Chat apps are now taking over business-to-customer interactions. However, with data privacy laws becoming more restrictive, it's ever so important to ensure proper opt-ins with your communication channels. Find out how you can utilize the WhatsApp Business solution and properly opt-in your customers.
How to Collect Opt-Ins for WhatsApp Business
Understanding how to collect opt-ins before sending messages to your customers on WhatsApp
Customer conversations are moving to where customers are – namely, on chat apps. Since 9 out of 10 consumers prefer using messaging to communicate with businesses and 56 percent would rather message customer service than speak on the phone (see our infographic), chat apps have become a core communications channel. And WhatsApp, the world’s largest chat app, has become the leader in powering these interactions with its Business API.
But before your brand starts any conversations with customers on WhatsApp, you have to make sure you have their opt-ins in place. With a strong stance against spam, WhatsApp requires active opt-ins from customers before you can use the WhatsApp Business API to communicate with them.
Read on to better understand WhatsApp’s policies and how you can collect opt-ins for your WhatsApp Business Account (WABA).
Opt-ins in WhatsApp
First things first. What’s an opt-in? Simply put, an opt-in is consent from a customer who agrees to receive communications from you. Almost all communication outreach today requires opt-ins, including SMS and email. WhatsApp is no different.
Opt-ins play a crucial role in WhatsApp business-to-customer interactions, and they must be active — that is to say, they must be triggered by user actions like entering a phone number or checking a box to indicate consent. This can be done on any channel that your business uses to communicate with customers: your website, app, email, SMS, retail location, etc.
It is your responsibility to collect and store customer opt-ins, ensuring that every customer you communicate with on WhatsApp has agreed to receive messages from your business. This even includes existing customers, who have to explicitly agree to receive WhatsApp messages from you.
Opt-ins Against Spam in WhatsApp
One of the reasons why WhatsApp has been so successful is its stance against spam. The company has created specific guidelines on how the app should be used, stating in its Business Policy that “advertising, marketing or promotional messages are not permitted, unless authorized by us (WhatsApp) in writing.” Primary use cases for WhatsApp include notifications and customer service.
When collecting opt-ins, you can state that your customers will not receive marketing or promotional messages unless they ask. In fact, emphasizing that you will use WhatsApp as a customer service channel may actually be an advantage in a spam-fatigued world.
To further inhibit promotional-type messages, WhatsApp requires that enterprise customers submit their message templates for approval prior to any customer communications. This ensures that the channel stays a spam-free environment where the customer has the final say.
Collecting Customer Opt-Ins for WhatsApp Business
Let’s get started on how your business can collect opt-ins. The important thing is to make opt-ins easy and accessible, and to explain how your company uses WhatsApp.
Your Online Presence
Your website is the first place where you should add opt-ins. You can add opt-in invites to various webpages, including your homepage, your contact page and any pages where your WhatsApp service is connected with specific products or use cases.
You can also use a pop-up screen, especially on your homepage, to draw attention and collect the opt-ins right away. Clearly state what your WhatsApp channel is for, e.g. shipping notifications or customer service.
Landing pages are a great place to promote your WhatsApp channel and share more information about this new service and how your customers can use it. Your webpages / landing pages should be responsive, so that opt-ins can be collected on every device that your customers use. Social media channels and email newsletters are also great channels for this purpose.
Another thing to be sure to do is to confirm that opt-ins have been successful with a thank you page or widget. To simplify this process, the WhatsApp widget can be easily integrated into your brand’s communication channels, allowing users to select their country and insert their phone number. The technical implementation for this requires only a few lines of code.
Last but not least, check out WhatsApp’s brand guidelines before you create opt-ins to make sure all your communications are in accordance with WhatsApp’s guidelines.
Third-Party Channels: SMS, Voice & More
Since not all of your customers visit your website, it’s essential that you integrate your opt-in into all the channels your customers interact with.
Many companies already provide SMS for notifications, marketing and other use cases, and this is certainly a channel that can be used to drive attention to your WhatsApp with a one-click option. At your contact center, you may collect opt-ins over Voice IVR. Once a customer calls your business, they can give consent by pressing a designated key on their dial pad. Afterwards, you can confirm the opt-in with a thank you message over WhatsApp.
If you’re interacting with customers via a reception desk, you can also add a WhatsApp opt-in to your check-in process via paper forms, flyers with a QR code, etc. When users scan a QR code, you can set it to take them to a webpage where they can complete the opt-in by entering their phone number and checking the opt-in information.
In addition to the usual channels, specific customer touchpoints unique to various industries are also convenient channels to collect opt-ins. Retail banks, for instance, can use ATMs to announce the opportunity to receive balance notifications, mini-statements and more via WhatsApp.
The Customer Journey
Customers may be motivated to opt-in during their customer journey, and you can easily add a checkbox at various touchpoints, from account creation to purchase and delivery.
Make it clear how you use WhatsApp and associate it with the different stages of the purchase process.
Sign Up and Contact Preferences
Many companies ask customers to fill out contact forms to ask for more information, report issues, etc. These are certainly key channels to promote your WhatsApp opt-in, and you can easily add a checkbox on every customer form to capture opt-ins from new and existing customers.
You may also want to update the contact preference section in your customer account settings, where your existing customers can update how they want to be contacted by your company.
Increasing Your Opt-in Rate for WhatsApp
Your customers already want to talk to you on WhatsApp, so promoting the app on your relevant customer touchpoints will very likely increase your subscribers. Make sure you clearly communicate how you will use this channel (remember, no spam!) and make your opt-in simple for your customers and staff.
To keep increasing opt-ins – and avoid opt-outs – it’s essential to stick to your use cases and make this channel relevant for your customers. If someone contacts you via WhatsApp and no one from your service team responds, all the work that you’ve put into increasing opt-ins will be wasted. Therefore, make sure you set guidelines on how you will support your customers on WhatsApp to keep your growth in overdrive.
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