FACEBOOK-OWNED MESSAGING SERVICE WhatsApp has announced that it's developing dedicated business tools for SMBs and enterprises.
We first heard talk of WhatsApp developing a biz tool back in March when it was claimed that the firm was testing the tool, which would let users of the service talk directly with business for the first time, with a handful of companies.
In a blog post on Tuesday, the company has confirmed that the rumours are legit and has said that it's developing a biz-focused service.
The company says that plenty of businesses already use the service to interact with customers, but notes that it doesn't yet verify businesses accounts or let such users work with anything other than a single smartphone to handle their WhatsApp presence.
WhatsApp Business, which will be aimed at small businesses, will solve these issues. The company said that it will "vertify" legitimate businesses with a Twitter-esque green badge, and will allow companies to display to display their addresses and other extra information in a bid to help users discover authentic businesses.
WhatsApp has said that it's also working on an"enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks."
This, WhatsApp claims, will allow businesses to provide customers with "useful notifications" such as flight times and delivery confirmations.
The company has told TechCrunch that the enterprise service will be free initially, but will be a paid-for solution in the future.
In a statement given to the publication, it also confirmed that businesses won't be able to contact users unless they have "provided their phone number and agreed to be contacted by the business owner."
"Whether someone is communicating with a business around the corner or around the globe, people expect WhatsApp to be fast, reliable, and secure," WhatsApp said.
"We'll be listening carefully to feedback during our test phase and keeping people informed as we make these tools more widely available. It's important that we get this right and are thoughtful about the new experiences we'll provide for businesses and our users."
WhatsApp hasn't yet said when the service will become available, but its FAQ confirms that it's currently testing the business tool through a close pilot programme. µ
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