Plivo’s Ultimate Guide to the WhatsApp Business API

Plivo’s Ultimate Guide to the WhatsApp Business API

Dive into our comprehensive guide about the WhatsApp Business Platform to learn how to set up an account to start engaging with customers. 

WhatsApp’s Business Platform is one of the most powerful channels for businesses to connect with customers. 

Whether you need to notify customers about order confirmations, delivery, and tracking status or answer inquiries and resolve issues promptly, the WhatsApp Business Platform is an affordable way to reach your audience. 

In this guide, we’ll cover the WhatsApp Business Platform's many powerful features, benefits, total cost, and best practices for successfully using it. 

What is the WhatsApp Business Platform?

WhatsApp Business Platform is a suite of communication tools designed for businesses to connect and engage with their customers on their preferred texting app. With over 2 billion active users worldwide, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messenger app globally, making it a crucial platform for businesses to reach a vast audience. 

​You can integrate WhatsApp into your existing tech setup using a WhatsApp Business API solution like Plivo. 

There are two primary ways to use WhatsApp Business Platform: customer-initiated conversations or outreach after opt-in consent. In addition, WhatsApp supports text, media-based, and interactive messaging. Businesses can send images and video content or engage customers through rapid responses to their needs with the right call to action.

WhatsApp’s flexibility makes it the ideal channel for sending everything from order confirmations to product updates to promotions, not to mention responding to customer service inquiries in a familiar, easy messaging environment. 

What’s the difference between the WhatsApp Business Platform and WhatsApp Business App? 

WhatsApp Business Platform is a different product than WhatsApp Business App (WABA). 

The WhatsApp Business App is designed for small businesses to help them manage customer interactions from a single device.

The WhatsApp Business Platform provides programmatic access to WhatsApp at scale to medium to large businesses. The Platform offers rich messaging features to send media and add quick reply buttons.

Built for developers, the platform has a friendly user interface. It offers enterprise resources such as free access to test numbers, detailed documentation, and support for automating and integrating communication workflows. Whether you're building interactive customer experiences or automating routine communications, the WhatsApp Business Platform equips you to create high-quality, engaging messages quickly. 

WhatsApp Business Platform features

The WhatsApp Business Platform offers features such as rich messaging, automated responses, analytics, and improved security. 

1. Rich Messaging:

Send not just text but also images, videos, and documents. This makes the messaging experience richer and more engaging. With such extensive versatility, the WhatsApp Business Platform can be used to showcase a new product through a video, share a brochure as a PDF, or simply update customers on their latest transactions.    

2. Templates:

WhatsApp mandates using pre-approved templates to communicate with your customers. You can create predefined message templates for different use cases, such as shipping notifications, appointment reminders, or even purchase order confirmations. You can further personalize these templates for every customer based on their details for greater engagement and faster response times. 

3. Automated messages:

Schedule automated messages and responses for common customer inquiries. Automate and schedule messages to acknowledge when a customer has reached out to support or to welcome a new customer.

4. Security

WhatsApp ensures end-to-end encryption, maintaining the privacy of business and customer conversations. 

Get started with the WhatsApp Business Platform

Any business that wants to leverage WhatsApp for customer communication can benefit from a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).

A WhatsApp BSP is essentially a middleman between your business and the WhatsApp Business Platform. They are approved by Meta to help businesses leverage the power of WhatsApp for customer communication. 

Here are some ways in which working with a BSP can help your business:

  • Expert integration: BSPs provide expert assistance in integrating WhatsApp into your existing systems, ensuring smooth and efficient setup.
  • Enhanced support: BSPs offer dedicated customer support and troubleshooting, helping to resolve any issues that may arise quickly.
  • Advanced features: BSPs often provide additional tools and features, such as analytics, automation, and customization options, which are unavailable through direct sign-up​.

What to look for in a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP)

Choosing the right WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP)  directly impacts your ability to communicate and engage with customers on WhatsApp. The features that your BSP offers will determine the level of automation, efficiency, and reliability of your messaging operations. 

For instance, if the BSP offers robust automation capabilities, you can streamline customer interactions, respond promptly to inquiries, and provide round-the-clock support. This improves user experience by ensuring quick and relevant responses to queries, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention. 

Here are some key features to look for when selecting a BSP.

  • Embedded onboarding

Choose a BSP that offers an easy and quick onboarding experience. Detailed documentation, a knowledge base, and developer support can help you integrate their services into your applications efficiently. The platform's API should also allow for easy messaging and voice functionality integration, ensuring you can get started with minimal hassle.

  • Robust and reliable platform

Choose a BSP that comes with an enterprise-grade communication platform. For instance, Plivo offers connectivity in over 190 countries, serving thousands of businesses globally. Additionally, ensure the platform you choose can handle a wide range of API requests per month, thus guaranteeing reliable communication for your business. 

  • Integrated WhatsApp signup and registration

Find a BSP that enables quick sign-up and easy registration for the WhatsApp Business API on its website. The registration process should be straightforward and provide options to describe your primary use case and expected monthly volume so you can start sending messages to your customers in just a couple of minutes. 

  • No-code, WhatsApp AI chatbot

A good platform will allow you to create or integrate an AI chatbot for WhatsApp. It should also help you automate engagements and use features like SMS and voice messaging to enhance your customer service and interactions.  

  • Marketing automation

Consider BSPs offering marketing automation features, such as SMS marketing and automated messaging on WhatsApp. These features can help you send alerts and notifications and effectively engage with customers throughout their journey.

  • Simplified pricing model

Opt for a BSP with a transparent and simplified pricing model. Avoid providers that charge per-message fees and look for one that offers a single rate for all types of conversations. Additionally, consider BSPs that offer volume-based discounts as your business grows.

How much does a WhatsApp Business API solution cost?

The costs for WhatsApp Business API solutions vary considerably by provider. With Plivo’s WhatsApp Business API, a simplified pricing model combines Meta's fee per conversation with a flat fee of Rs. 0.066/conversation, eliminating per-message charges. 

This unified flat fee rate by Plivo applies to any conversation type, making budgeting more predictable. Plivo also supports multimedia messages at no additional cost, and you can get volume discounts based on your needs and scale. 

Check out the WhatsApp Business API pricing in detail. 

Prerequisites for using Plivo’s WhatsApp Business API

To integrate WhatsApp with Plivo for using the Messaging API, there are a few prerequisites:

  • Meta Business Suite:  Make sure you have a Meta Business Suite account to access Meta's products, including WhatsApp. If you don’t have one yet, you can either set it up via Meta Business Suite or use the embedded signup in the Plivo console
  • Admin Rights: Ensure you have admin access to the Meta account linked to your business.
  • WhatsApp Business Account (WABA): To start messaging, you need an active WABA mapped to Plivo. As part of the signup flow, you’ll need to register a business phone number under this WABA. 
  • Business Phone Number: Make sure the business phone number you’re registering for WABA during the signup flow in Plivo’s console can receive one-time passwords (OTPs) sent via text message or a voice call. If you have an existing number with a different WhatsApp solution provider, you can migrate it under the new WABA with Plivo here
  • Templates: To send outbound Application-to-peer (A2P) messages, make sure you only use approved templates. Refer to our guide to draft templates and ensure you adhere to WhatsApp’s messaging guidelines
  • Compliance: Before launching your messaging efforts with Plivo's WhatsApp API, review the terms and conditions of WhatsApp’s Business Messaging Policy, Commercial Policy, Plivo’s acceptable use policy (AUP), and other relevant guidelines. 

How to get started with WhatsApp Business Platform using Plivo

1. Create a WABA in the Plivo console 

When setting up your WABA in the Plivo Console, register a business phone number that can get a one-time password (OTP) by text or call. This number will be used for messaging customers and will appear on WhatsApp. 

You can either rent a number from Plivo or use your own. If you're switching from another provider, you can transfer your number to Plivo. Check Meta’s guidelines and Plivo's requirements for phone number registration and migration.

2. Customize your WhatsApp profile 

Choose a display name for your WhatsApp and follow the guidelines for setting it up. Then, allow Plivo the permissions needed to serve as your WhatsApp solution provider.

3. Verify successful onboarding 

To confirm successful onboarding, check your Meta Business Account. Select your Meta account, then go to Business Settings and choose WhatsApp Accounts. Under the Partners tab, Plivo should be listed among your partners. 

Then, navigate to the Settings tab, where you should find 'PLIVO INC' listed as a payment method.

When you select "WhatsApp Manager," the number you've added should show up as connected.

4. Register WhatsApp templates

Businesses must use templates approved by Meta for WhatsApp messages. You can create new templates in WhatsApp Manager. Meta segments templates into utility, marketing, or authentication categories, based on the message content. The category impacts both the conversation type and the cost. 

In the Plivo console, you can find template information. Navigate to Messaging > WhatsApp Business Account > Templates to sync and view details from Meta. 

Note: Approval for new templates could take up to 24 hours. Adhering to Meta's guidelines ensures quicker approval times.

5. Manage your business phone number

To manage business phone numbers in Plivo, go to WhatsApp > WhatsApp Business Account. Select your account and click 'Configurations.' Under account details, use the ‘+Add Phone Number’ button to add numbers. 

You'll see the option to 'Unlink Number' once added. In the console, under the same section, you can view all linked numbers, their connection status, name status, and quality rating. Statuses include connected, pending, or disconnected. The name status shows Meta's verification feedback, and the quality rating reflects recipient feedback.

Get started with the WhatsApp Business Platform

As a registered Meta Business Solution Provider (BSP), Plivo offers an easy WhatsApp Business Accounts (WABA) onboarding process. Our integrated signup and registration system, embedded into the Plivo console, allows you to quickly verify your WhatsApp numbers and start sending messages without delay. 

Additionally, to simplify billing, we provide a postpaid option, handling invoicing for you and alleviating the complexity of billing from Meta.

Plivo provides a strong and dependable API platform, granting access to all your channels with the convenience of a single bill, contract, and point of contact. We offer competitive pricing, and our support, rated 99/100 for satisfaction on G2, is consistently top-notch.

Using the WhatsApp Business Platform through Plivo means effortlessly managing customer interactions on a larger scale. With features like rich messaging and advanced automation tools, you'll enhance customer satisfaction and engagement while streamlining your communication processes.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a free trial

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