As a WhatsApp Business user, be it the free app or the API, it’s important to make use of every single tool available to help market your products and grow your business.
That alone, however, is not enough. To really benefit from the world’s most popular app, keeping informed and staying up to date with what is new in WhatsApp is also vital.
In this article, we’ll present to you five new WhatsApp features all businesses need to know about.
These will include features that have been launched recently, as well as those that are still in the works so that you can start thinking about how you can best implement them when communicating with your customers.
Let’s get straight to the list.
WhatsApp New Feature #1: Better Business Messaging
One of the most important new features businesses need to know about is updates to the WhatsApp Business API.
According to WhatsApp’s blog post on the update, they’ve reduced the waiting time to get set up with the API from weeks to five short minutes.
This is both for businesses getting access to the API through a WhatsApp Business Service Provider (like WATI) and those applying directly to Facebook.
This is fantastic news for brands, as it means they can get to enjoy the heaps of benefits that the API offers pretty much instantly.
WhatsApp is also expanding its support for messages that can be sent after the 24-hour window.
As a reminder, until now, businesses can respond to an incoming WhatsApp message as many times as they want in the first 24 hours after receiving the last message. After this window is closed, only certain messages (mostly transactional) can be sent.
(For more information, check out our comprehensive guide on WhatsApp Business best practices.)
Now, however, WhatsApp is amplifying the message types. For example, businesses can also send out messages to inform customers that a particular product is back in stock.
WhatsApp New Feature #2: Disappearing Messages
WhatsApp launched its “view once” feature for messages as recently as August 2021.
What this feature does is allow users to send media files (photos, videos) that can be viewed only once by the recipient.
To do this, open a WhatsApp chat (this works for both private and group chats). Then, either tap on the paperclip icon to select a media file to send to the chat or hit the camera icon to send a picture or video you’ll take right away. These are located right next to the compose message field.
As soon as you do that, you’ll see a “1” icon in the caption bar.
Activate it by tapping on it. You’ll know it’s activated if the icon turns green.
These media files will be deleted from the chat as soon as they’ve been viewed.
Because these files cannot be saved or shared or anyone else, it’s particularly useful when businesses are handling sensitive information, such as images with payment or delivery details.
That said, as a business, you might want to give your customers the option to receive such information via this new WhatsApp feature as it gives them more control over their privacy.
WhatsApp New Feature #3: Join Ongoing Calls
We all know how annoying it is to miss a call by just a fraction of a second. Even though it takes a matter of seconds to ring back, it’s certainly not as efficient as WhatsApp’s new feature.
Introduced in July 2021, WhatsApp now allows video call participants to join a video call that they didn’t manage to pick up.
Of course, the call must still be ongoing to be able to join. All it takes is a simple tap from the “calls” tab in WhatsApp.
You can even view the call participants as well as those who have missed the call before deciding whether you want to join.
Though this may seem like a feature that’s catered more towards private WhatsApp users, with a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking, businesses on WhatsApp can also use it to their advantage.
For instance, businesses can hold call sessions for product previews or launches and invite interested customers to join. With this new WhatsApp feature, participants who miss the initial call have the ability to join at any moment during the course of the call.
The alternative would be for them to miss the call entirely, or end the current call and redial the group, of which the latter may just be too tedious.
For more information on this new WhatsApp feature, check out the official video from WhatsApp itself.
WhatsApp New Feature #4: iOS and Android Chat History Transfer
Good news for private and business users: WhatsApp has introduced the possibility of moving chats from one mobile operating system to another without losing your chat history.
Prior to this, users of the WhatsApp app (be it the chat app or business app) looking to switch from an iPhone to an Android device or vice versa would lose all of their chat histories.
This can be particularly annoying for businesses as it would mean losing records and conversations with customers, which can be detrimental for brands using WhatsApp as a customer support tool.
But with this new WhatsApp feature, businesses can switch operating systems with no worries.
There’s a catch, though. This feature has only been rolled out to Samsung phones running on Android 10 on higher for now. WhatsApp is working on making this available to more devices so keep your eyes peeled for more.
With that, let’s now look at a feature that is still a work in progress.
WhatsApp New Feature #5: Voice Note Transcription
One feature that WhatsApp is working on is the ability to transcribe voice notes.
Right now, there are third-party apps that users can use to convert WhatsApp voice notes into texts. But WhatsApp themselves are also working on their own internal voice message transcription feature.
The company says it’s still in the early stages of “designing and prototyping,” so it’s hard to say just when we can expect it to be launched.
Several reports say the feature was spotted in the WhatsApp iOS app, which means there’s a chance that its first launch will only be available for WhatsApp users on iOS.
This new WhatsApp feature, when launched, can be useful for businesses in several different ways.
To start, with voice notes becoming increasingly popular among WhatsApp users, you may just have customers who prefer to use them when communicating with your business. Its convenience also means that consumers may opt to leave a voice message when they’re not able to type.
These messages may contain information your business needs. Situations like this include when a customer is confirming his delivery address, order number, or tracking number via a voice note.
Instead of having your employees listen to the voice message and fish for this detail, a transcript offers the visual ability to simply copy and paste.
This helps to save time, especially for orders or tracking numbers that are endlessly long.