up an account with Tidio, make sure to access the WhatsApp option available in your Tidio Settings panel. Then, hit the Connect WhatsApp button.
Depending on the subscription plan you’re using, you may be asked to upgrade it in order to add the WhatsApp integration. If that’s the case, simply hit the option called Upgrade subscription to add integration. Then, choose the plan (for now, it’s a WhatsApp Add-on) that allows you to use the integration.
Before continuing with the next step, you can read more info about what’s required for the integration in the form of tips. If you don’t want to read it, you can simply choose to skip this section and proceed directly to the integration.
Step 3: Use your Facebook account and connect it to your WhatsApp Business Provider
Next, you should log into your Facebook account (as access to Facebook Business Manager is required to integrate with WhatsApp) and connect it to Tidio. And in case you don’t have one, you can create it from scratch.
Step 4: Complete the installation by adding your phone number and business info
After you set up your account, you can complete the installation of your WhatsApp Business integration using a unique phone number and adding information about your business. In Tidio, this process is pretty straightforward and intuitive, so it should take you no longer than a couple of minutes to complete.
A Business Provider representative will then obtain access to your WhatsApp Business API.
Read more: Check out the best chatbot APIs for your business.
Step 5: Design the WhatsApp chatbot flow
Game on! This is the most important process of creating a WhatsApp chatbot. In this step, you need to access the chatbot builder to create a logic tree (usually with a drag-and-drop functionality). Then, you need to define triggers that will determine the chatbot’s “behavior” toward your customers.
Apart from the most common scenarios like answering customers’ questions about products or services, you’d need to predict more complex interactions like processing the refund or gathering specific data.
Also, you should note that bots in WhatsApp don’t differ much from standard chatbots. The biggest difference is the type of trigger that gets it to work.
For example, a standard bot can be triggered based on a simple action, like a visitor entering a website. But WhatsApp bots usually have fewer triggers.
Here are the triggers that get this type of bot to work in Tidio:
- NLP Visitor says (triggers for phrases)
- Operator triggers bot (manually)
- Operator doesn’t reply/take conversation
Step 6: Add integrations and secure the process
Once you have your WhatsApp chatbot ready, it’s time for final tweaks: making sure the opt-in is working, the data collected is private, and all other integrations are connected to the main panel.
Step 7: Apply for an official WhatsApp Business account status (optional)
There are two types of business accounts on WhatsApp:
- Verified business account
- Regular business account
The only difference between them is that the verified account has the green “verified” checkmark on the logo, but this little detail can make you look more trustworthy to your potential customers.
To have the status of a verified WhatsApp Business account, you need to meet certain criteria:
- You need to be a business, not an individual
- You have to enable a 2-Step account authentication
- Your business should be verifiable on Facebook via Facebook Business Manager
- Preferably, you must be a reputable brand
- Preferably, you are in the 2nd Tier on messaging level
And finally, it’s time for the last step—
Step 8: Launch your WhatsApp chatbot!
You’ve made it! The only thing left to do is start using your WhatsApp bot.
Once you do, you can observe how your intelligent chatbot solves numerous inquiries and collects contacts for you.
Creating a WhatsApp chatbot for your business: summary
And that’s all you need to know to successfully create a WhatsApp chatbot for your own needs.
Let’s do a quick recap:
- Because its popularity keeps on growing, WhatsApp chatbot for business is becoming more popular too—especially when it comes to helping streamline customer support processes
- Customers appreciate the familiarity and the personal touch of WhatsApp. That’s why installing a chatbot for it that ensures a smooth communication flow can improve client experience
- There are two approaches to WhatsApp chatbot automation: through WhatsApp Business App, which requires coding and can be costly, or through the WhatsApp Business Platform. The latter enables you to integrate the chatbot with ease
- You can also use simple, predefined automation in your app only, but technically, you don’t get actual bots with this option
- Chatbot integration with WhatsApp can be easy, as long as it’s led by an experienced WhatsApp Business Solutions Provider, like Tidio
Make sure to follow each step presented in this guide for smooth WhatsApp chatbot integration and creation. By doing so, you’ll be able to make the most out of this popular messaging app and enhance your customer communication in no time.