WhatsApp Business API: Full Guide 2024
| 16 min
WhatsApp Business is the new normal and if you want to compete, you need to be present. Whether you are in e-commerce, travel, automotive, HR or retail, WhatsApp Business offers the opportunity to provide your customers with an unforgettable experience with your brand.
A few years back, WhatsApp Business launched the API specifically for medium to large businesses. As a result, you can now manage large numbers of WhatsApp messages, collaborate with your team and automate time-consuming processes.
In this article, we take you through everything you need to know about the WhatsApp Business API in 2024. This is the indispensable guide to the WhatsApp Business API that everyone has been waiting for!
What is WhatsApp Business API?
The WhatsApp Business API is a tool specifically designed for businesses worldwide to communicate securely and efficiently with their customers. In short, the WhatsApp Business API is a more advanced version of the WhatsApp Business App.
Although the API is a paid service, its benefits are undeniable. From enhanced security to an array of additional features, the WhatsApp Business API allows businesses to maximize their online sales performance.
The API acts as a mediator that lets different software applications talk to each other. Compare it to a waiter in a restaurant taking your order to the kitchen and serving your dish.
To get the most out of the WhatsApp Business API, it is important to partner with a certified provider and link it to their existing software. This will allow you to take advantage of advanced features such as automatic replies, send lists, chatbots and much more!
The difference between the WhatsApp Business app and the API?
Using WhatsApp as a business can be done roughly in two different ways: through WhatsApp Business, part of Facebook or via WhatsApp API.
Which way is most convenient for you depends on your organization. We've listed the differences between the two ways below.
The main difference between the two options, concerns the amount of users. WhatsApp Business can be used with one user at a time.
If you want to make use of multiple users you actually end up with an API very quickly. Watermelon is an official provider of the WhatsApp API.
💡 Get to use WhatsApp API easily with our Whatsapp Chatbot Integration.
However, if one user is enough for you and you only plan to use the app, the WhatsApp Business app is sufficient for your organization.
Given the volume of messages that pour in daily, the WhatsApp Business API is highly recommended for e-commerce businesses. It allows you to respond quickly, a reliability that customers appreciate.
The first interaction customers have with a dealership can be all-important. With the WhatsApp Business API, customers can easily ask questions about the car of their interest without ending up in a lengthy phone conversation.
This efficient communication channel saves the sales team a lot of time, especially if you consider automation in your communication strategy.
Using automation and chatbots, routine questions - such as model availability, color options or financing plans - can be answered immediately, allowing the sales team to focus on more complex questions and personal interactions.
Handling the daily volume of online customer messages can be challenging. The WhatsApp Business API offers a solution here through automation, chatbots and broadcasting, while maintaining a reliable corporate image.
🛠️ Check our Whatsapp Chatbot Implementation: Chatbot for E-Commerce
Success in retail relies heavily on effective communication; message data generated by tools such as Watermelon are indispensable in this regard. The ability to analyze customer interactions and message data can give retailers insight into customer behavior, preferences and needs.
Financial technology, often the engine behind modern payment and banking services, requires not only precision, speed and reliability, but also an impeccable user experience. With these developments in mind, we see how fintech companies are constantly working to innovate. Here, the WhatsApp Business API plays a key role.
This tool provides not only a direct communication channel between the service provider and the customer, but also the ability to share information in real time about transactions, account updates or potential security risks.
🛠️ Check our Whatsapp Chatbot Implementation: Chatbot for Financial Services
By combining the WhatsApp Business API with advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and data analytics, fintech companies can further refine their services.
In an industry where communication is at the core, it is essential to optimize every point of contact with the customer. The WhatsApp Business API can be a game-changer for telecom companies, especially given the challenges they face on a daily basis.
The immediacy and personal nature of WhatsApp allows customers to get answers to their questions quickly, increasing satisfaction. Moreover, the API allows the automation of frequently asked questions, which relieves the customer service team.
This automation can be used, for example, for standard information on tariffs or to solve common technical problems. In addition, the API allows telecom companies to simplify complex operational processes, such as updating customer data or handling payments.
HR & Recruitment
The human resources department is the backbone of any company. The constant challenge of recruiting and retaining talent, combined with repetitive queries and operational procedures, can be overwhelming for HR teams. The WhatsApp Business API can help with this by automating common questions and processes, allowing the team to focus on what really matters.
🛠️ Check our Chatbot Use Case: Chatbot for HR & Recruitment
Whether you work in one of these industries or not, if your business is dealing with extensive communication needs, the WhatsApp Business API may be the tool you need to take it to the next level.
10 benefits of WhatsApp Business API
When your team has to deal with numerous messages every day, it's almost impossible to meet these expectations. By using the API through a tool like Watermelon, you can automate conversations and workflows. This saves both your team and your customers valuable time.
An automated response ensures that every customer always receives a response. This can range from a message outside business hours to a welcome message during the day.
Quick replies allow you to answer frequently asked questions. Regular actions you can automate so your team can focus on the actual conversation with the customer.
WhatsApp chatbot building
For efficiency, a chatbot is ideal. In general, chatbots can reduce customer service time by first screening customer needs.
Then the customer can be automatically routed to the appropriate department for answers. Find out how to set up a WhatsApp chatbot for your business in our article.
💡 Build your own WhatsApp Chatbot with our guide: How To Build Your Own WhatsApp Chatbot
Send messages in bulk
Do you have a popular product that sells out quickly? Want to inform customers about a system failure or a new collection? WhatsApp Bulk Messages allow you to reach many people at once.
Use the WhatsApp Business API as a marketing tool. Send personalized bulk messages for a personalized experience. For example, a great application is to send newsletters via WhatsApp.
Add a WhatsApp chat to your website
A WhatsApp chat on your website helps customers find their way around. Continuing the conversation after the customer has left your website is a great advantage of WhatsApp over a regular live chat.
Using answer buttons
Answer buttons offer the solution, when customers want the ability to answer directly. Speed up the conversation and save time for both your customer and your team. Answer buttons are ideal for common situations.
In addition to regular communication, you can use the API to send automatic notifications to customers, such as order confirmations or shipment updates. Integrate your webshop software with the API for this functionality.
Measure customer happiness and performance
As a manager, you want to know how your team is performing. With the API via Watemelon, you get in-depth insights into all customer interactions.
Combine all your communication channels in one inbox
Customers communicate through many different channels. With the WhatsApp Business API, you can combine all these channels into one inbox.
The WhatsApp Business API allows businesses to manage messages with multiple users. Useful for businesses that receive a lot of messages.
Be verified on WhatsApp
The green checkmark on WhatsApp shows the trustworthiness of a business. It indicates that your business has been verified by Meta. A great first impression for customers and a sign of authenticity
When using the WhatsApp Business App, only the phone number is shown. But with the WhatsApp Business API, businesses have an official account. With verification, the risk of blocking or banning your WhatsApp business account is avoided.
WhatsApp Business API costs: what to expect
In addition to the initial investment, there are also monthly costs for using Whatsapp Business API. The cost is for account maintenance, the cost of which can vary by BPS.
When considering partnering with a BPS, it is important to consider your value. What do you want to get back for your investment?
In doing so, you can explore options for implementing a chatbot to get more out of your investment. Watermelon offers a GPT-4 chatbot including Whatsapp integration starting at €399 per month.
Cost per conversation
For the WhatsApp Business API, you pay based on the number of conversations you have with customers. Depending on who starts the conversation, your customer or your business, the cost may vary, also the cost is location dependent and there is a fixed price for users in the Netherlands.
The API solution offers the first 1000 conversations per month for free for all API users. Subsequently, the costs for each type of dialogue depend on the country where your business is located, the following rates apply for the Netherlands in euro's:
Marketing: 0.184 (initiated by the company)
Utility: 0.092 (initiated by the company)
Authentication: 0.083 (initiated by the company)
Service: 0.103 (initiated by the user)
As the name suggests, Marketing conversations are conversations initiated by companies to promote a product or service to customers. You can send your registered customers relevant offers, good deals, or information about products being back in stock.
Under the Utility category are initiated by companies and often relate to transactions. This includes information about purchases, confirmations, post-purchase notifications, and periodic invoice summaries for customers who have registered for this.
With Authentication conversations, security is essential. Thanks to authentication templates, it is possible to verify users with one-time passwords at various times during login or verification procedures, such as when creating an account, account recovery, and other situations where identity confirmation is necessary.
Important to know: Every conversation started by companies that do not fall under Authentication or Utility is categorized as a Marketing conversation.
All conversations that are initiated by users, often to resolve a customer inquiry.
Costs for setting up a Whatsapp Business API go through Business Solution Providers (BSPs). Some PSPs charge an initial fee for setting up the account. This fee can be as high as €1000 with certain provider, important to note that not every provider offers a pricing structure.
The cost of setting up Whatsapp Business API can be overwhelming, especially considering that the actual setup is not complex. Fortunately, there are providers like Watermelon where you pay no cost for initiation.
Tutorial: Using WhatsApp Business app
Download the app
Start by downloading the WhatsApp Business app from the Apple App Store or the Android Store. As with any other app, installation is easy.
Just make sure you have a smartphone with a functioning camera for scanning QR codes and that you have an active phone number at your disposal.
Verify your phone number
To ensure that your business account remains separate from your personal account, it is advisable to use a different phone number and device for the WhatsApp Business app. Keep in mind that both apps cannot function together on one device.
Set your name, status and type of business
Once you've installed the app and verified your number, it's time to set up your business profile.
Step 1: Navigate to "company settings. Enter your business details here, upload a professional logo, specify your opening hours and choose the appropriate business category that suits your organization.
Step 2: Determine your availability. By setting up a clear absence notice, customers will know exactly when to expect a response. Do you intend to be available 24/7? Then consider the advanced options through the API.
Automate or manual?
Watermelon offers you several options. Do you want to fully automate communication, respond to messages manually, or a combination of both?
Think carefully about what best suits your customers' needs and expectations. If in doubt, Watermelon's Customer Success Team is always available to advise you.
Create a greeting
Step 1: Make sure your company profile is complete and up-to-date.
Step 2: Set up a welcome message. Let customers know when to expect a response, especially if you are not available 24/7. For those who want to be always available, an advanced roadmap is available through the API.
Start building a Whatsapp chatbot through Watermelon
Have we convinced you of the importance of the WhatsApp Business API? When you choose Whatsapp as your WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, the process to get started with the API is as follows:
At Watermelon, we make it easy for you. You don't need to code to build a Whatsapp chatbot. You add the chatbot's knowledge to a chatbot by, for example, adding a link from your website or a document to your chatbot's domain knowledge
Consider different conversation scenarios and make sure your chatbot's tone matches your brand identity. Are you new to this field? We have a comprehensive article that will help you step by step in setting up a WhatsApp chatbot.
💡 Read our guide to choose the Best AI Chatbot
Go live with your Whatsapp API integration!
After all the preparations, it's time to go live. This is the opportunity to test your chatbot's domain knowledge and adjust it if necessary.
Spend time updating the knowledge based on your customers' feedback and questions. It is better to start with a solid foundation and make additions as you go along.
You have now gone through all the steps and are ready to use the WhatsApp Business app optimally for your business! Want to know more about the additional features Watermelon offers?
Then dive deeper into our integrations and discover how we work seamlessly with other customer service software.
Getting started with WhatsApp Business API with Watermelon
In the dynamic world of digital communication, the WhatsApp Business API offers unprecedented opportunities. However, choosing the right platform is crucial. Watermelon is one such platform that offers an integrated experience.
With intuitive web and mobile interfaces, Watermelon offers smooth integration with the WhatsApp Business API and other messaging platforms. In addition, there is the ability to link Watermelon to existing CRM systems, providing a seamless onboarding experience. And it doesn't stop here there are exciting new features constantly in development.
Examples of powerful WhatsApp chatbots
Read here the success stories of our customers and their chatbots. Real experiences and extremely satisfied responses. Let yourself be inspired by their stories and discover what our WhatsApp Chatbot can also mean for your business.
WhatsApp Chatbot for Customer Service
How Erdee Media B.V. automated 50% of their conversations
Erdee Media B.V. has been a satisfied Watermelon customer for almost two years. Recently, they redesigned their chatbot to launch it on WhatsApp. They communicated and celebrated this occasion with the whole organization.
A chatbot as an additional communication channel
The idea to implement a chatbot emerged as an additional communication channel for their target audience who are also working during office hours. Many of their subscribers are older, but they felt it was essential to be able to assist the younger target group at all times too. They decided to create a chatbot that could report any question or problem directly to the department where Nadine and Marc work, so they could address it immediately. Initially, the chatbot was primarily intended for subscribers, but later they added a flow regarding the delivery.
The number of conversations continues to grow and the chatbot is delivering more and more. Now the main goal is to grow the number of WhatsApp conversations even more. About 900 conversations per month are now coming in, of which more than a third are via WhatsApp and the remaining via the website widget. Half of the conversations are handled by chatbot Julia without the intervention of a human employee and more than half of the conversations take place outside office hours. This reduces mailbox traffic and frees up time for other things. It's hard to say exactly how much time this amounts to because time easily fills up, but it's estimated to be about an hour per day per person!
Read more: Click here
WhatsApp Chatbot for E-Commerce
The story of Kitcentrum.nl
“We made it possible for our customer service team to work more effectively and have more fun,” says Felix, e-commerce manager at Kitcentrum. This is all thanks to their chatbot: Kittie. The chatbot has been live for just a few months, but has already answered or referred thousands of customer questions. “We’re not spending our precious time answering FAQ all day, our phone lines aren’t ringing off the hook.
We knew it was time for a chatbot
“Before we had Kittie the chatbot, we answered every customer question manually,” says Felix, the e-commerce manager. “Since we grew so tremendously quickly, naturally the number of incoming questions grew with us. While we were busy processing orders, we also needed to answer all the incoming questions coming in from everywhere. Every morning we’d arrive to find our inbox full of questions; every day we spent time providing the same answer to many of those questions. It was basically a full time job. When you have to give the same answer to the same question thirty times a day, at some point you think ‘There has to be a better way’.”
Statistics, live chats and tags
There are a number of features in the Watermelon platform that help Kitcentrum automate their customer service. “I already named the website widget for live chat, and the powerful statistics - but we also work with a number of human agents in the platform. We can transfer conversations from the customer service team to our team of technical advisors. We also are big fans of the tag function, to keep track of things like how many times advice has been given, the nature of the advice, how many complaints have come in… we get a load of valuable information from the tags.”
Read more: Click here
Is the WhatsApp Business API free of charge?
No, the WhatsApp Business API is not free. It is primarily designed for medium to large businesses and comes with costs that vary based on usage.
How can I obtain a WhatsApp Business API token?
To obtain a token, you must first create a Facebook App, link it to your WhatsApp Business Account, and then complete the setup in the Facebook Business Manager. Once set up, you can generate an API token.
How can I gain access to the WhatsApp Business API?
To gain access, businesses need to apply through the WhatsApp Business API website. Upon approval, they can set up their WhatsApp Business Account and follow the provided documentation for integration.
What functionalities does the WhatsApp Business API offer?
The API offers functionalities like sending and receiving messages, sending notifications, managing contacts, automating responses, and accessing message templates.
How can I use the WhatsApp API in C#?
To use the WhatsApp API in C#, you will typically use an HTTP client to make requests to the API endpoints. There are libraries and SDKs available that can help simplify this process. Refer to the official documentation and relevant C# libraries for detailed implementation.
Which provider offers the WhatsApp API?
The WhatsApp Business API is officially provided by WhatsApp/Facebook. However, several third-party providers offer integration services and additional features to help businesses use the API effectively.