Trying to use WhatsApp for your business but bumping into seemingly simple problems? This post is for you. We’ll walk you through how to use respond.io as a WhatsApp CRM. Show you how to solve common problems like using WhatsApp Business for multiple users, import WhatsApp Contacts, send them the first message, and even WhatsApp broadcasts. The WhatsApp Business you always wanted is here. 🙂
- Getting a WhatsApp Business API Account
- Choosing a WhatsApp CRM Provider
- Connecting a WhatsApp Integration to Respond.io
- Using WhatsApp Business with Multiple Users
- Importing WhatsApp Contacts from a Customer List
- Send The First Message Using a Template Message
- Send a WhatsApp Broadcast Using Template Message
- Sending WhatsApp Notifications
WhatsApp CRM: Understanding The Basics
There are two types of WhatsApp Business Accounts – WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp Business App is designed for small businesses in mind, while WhatsApp Business API was created for SMEs and Enterprise.
At first glance, WhatsApp Business App seems perfect because it's free and easy to set up. However, it is quite difficult to use WhatsApp Business App with multiple users and there is no way to connect WhatsApp Business API to any business software or service.
WhatsApp Business API is just that, an API. This means you’ll be able to connect your WhatsApp Business Account to software like respond.io. To open a WhatsApp Business API for your company, you’ll need to apply for one through a WhatsApp Partner.
Getting a WhatsApp Business API Account
In order to avoid spammers or illicit companies getting API accounts, WhatsApp has made applying for an account a multi-step process. You’ll need to select a WhatsApp Partner, submit your business details, and wait a day or two for approval.
There are several Partners to choose from. Select a Partner based on their ability to provide or port the phone number of your choice and the API features they support. Last but not least, you’ll want to evaluate WhatsApp Partners based on their pricing.
To make things easier we’ve partnered with a WhatsApp Partner to offer the cheapest WhatsApp Business API account on the market. This offer is only available to respond.io customers. Once you’ve got your account ready it’s time to choose a WhatsApp CRM.
Choosing a WhatsApp CRM Provider
Since API accounts have no front-end interface, once your account is approved you’ll need to connect a WhatsApp CRM to start messaging. Originally, WhatsApp intended for companies to connect their in-house CRMs – this is not possible for many businesses.
Ideally, you’d connect a CRM that works out of the box but there aren’t many options for two main reasons. Most CRMs are still working on adding a messaging UI. And a CRM would need to integrate with each WhatsApp Partner rather than just one WhatsApp API.
That’s why the most important criteria for choosing a WhatsApp CRM would be if they have a WhatsApp API integration for the WhatsApp Partner you created your account with. Then you’ll need to choose between CRMs based on features and pricing.
At a minimum, look for desktop and mobile apps, the ability to import customers as WhatsApp Contacts, and the ability to send Template Messages. To accommodate both Sales and Support teams you’ll need more features, but more on that later.
We recommend you give respond.io a try. It has a free plan that is not feature limited, connects to the most popular WhatsApp Partners, and was designed from scratch with WhatsApp Integration in mind. Here’s how you get started.
Connecting a WhatsApp Integration to Respond.io
With an API account and a free respond.io account ready, it’s time to connect and start messaging customers. The process of connecting will always involve getting a token or webhook from the WhatsApp Partner platform, adding it to respond.io & vice versa.
Generally, there are a set of tokens and webhooks for each WhatsApp number you connect. To connect please follow the Step by Step guide for the WhatsApp Business API Integration of your choice. Now let’s move on to using your new WhatsApp CRM.
WhatsApp CRM: 5 Quick Wins To Get You Started
There are a ton of different use cases and workflows possible by using Respond.io with WhatsApp Business integration. But we’re going to start with five quick things you can do to get the best out of your WhatsApp Integration on day one.
1. Using WhatsApp Business With Multiple Users
Using WhatsApp Business with multiple users is one of the most well-known concerns with WhatsApp Business. With respond.io as your WhatsApp CRM, you can quickly and easily invite Users to your Space and organize them into Teams.
To get started, go to Settings > Users and press Add User. Each user is added with their own permission levels – owner, manager, or agent. Once you’ve added all you’re Users you can head to Settings > Teams to organize your users into groups.
2. Importing WhatsApp Contacts From A Customer List
To get started with any CRM it’s best when you can just import your entire customer list as Contacts. Respond.io supports importing one Contact at a time, multiple Contacts at a time, or importing & syncing Contacts on the fly using a Contacts API.
To import WhatsApp Contacts, go to Contacts > Add Contact and drag the CSV file to the designated field. Then click Import. Now that you’ve imported your WhatsApp Contacts, it’s time to send them the first message, for this you’ll need to use a Template Message.
3. Send The First Message Using a Template Message
WhatsApp Business API has Session and Template messaging limitions. If a customer messages you, you can reply withing 24h using a regular (Session) Message. Otherwise you’ll need to use a pre-approved Template Message to message the customer.
Importing a Contact is one of those cases, since the customer has never messaged you over WhatsApp, you’ll need to send the first message using a Template Message. First, submit the Template Message for approval, then import the message to respond.io.
Now that you have your Template Message approved and ready to send, find the Contact in the Messages Module and press Send Message Template in the input bar, fill in the details. Congrats you’ve sent the first message to one imported customer.
4. Sending a WhatsApp Broadcast Using Template Messages
If you’re importing hundreds or thousands of customers at a time, you won’t be able to send a Template Message one at a time, that is too slow. The best thing to do would be to send your first Template Message as a broadcast from the Broadcast Module.
Each Contact import adds a tag to the Contacts. Use this tag to target those Contacts in a Broadcast. If you’ve left a place holder for the Contact name, be sure to use dynamic variables in order to fill in Contact names in the Template placeholders.
5. Sending WhatsApp Notifications
If you’re not importing Contacts to message 1 on 1 you’ll likely be looking to send WhatsApp Notifications to your Contacts through WhatsApp. Once you’ve imported your customers to respond.io, you’ll be able to send notifications through the Messages API.
However, before you do please be sure to upvote the Messages API 2.0 Feature Request, by doing so you’ll be notified of the update which will enable a ton more possibilities when it comes to notifications. Now let’s discuss using WhatsApp for Sales & Support.
WhatsApp CRM: Using a WhatsApp Integration for Sales & Support
Even before the first WhatsApp CRM products were released onto the market there were plenty of companies using WhatsApp for Sales or using WhatsApp for Support. This isn’t hard. The difficult thing is using WhatsApp for Sales AND Support at the same time.
Companies using email and phone often segment conversations by creating different emails and phone numbers for sales & support. The benefit is that different departments can own their channels, but conversations get siloed resulting in a poor experience.
Since WhatsApp will likely not approve different accounts for sales and support, companies will need to use the same WhatsApp number for both. The first step to achieving this is by asking Contacts about their needs with automated chat onboarding.
Setting up Contact Onboarding is as simple as creating a survey and sending using automation rules to send it to every new conversation started. Once you’ve got an idea of what the Contact needs, you can route the Contact to the correct team.
WhatsApp CRM Use Cases: Sales
Contact assignment helps your sales team stay organized. There are two ways to assign Contacts. Smaller businesses may use the Picking method, where sales agents manually assign a pending Contact to themselves or others (1). And then there’s Auto Assignment.
Auto Assignment is suitable for large companies that deal with a high volume of incoming messages. To activate this feature, navigate to Settings > Automatic Assignment and enable the toggle. Then select the auto-assignment method that best suits you.
There are two ways to auto-assign Contacts, Round Robin which assigns Contacts equally and Assign to User with Least Contacts. Regardless of the assignment mode, you can choose to assign to online agents only to ensure prompt response.
Stealing leads is a real problem in the sales industry. Restricting agents’ Contact View to just the Mine tab can help to avoid this (2). This feature is still in development, but you can make a View private or restrict it to select users.
Snooze helps sales agents to follow-up with their clients. Snoozed Contacts will be temporarily hidden from the list and reappear after a specific time. Once un-Snoozed, contacts will remain assigned to the same agent.
Contacts can be Snoozed by pressing the alarm icon at the top right of the Messages Module (3). Next, select the time for how long the Contact will be snoozed. Alternatively, you may pick a time and date for Contacts to reappear.
WhatsApp CRM Use Cases: Support
We’ve covered how Respond.io with WhatsApp integration can be used for sales. But did you know Respond.io makes an excellent customer support system too?
The Picking method is perfect for a small team of customer support agents. Agents may assign a pending support request to themselves or another agent from the dropdown menu (1). They may also reassign a case to their supervisor if it needs to be escalated.
Auto Assignment is designed for enterprise that handles a large number of customer enquiries. Auto Assignment will also come in handy during peak season when a surge in messages is expected, ensuring every inquiry is responded in a timely manner.
Support agents can archive a resolved inquiry by marking it Done (2). Contact Assignment and Mark Done work in tandem to reduce the workload of managers and agents, allowing them to focus on resolving customer issues.
This is how you make full use of Respond.io with WhatsApp integration for sales and support messaging. If you’re interested to learn how other companies are doing WhatsApp sales and WhatsApp customer support, we recommend you read these three articles.