There’s no denying a CRM integration with WhatsApp provides many benefits for growing and established businesses. But first, there are certain things you need to understand about these integrations and sort out.
Running a growing small and medium enterprise? We’re going to start by making two quick assumptions about your business:
- You have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system in place
- You use WhatsApp Business to communicate with your customers
The former organizes customer data and improves customer service and relations. Considering WhatsApp’s massive influence and reach as the world’s most popular messaging app, not fulfilling the latter would mean missing out on a huge opportunity to nurture your customers.
If you’ve been using the two separately, you’ll know that having to juggle and switch between them isn’t all that efficient. The good news is, WhatsApp allows CRM integrations so that you can consolidate your customer relationship efforts into one single channel for a more effective workflow.
Whether you’re using leading software such as Salesforce and HubSpot or other lesser-known ones, juggle no more—it’s time to merge it with your WhatsApp communication efforts. That way, your agents can work more efficiently, provide better customer service, boost customer retention, drive sales, and ultimately grow your business.
Right. All that sounds extremely attractive and you can’t wait to jump right into it. But before you start integrating WhatsApp with your CRM, there are certain things to keep in mind and get ready.
In this post, we’ll be taking a look at five things you need to know before integrating your CRM with WhatsApp.
1. Registering WhatsApp API Numbers
Integrating WhatsApp with your CRM requires a WhatsApp API account. Because WhatsApp API accounts are linked to a phone number, the number used must be a valid one and owned by the business.
Unlike the regular WhatsApp app (be it personal or WhatsApp Business), the number used for the API can be a landline or a mobile phone number. As long as it’s capable of receiving either voice calls or SMS, it’s good to go.
If you’re already using the free WhatsApp Business app and are upgrading to the WhatsApp API, you may transfer that number to the API. However, this will require deleting the original account set up for the WhatsApp Business app.
Also, note that any onboarded WhatsApp API numbers are non-transferable. This means that once you’ve selected a number for your WhatsApp API, it cannot be used for other WhatsApp API accounts.
2. Messaging Restrictions
Integrating your CRM with WhatsApp means having the possibility to communicate with your customers via the world’s most popular chat app, which, chances are, the majority of them (if not all) are already on.
Given WhatsApp’s two billion-strong user base, you may think that it makes for a great marketing channel. Though it may seem like the most ideal way to disseminate promotional messages and boost brand awareness, shortcuts in business hardly ever exist and this is something you need to be extremely careful with.
First of all, having a customer’s WhatsApp number on file does not mean you’re allowed to message them freely. That’s because WhatsApp API messaging is via opt-ins only.
As per WhatsApp’s policy:
In order to initiate a WhatsApp message to a person, you must first receive opt-in permission confirming that they wish to receive future messages from you on WhatsApp. The opt-in must (a) clearly state that the person is opting in to receive messages from you over WhatsApp and (b) clearly state your business’ name.
It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
WhatsApp also states that messages initiated by businesses must be what it calls a “message template,” which are essentially transactional messages. Examples of transactional messages include airlines informing passengers of flight changes, ecommerce shipping updates, refund confirmations, and more.
In other words, bulk marketing messages are strictly prohibited.
3. Complying With Data Privacy Laws
One of the benefits of integrating your CRM with WhatsApp is the convenience of being able to run customer support using a shared message inbox that’s accessible by multiple agents.
But to fine-tune and adapt the Peter Parker principle a little: with great convenience comes great responsibility.
With so many eyes on and people managing what could potentially be sensitive information, it’s important to make sure that your usage adheres to WhatsApp’s business policies.
In a nutshell:
- You’re responsible for acquiring the necessary permits to “collect, use, and share” customer data
- Any data collected must only be used to “support messaging”
- Do not ask customers to share “sensitive identifiers” such as personal and financial information
- Do not send and request health-related information
- Do not share customer information with other customers
For more information, we recommend that you give WhatsApp’s Business Policy page a thorough read.
WhatsApp’s policies aside, there may be local privacy laws you may need to comply with, such as the GDPR in the European Union.
Given the sensitivity of these issues and severe penalties that may result from breaching these regulations, this is definitely something you want to sort out before integrating your CRM with WhatsApp.
4. CRMs Offering WhatsApp Integrations
Perhaps one of the most important things to consider is whether the CRM you’re using (or are thinking about using) is compatible and a good fit for a WhatsApp integration.
The good news is, WhatsApp can be integrated with most of the leading CRMs on the market. These include but are not limited to:
- Microsoft Dynamics
Though CRMs vary from one to another, the benefits of integrating WhatsApp with them are largely similar.
As previously mentioned, it provides a shared message inbox that allows access to multiple team members. It also facilitates the sending of broadcast messages and you’re also able to manage and filter your WhatsApp contacts a lot more easily.
5. Accessing WhatsApp Business API
Aside from having an account with the CRM of your choice, another prerequisite to integrating it with WhatsApp is—you guessed it—the WhatsApp Business API.
Obtaining access to the WhatsApp Business API requires applying to WhatsApp themselves for an API account and then getting approved.
Although you can do that yourself by going through parent company Facebook’s developer page, the process can be technical, tedious, and not to mention time-consuming. If you’re well-versed in this field or have a team of web developers that can help, by all means, go for it.
Otherwise, the best way to apply for access is through an official WhatsApp Business Solutions Provider (BSP). Not only will the process be faster, but applications sent in by WhatsApp BSPs also often have higher acceptance rates. Plus, WhatsApp BSPs can also help to set up your interface and other WhatsApp integrations you may need for your business.
WATI is an official and verified WhatsApp BSP and our goal is to help you take your business to the next level. That said, we do not charge for setting up an account or getting approval for access to the WhatsApp API.
WATI is the product of Clare.AI, an innovative startup that brings together cutting-edge digital tools that run on advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide world-class customer communication solutions. The company is trusted by a host of Fortune 500 companies.
Easy and familiar. Similar to WhatsApp interface as the app or web version so you’re not lost.