How to create a WhatsApp chatbot for your business

Chatbots
June 8, 2021

Not long ago, WhatsApp was only used to talk to friends or family. The businesses that pioneered the messaging app didn’t receive too many messages on it. It was just a nice plus for a small group of customers.

But in 2021, WhatsApp Business has become a full-blown customer service channel. Companies get loads of questions, remarks, orders, and complaints via the messaging app. A WhatsApp chatbot helps these teams to work efficiently, deliver fast answers, provide availability outside of working hours, and save time to give customers the attention they deserve.

What you need to build a WhatsApp chatbot

Not to burst your bubble right away, but it’s not possible to use a chatbot with the WhatsApp Business application. This app was mostly created for smaller businesses with a low number of employees. It can only be used by one person on one device.

Once the number of WhatsApp messages grows and you want to manage it with a team, you need the WhatsApp Business API, which you can use via a customer service platform such as Trengo. In Trengo you can simply build your own bots without any knowledge of coding.

To clarify, you can not create a WhatsApp chatbot without using the WhatsApp Business API.

Learn how to start using the WhatsApp Business API here.

How to make your own chatbot for WhatsApp Business

First, you have to request the WhatsApp API via one of our official partners. Next, you can pick between two different options:

1. The regular chatbot

The regular chatbot simulates a conversation between you and your customer. The chatbot can reply to questions by recognizing keywords and sending pre-filled answers. In the example below, the bot recognizes the keyword ‘shipping costs’ and replies with the required information within seconds.

Learn how to set up a chatbot in Trengo

2. The flowbot

A flowbot also simulates conversations with your customers or prospects. But instead of replying to open questions, it forwards customers to the right team or gives information by asking questions via multiple-choice options. This is easier to set up than a regular chatbot because it leaves less room for confusion.

Read more about the differences between a chatbot and a flowbot

Learn how to set up a flowbot in Trengo

Do’s and don’ts when building a WhatsApp chatbot

Know your customers

Before creating a bot, learn more about your customer’s behavior on WhatsApp. Which types of questions do they ask? Are they support-related or sales-related? Make sure to design your bot accordingly.

Keep your copy choppy

If you want your customer to actually read every word you’re writing to them, keep it short. Too many times I have run into bots that answer with long-winded answers that take way too long to read. Your customers are busy, they want a fast to-the-point answer.

Apply an informal tone of voice

Keep in mind that WhatsApp is mostly used in an informal way. The average consumer uses it to talk to friends and family. In other words, conversations shouldn’t feel like an email interaction. Rather, keep the tone of voice informal, as long as it doesn’t veer off too far from your brand.

Create fallback messages

When you’re using a chatbot, make sure that you set a clear fallback message. This is the message that the bot sends to your customers when it doesn’t recognize what the customer is trying to say. Here’s an example:

“Sorry, I don’t know how to answer that yet. Please rephrase your question.”

Forward messages to a human in time

Like I said earlier, your customers are busy. They don’t want to spend time on a bot that doesn’t seem to be able to offer the right information. And a bot simply isn’t always going to be able to be perfect. That’s why you should train it to recognize when it should hand a conversation over to a human employee. This could be when a customer uses a certain keyword, such as ‘angry’ or ‘complaint’. But you can also do this after a bot has failed to recognize a customer’s questions more than two times. This avoids the customer from becoming frustrated with your business.

Ending a conversation? Add a CTA

When a conversation between a bot and your customer comes to an end, you should always end it with a clear call to action. This is a way to give your customer the opportunity to take the next logical action without having to think about what that should be. For support conversations, you could decide to end off with a link to your help center for more information.

Build your own WhatsApp chatbot with Trengo

In Trengo, you can create your own WhatsApp chatbot for business without having to use code. We’ll help you to get set up with the WhatsApp Business API so that you can get started in no time.

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