To help businesses communicate better with their customers in India, WhatsApp has officially rolled out “WhatsApp Business” , a free to download Android app for small businesses in the country.

The new app, available on Google Play Store, will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its users to chat with businesses that matter to them.

The instant messaging application made it to Android’s Play Store in India and you’ll soon start receiving texts from businesses with a green tick with their name. This green tick will signify that the message is coming a verified business. WhatsApp Business aims at strengthening and streamlining the reach of small businesses without making hefty investments in website development, infrastructure related to customer support and more.

Will normal users be affected?

For normal users, WhatsApp claims there won’t be any drastic changes. The official blog states “people can continue using WhatsApp as usual – there’s no need to download anything new. And 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.”

In other words, WhatsApp Business is rolled out as a separate application which will authorize businesses to communicate with their consumer/client on a personal level in the form of a chat.

For now, the service only extends to small businesses. However, WhatsApp plans to use a similar or same service for bigger companies. For bigger enterprises, WhatsApp might charge for specific tools that will help them analyse and improvise their businesses.

What do you need to run WhatsApp Business?

There are a few prerequisites for running WhatsApp Business because of the way WhatsApp as a service is designed.

You will need a smartphone that runs Android (iOS owners will have to wait a while), a number for registering on the service. This will be your official, business number and will be used when interacting with customers. It’s best if this is a separate number altogether, so you might want to take a new SIM. The reason for this is WhatsApp’s verification process. WhatsApp only allows one mobile number to be linked to one WhatsApp account. If your current number is already being used by WhatsApp, you cannot use it for a WhatsApp Business account.

What happens if you own just one SIM card and one smartphone? Well, you will have to move your current WhatsApp account details to your WhatsApp Business profile. Mind you, I said “move” not copy. Yes, even if you have both apps installed on your single SIM phone, you will only be able to use one or the other on it.

 

What are the messaging tools available?

There are plenty of messaging tools that let you, as a business, set ‘quick replies’ to ensure that they can quickly send answers to frequently asked questions. You can also give your virtual business a reception desk by setting up greeting messages that introduce customers to your business. WhatsApp Business also allows for custom ‘away messages’ for use during off hours or when the owners are busy.

 

WhatsApp‘s aim to help improve businesses is sure satisfied using this application!