By Olajide Osho-Thomas, Sales Manager at Infobip Nigeria
Modern day customers demand more than ever before from brands and businesses, including fast, personalised, reliable and free two-way communication.
Organisations are realising how important it is to reach their customers where they are and on a communication channel that they know and trust, and are increasingly looking to WhatsApp Business API (Application Program Interface) as their preferred platform.
WhatsApp, the world’s most used chat app, used in over 180 countries – recently revealed that its monthly active user numbers surpassed the 2 billion mark. Unsurprisingly, it is also the most widely used chat app on the African continent.
On the other hand, WhatsApp Business API is relatively new to Nigeria, having only been launched about two years ago, and is – at this stage – still a chat app that most people are not familiar with. As such, there are still some security concerns around using the channel, as well as some uncertainty related to the pricing models for WhatsApp Business API.
However, security should not be a real concern, as WhatsApp communications are end-to-end encrypted to extremely strong standards. The chat app’s messages are more secure than many other digital channels and are just as well suited to confidential messages such as SMS or email.
New in Nigeria
As Nigeria has a population of close to 200 million, of which nearly 60% has Internet connectivity, the potential market for WhatsApp Business API is significant. In addition, it is expected that most of the country’s biggest brands will be using the channel to its full potential within the next year or two.
WhatsApp Business API has the potential to connect businesses with customers in a familiar and privately secure way. Organisations can expect to increase the likelihood of customer engagement and consequently loyalty, due to convenience, trust and familiarity this chat app provides.
While a lot of awareness still needs to be created among users in Nigeria, the financial services sector and its sub-verticals, such as fintechs, are likely to be early adopters of WhatsApp Business API. Fintechs are aggressively pushing innovation in the country and their efforts are being boosted by the government, which is empowering this sector with policy and investment in a bid to improve financial inclusion.
In the fintech space, as these companies are mobile focused, using WhatsApp Business API allows customers to do transactions on their mobile phones, sending and receiving money. Aside from the financial sector, there has already been some uptake among utility companies that use the channel to enhance customer service and handle enquiries.
Leveraging rich and branded content
WhatsApp Business API allows organisations to leverage rich and branded content, such as images, sound, documents and video, as well as conversations initiated by themselves or by their customers. In this way, brands can build a rich multimedia two-way communication channel with its customers at an enterprise scale.
The benefits to enterprises is that they can use WhatsApp Business API for a wide range of customer-centric communications and queries that automate processes such as applications and registrations, status confirmations and updates, location services, transaction alerts, one-time pins, Two Factor Authentications (2FAs) and payment reminders, among others.
It is the ideal communication channel for companies that have a large customer base and a large volume of Business to Consumer (B2C) activity, and whose call centres or offices are routinely inundated with repetitious queries. WhatsApp Business API can take over this form of communication and provide a self-service channel that is easy to use and can be automated without frustrating the customer.
Innovative and forward-thinking companies are upping the stakes on conversational commerce by enabling customers to use WhatsApp Business API to communicate and transact with them. Can your organisation afford to be left behind?