People often come to us and ask us how to onboard for the WhatsApp Business API and how long it would take them. This question doesn’t have a simple (or short) answer so we decided to devote some time and explain the process in detail.
But first, some history. In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp, a company that currently has over 2 billion active users of its mobile and web app, in a major acquisition worth $19 billion. In January 2018, WhatsApp decided to introduce WhatsApp Business. The aim was to help small and medium businesses manage their operations more efficiently through the fast, simple and secure messaging and calling app.
In August 2018, soon after the WhatsApp Business app was released, the company began to roll out its messaging service to medium and large businesses through an API. The API was intended for those companies that wanted to engage with their customers through the immensely popular WhatsApp platform.
What does the WhatsApp Business API onboarding process entail?
Honestly, the onboarding process for the WhatsApp Business API will require some time and effort on your part. However, with our help, you’ll get it done in a jiffy. There are two ways in which you can do this:
- Using a business solution provider,
- Building and running your own solution.
Using a business solution provider
Business solution providers (BSPs) are platforms that have the approval to activate a WhatsApp telephone number and send messages from your WhatsApp business account on behalf of your business. The one-to-one approval of the solution itself is required and is likely to be done between the teams of the business that wants to use WhatsApp, and the business solution provider (such as WATI).
As an official WhatsApp business solution provider, WATI can help you deploy WhatsApp as quickly as possible, taking care of almost the entire process for you. These services involve:
- Creating and managing your WhatsApp business account for you,
- Establishing official WhatsApp Business API,
- Managing customer incoming messages through a unified inbox,
- Providing a collaboration platform for your team,
- Delivering data-driven insights.
- Broadcast personalized messages to targeted clients
Although this process demands almost no effort on your part, WATI will require your assistance with the onboarding. Before we begin, there are some things to take care of beforehand. One of them is your Business Manager account.
Business Manager is a Facebook tool that helps you organize and manage your business. If you don’t have it already, now is the time to create one. To create your Business Manager account, you’ll need to have a Facebook profile so you can use your Facebook username and password to sign into Business Manager. Logging in this way is more secure than with just an email and password.
To create a Business Manager, navigate to business.facebook.com/overview and start the Create Account process. It will require you to enter a name for your business, your name, work email address, and your business details.
Do note that you cannot have more than two Business Manager accounts. If you require more, you should enlist the help of another person from your business to create additional accounts.
To create your WhatsApp business account, WATI will request your Business Manager ID via email. To find it, navigate to Business Settings in your Business Manager and then select Business Info. Your Business Manager ID can be found under the Business Manager Account Name.
When WATI (or another BSP of your choice) sends you a “messaging on behalf of” request, you will get a notification in your Business Manager and via email. To allow WATI to approve messaging on your business’ behalf, you’ll need to go to Business Settings in your Business Manager and open Requests. Under Received, you should locate WATI’s request and click Approve.
After you approve the request, it is time to verify your business, policy, and display name in the Business Manager (make sure your display name doesn’t violate WhatsApp Commerce or Business policies and that it follows the guidelines). This is WhatsApp’s way to validate the true identity of a business. To do this, navigate again to Business Settings and click Security Center. Under Verification, click Start Verification.
Do note that the Start Verification will be grayed out until you approve the “messaging on behalf of” request from WATI or another BSP.
To complete the verification of your business, you’ll need to:
- Enter your business details and click Next.
- Choose your business from the list or None of these match if it’s not on the list.
- Confirm the business details and select from the dropdown menu a phone number to which you have access (you might need to upload official documents to prove your business is legit) and click Next.
- Opt whether you want to receive the verification code on your business phone number via phone call or text message, or by email.
- Enter the verification code and click Submit.
That’s it! Now all the checks have been done and your BSP can download the name certificate and register the phone number, as well as proceed with sending the first message on your behalf.
Building and running your own solution(s)
There’s another way to get your business approved and connected with the WhatsApp Business API that doesn’t involve a business solution provider. However, this road is a much more difficult one and will require quite a substantial amount of time and programming knowledge on your part. Specifically, you can opt to run the WhatsApp client on your own and create solutions such as node web calls and webhooks yourself. This method is more suitable for developers.
WATI is more than a business solution provider
The WhatsApp Business Account for Team Inbox and Marketing or WATI isn’t only an official partner of the most popular messaging app and a business solution provider for the WhatsApp Business API.
It also provides businesses with a comprehensive communication platform that allows you and your customer support agents to log in simultaneously from multiple devices and message the public using one and the same WhatsApp number through a single dashboard.
Furthermore, WATI allows your agents to collaborate, send and receive multimedia, create message templates, customize client attributes, as well as monitor your KPIs in a granular form.
Once you’re ready to check what WhatsApp Business Account for Team Inbox and Marketing can do for your business, feel free to request early access by filling up a simple form here. Also, if you have any questions or concerns about the platform, don’t be afraid to ask us on WhatsApp Web on the website or via the app.
WATI is the product of Clare.AI, the AI digital assistant start-up and online tool merging machine learning with proprietary natural language processing technology to create award-winning customer communication experiences. Clare.AI is trusted by multinational enterprises and Fortune 500 companies.
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