After launching a payment feature on top of its popular instant messaging platform, WhatsApp is planning to offer customer support features.
The Facebook-owned company is developing some features for enterprises that will include customer support and merchant payments. The features are expected to be rolled out in six to nine months, The Economic Times reported.
The company will use its application programming interface (API) for deploying the new features. Nearly 10 companies have been working on WhatsApp's APIs.
WhatsApp's payments feature will also be expanded to include merchant payments to include enterprise functions, according to the report.
“WhatsApp will most likely use the Facebook Messenger playbook for enterprises. Its services could range from messaging, calls and maybe even payments in the future,” Nikhil Kumar, head of developer ecosystem, IndiaStack, told the business newspaper.
"We are building and testing two new tools that create more value for people and businesses on WhatsApp,” the newspaper quoted a spokesperson as saying.
“In January, we launched WhatsApp Business app for small businesses on Android. We are also testing an enterprise solution for larger businesses. Both tools make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers and share useful information like flight information, delivery confirmations and other updates,” the spokesperson said.
The new feature for SMBs is currently only available for Android. “People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about — from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil. But WhatsApp was built for people and we want to improve the business experience,” the company had said.
With the new app, SMBs can build business profiles, access message statistics such as the number of messages sent, and provide quick replies to frequently asked questions.
The new business app is available in web format just like the main WhatsApp app. Customers will know that they are talking to a business account as they will be listed separately, the instant messaging platform had said.
“Over time, some businesses will have confirmed accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number,” it had said.
According to the company, data collected from SMBs in India in partnership with a Morning Consult study shows that 84% of these small firms think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, and 80% of such firms think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.