WhatsApp announces updates to Business API

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Wednesday announced updates to its ‘WhatsApp Business API’ that will significantly cut down the time it takes for businesses to get set up on the platform, while also making it easier for people to interact with the businesses.

The company, which is currently facing opposition in India over its news privacy rules, added that people remained in control of their chats. They still needed to reach out to start a conversation or request a business contact them via WhatsApp. “With these updates, we’re also providing new ways for people to give greater feedback about the experience they are having if they have a reason to block a business,” the Facebook-owned firm said in a blog.

The update, it added, would cut down the time it takes for businesses to get up and running from weeks to just five minutes. “Whether a business wants to work with a business solution provider or get support directly from Facebook in the future, these improvements will make it easier for more medium and larger businesses to have customer conversations on WhatsApp,” it said.

WhatsApp added it was also improving how businesses can communicate with their customers. For example, businesses were often limited to sending timely notifications, which made it difficult to follow up with customers outside of a 24-hour window. “So now we’ll support more types of messages — to let people know when an item is back in stock, for example.”

The company said that periodic updates from health authorities about responding to the pandemic had been helpful. WhatsApp said it wanted to make this kind of service available for more types of conversations.

“We’re also rolling out new messaging features that can help people get business done faster. New list messages present a menu of up to 10 options so people no longer need to type out a response. Reply buttons will allow people to quickly make a selection from up to three options with just a quick tap that a business can set ahead of time through their WhatsApp Business API account,” it added.

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