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Why You Should Use WhatsApp for Business Communication

 

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging program with more than 1,5 billion active users. It’s a universal communication tool, its functionality and interface hardly need to be explained to anyone at this point. For business managers, this popularity and universality make WhatsApp worth considering for corporate communication.

The question of using WhatsApp for team management has started active discussions among international experts. Some say that it’s the best way for personalized and prompt connection, others say, on the other hand, that using WhatsApp for internal communication disturbs the work-life balance and create a negative atmosphere.

The truth lies in a thorough analysis of concerns and technical issues. That’s why we’ll start our review by taking a closer look at most common problems – and we’ll see whether they can be handled – and if yes, then how.

Even though business communication can be easily conducted from mobile phones, the PC version has even bigger importance. That’s why we have analyzed both WhatsApp desktop version and its original mobile app to have a complete picture of its functionality for business communication.

Problems Of Using WhatsApp For Business Communication

All main issues with using WhatsApp messaging and calls can be briefly summed up as a privacy intrusion. Unlike Slack or Skype, WhatsApp connects directly to the user’s number and sends invasive notifications.

Before we start taking a look at numerous positive implications of this, let’s understand what may possibly go wrong. We created a list of the most common risks and their consequences.

GDPR non-compliant risks

WhatsApp is generally known to raise a high-security bar. With its end-to-end encryption and newly introduced Face and Fingerprints IDs, WhatsApp has always shown that they take security seriously.

Striving to GPDR compliance, WhatsApp has allowed its users to download reports on their activity. This, however, does not include messages – this puts compliance into question.

Still, despite all these security measures, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ranked the messenger as the last number in terms of data privacy. Why? The answer is simple: WhatsApp by default can access a lot of data. The app is connected to phones, has access to lists and chats – sensitive personal data but does not report properly on how this data is being used.

Solution: you need to request written permission from your team members that would allow the collection of such data. It’s a pain in the neck and seems overly formal but this is also what will save you from GDPR-related fines – if things ever come to this.

No auditing features in WhatsApp

All sent messages, attachments, media files, and links cannot be tracked. The absence of such a function can create a bunch of security problems.

If there is a security issue, you can’t find a file with passwords, the receipt for the financial transaction (shall you urgently need one), no way to track intrusions and monitor team communication.

However, the majority of popular messaging tools doesn’t have a similar feature. Of course, it’s possible to use less popular tools, developed specifically for team communications but the majority of them require paid subscription and are much more complicated in terms of functionality and interface. Compared to WhatsApp simplicity and popularity, any specialized tool will require a lot of time for adjustment and even additional training.

No elaborate control

If you like to keep everything under control, WhatsApp offers you a bit of a challenge. The problem is, the tool allows the creator of the chat to perform a limited number of actions: editing group description, thumbnail, and changing simple settings.

Chat settings are very limited

Some business managers complain about the absence of additional encryption level. You can’t protect the chat with a password or edit preview settings for various team members. On the other hand, that’s exactly what makes WhatsApp communication so simple and efficient. All team members feel equal and the supervision feels non-invasive.

No threaded chats

WhatsApp allows business managers to add up to 256 users to one chat. These are a lot of people – imagine if all of them start actively discussing a problem. You guessed it right – you’ll be lost in messages in no time.

Normally, this issue can be solved with sub-chats. If there was a system, similar to Facebook comments, where dialogues are divided into sub-threads (when one user answers another, the comments are automatically grouped together). In WhatsApp, however, there is no such system. All messages are seen together and it’s very disorienting.

The solution is simple: do not create big chats for 256 users. Instead, group your employees into small conversations, grouped by departments and tasks. If you need a general chat for the entire team, use it as a news channel, not as a communication thread.

Ignoring work-life balance

WhatsApp sends immediate notifications whenever someone has left a message. Since the tool is connected directly to the phone number, chat members can never fully rest from work. If you work in the international company, the situation becomes even worth – the chat is active basically 24/7.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, managers need to establish an hour of messaging activity. Dedicate an hour to communication – so all users can ask their questions and voice concerns. This way, the chat will not be always at the peak of its activity, giving your team members time to rest and enjoy their free time.

How To Use WhatsApp for Business Communication

Solving these concerns is not the only way of taking the most out of the application. With each new version, WhatsApp becomes much better equipped for internal communication. Let’s take a look at must-use features, best suitable for small and medium companies.

Creating a business page

WhatsApp Business provides a possibility to create a business profile with descriptions, contact details, business name, website, and a thumbnail.

Business profile and chats

Additional features include:

  • Automating customer feedback – set automatic replies to the most frequent questions;
  • Fast discount and coupon distribution – the tool can select the most active customers and provide them with special offers;
  • Automate order confirmations and save receipts;
  • Blast an instant response when a customer contacts you for the first time.

Also, Whatsapp has a label system that allows marking the most important chats and return to them with one click.

Enable Full WhatsApp API

Full Business API allows you to manage purchases directly from the messenger. The tool is also connected to Facebook Ad Manager, allowing you to start and stop campaigns, as well as monitoring real-time statistics.

On top of that, an official business API measures how many times you interact with clients, defines the communication efficiency and provides tangible data on sales, conducted via WhatsApp.

A built-in Product Catalog

Not too long ago, Facebook has announced a new WhatsApp’s feature that allows displaying the company’s products in a catalog directly in a WhatsApp dialog. This function will simplify lead generation, converting a potential interest into a sale much faster.

The catalog was presented at the official conference

The business will be able to present their customers with products’ names, photos, short descriptions, and prices. As Mark Zuckerberg said, this feature will be especially important for small businesses that prefer personal one-on-one interactions for lead generation.

Conclusions

Despite all the doubt and criticism, WhatsApp is a perfectly suited tool for business management. Sure enough, its limited admin settings and invasive default permissions require business managers to nurture trust within a team and communicate about the rules of internal interactions but overall, this has to be done with any tool anyway. On top of that, the software easily compensates for this trouble with its universal functionality and additional features for business management.

In 2019-2020, WhatsApp development team promises to improve its business API and add new features that will support small and medium businesses. WhatsApp is constantly improving, and in 2-3 years, we will not be surprised to see it becoming the most popular messenger not just for personal and business communication.

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