WhatsApp is taking over the world and someone ought do something about it. That someone is you, and we are here to help you with a very special Woztell article.

Take a deep breath, today is the season finale of our Partner Talk series. Our host has distilled the very best of the series into a single post that will help you understand WhatsApp and do what you must to make the most of it.

When we asked him for his impressions the first thing he said was:

“Some people say that the only certain things in life are death and taxes, but after interviewing some of the best people in the business I am starting to think that WhatsApp should be added to the list. “

How is this article going to help you understand WhatsApp?

Partner Talks started off as an experiment and, at first, we weren’t really sure what we were going to get. We knew that WhatsApp is growing fast and is popular all over the world but we felt this was only half of the story.

The other half came in the form of anecdotes from our partners so we decided to dig deeper and let the world hear what our partners had to say. The result has been a unique series of interviews whose key takeaways have been distilled in this article.

Our goal today will be to help you understand why WhatsApp is growing, how it is being used in different parts of the world and in different industries.

Penetration and frequency are key indicators of WhatsApp’s success

Headlines and numbers from DataReportal tell us that WhatsApp has already passed the 2 billion active users threshold and its the third most used social platform in the world.

The two billion figure would put WhatsApp in the hands of just over a quarter of the whole population, but that’s not the whole story.

world's most-used social platforms

Talking to partners like Danilo from Brazil, or Jacob from Spain we learned that, in some countries, the platform is so widespread that it is considered strange to find someone that does not use it.

This story is backed up statistics focused on the time users spent on the app. In countries like Brazil the average user spends more than 30 hours per month on WhatsApp.

This may not seem like much until we realize that the average messaging interaction is quite short and a total of 30h of monthly usage actually implies an enormous number of short interaction spread throughout the day. Or, in other words, it means users are constantly checking the app, keep it on the top of their mind, and consider it important for their day-to-day lives.

This high frequency of use is key to the extremely high open rates (usually over 90%, reported by most of our clients) and is the reason why, despite the short sessions, users in countries like Brazil spend more time on Whatsapp than on YouTube or Netflix.

Culture impacts of WhatsApp usage

In the last episode of this season, we interviewed one of our Indian partners, Deepa Govind. She introduced us to the complexity of the Indian market, with its 20+ languages and multiple writing systems, and pointed out a number of unique aspects.

It was interesting to compare her perspective with that of Jaime from Mexico. The two countries were very different in terms of number of languages and overall level of access to technology, but it had some surprising similarities.

Both Jaime and Deepa reported that many people in their countries used WhatsApp to avoid phone charges, preferring audio messages over phone calls.

On topics like automation, however, their cultural experiences were exact opposites.

Jaime reported that Mexican users strongly preferred natural language chatbots while Deepa mentioned that in India bots that used buttons, images and other visual interfaces tended to work better.

Businesses and WhatsApp

All of our partners reported that businesses in their countries were quickly adopting WhatsApp in response to changing customer and employee habits. They also noted that this change seems to be happening fast, almost too fast, for some companies.

We say too fast, because in many of the interviews we heard stories of companies that, unaware of the dangers, where using makeshift solutions, exposing themselves to great risks and crippling their efficiency.

As Kevin from Novazys pointed out in the episode about education, there is an overall lack of practical business education in universities, especially on topics like conversational commerce and digitalization. As a consequence, managers are often familiar with the abstract principles behind why they should use tools like WhatsApp for business but don’t understand how turn them into a business reality.

Watch WhatsApp API in action

With the help of the WhatsApp API and Woztell, organizations can benefit from the distinction between professional and personal life. It is a smart solution that greatly improves the use of WhatsApp.

The problem with personal WhatsApps

The lack of knowledge and awareness mentioned by Kevin was echoed in many accounts related to the issue of personal WhatsApp accounts.

Personal accounts are the ones most people are familiar with, and come as default when installing the app. As a consequence many businesses and employees simply download the app and start using the personal WhatsApp account for their business communication.

This solution, along with WhatsApp Business, works fine on a small scale, especially for one-person businesses. On a larger scale, however, it can lead to trouble. The challenge is that both account types are tied to a single phone and were never meant for use outside of a single mobile phone.

As a consequence, anything that happens to that phone will affect the conversations that are on it and the messages that it received. If, for example, the phone dies or is stolen, all records of past conversations will be lost.

Lost clients and legal troubles

All our partners had numerous examples to share of what happens when an incorrect solution is chosen. Our Spanish partner Sagitaz, for instance, recounted the case of a company whose employees were using personal accounts for work purposes and found itself in legal trouble when it was unable to retrieve messages that proved what a client had agreed to.

Our Brazilian partner provided a different angle, but a similar story, relating how a real estate company lost customers because its sales people were using personal WhatsApp numbers and, when they switch companies, brought the leads to their new jobs.

Stories like these were very common in all of our partner interviews and were often accompanied by the eventual solution of the problem with the use of a proper, WhatsApp API based solution.

Increased efficiency and lower costs

On the brighter side, our interviews also revealed the power of a well-designed and integrated WhatsApp solution.

Kevin from Novazys also explained that the implementation of WhatsApp Business API solutions often had unexpected positive effects on large parts of the economy, caused by the spread of improved efficiency and better customer experience.

waba efficency

He pointed out that when a company improves the way in which it communicates with customers it lowers costs, but also raises the level of service that customers expect from other companies. To stay competitive these companies have to implement similar solutions, resulting in a general improvement in customer experience and efficiency.

As Kevin explained, these effects could potentially expand beyond the immediate competitive environment of the company since customers tend to get used quickly to these improvements and will soon start to expect them in all the businesses they interact with spreading the effect to the whole economy.

The power of automation

The key to many of these efficiency gains is the power of automation.

Using WhatsApp Business API allows our partners to create solutions that interact with the customer without human intervention, assist human agents in their work and extract intelligence or data from conversations.

On the simple end of the scale we had examples like that of a Brazilian retailer that provided automated status updates to customers about their orders. By doing so, they increased customer satisfaction and reduced the load on its customer service centre.

On the more complex side, there were  different cases. As the one that Jaime of HOLD Marketing related, that built a chatbot for a car insurance company that was able to determine the seriousness of an accident via WhatsApp. The bot would automatically escalate to a human agent all serious issues, and deal directly with minor issues like bumped cars and fender benders.

As Jaime pointed out, business, at its core, is a game of efficiency. The more efficient a company is, the better it will serve its customers and the more competitive it will be.

Saving businesses with scalability

Businesses usually start using WhatsApp due to its widespread use in their target market or its lower costs, but end up “staying” and loving it because of gains in efficiency.

A clear example was provided by Jacob of Sagitaz. He mentioned the case of a bike company that found itself facing a spike in demand due to the pandemic-induced cycling boom. However, they had trouble in its supply chain due to pandemic-related factory closures and shipping delays.

The end result was that the company was swamped with messages coming from both leads wanting to buy bikes and customers wanting updates on their orders. The company soon realised it was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Not answering messages would cause unhappy customers and lost leads that would ultimately lead to lower profits. Answering them would require hiring more staff, resulting in an increased cost and, again, to lower profits.

The problem was solved by Sagitaz with a chatbot that, using Woztell and WhastApp Business API, was able to categorize incoming messages, answer most of them, and redirect the rest to a human agent.

People and expertise matter

Another key takeaway was that people and their expertise make all the difference. Knowing the local context, the right tools and being able to advise companies on the best way to use them is essential to a business’ success.

As one of our Mexican partners said, integration and automation are key, and as Deepa pointed out, there is no substitute for local knowledge. On our side we are always happy to add new partners and if you’d like to become one do not hesitate to reach out to learn more.

If you are a business that is looking to start using WhatApp Business API, our team will be happy to help and, if needed, recommend the right partner to build a customized solution.

Right now our partner and marketing teams are already working hard to prepare the next season of partner talk and would love to hear your feedback to make the next season even better. We would like to thank everyone that helped both on camera and behind the scenes and look forward to see you all again soon.

Shortcuts and links to key resources

If you’d like more information or want to find the right interview to watch here’s a few tips and links that might be useful:

Videos by region:

Videos by topic:

All our videos also come with subtitles and articles in English summarizing their content. If you’d prefer a webinar, click here to see our full list.

Watch WhatsApp API in action

With the help of the WhatsApp API and Woztell, organizations can benefit from the distinction between professional and personal life. It is a smart solution that greatly improves the use of WhatsApp.