Lots of businesses are using WhatsApp’s Business platform to help them communicate with their customers because it facilitates easy and fast interaction and gives them access to a large audience of WhatsApp users. The smaller and local businesses start with the basic, regular WhatsApp Business account they create with a WhatsApp Business App. However, there will come a time in such a business’ life when it will need to take a step forward, toward faster growth. In the sense of communication with its customers, this means migrating to the WhatsApp Business API.
Why migrate to the WhatsApp Business API?
There are many reasons to do this. First of all, the WhatsApp Business API allows all of your team members to sign in to one central dashboard or app with the same number from multiple devices. On the other hand, the regular account created with the WhatsApp Business app only allows one person to be logged in at a time, automatically logging you out of all the other devices when you log in.
Secondly, the API facilitates the creation and sending of a large volume of automated responses, thanks to the chat bots featured by some official WhatsApp business solution providers (BSP) like WATI.
Thirdly, migrating to the WhatsApp Business API and the official WhatsApp Business account it accompanies will provide your business with the recognizable green checkmark next to its name in the profile and headers in conversation threads. This will let everyone know that your business has passed all of WhatsApp’s checks and is a serious and legitimate business you can trust. In short, it shows you mean business.
Lastly, any business that enlists the assistance of an official WhatsApp BSP like WATI to help them migrate, will be provided with multiple advantages. In WATI’s case, these advantages include a clean and intuitive dashboard, team inbox allowing all your colleagues to collaborate and assign chats to each other, chat bot to automate conversations, detailed analytics, as well as an app to continue the conversations on-the-go.
Let’s take a look at how the process of migrating your business number from the WhatsApp Business app to WhatsApp Business API will take place.
Migrating to WhatsApp Business API
Before you begin, you’ll need to have your display name approved in the Facebook Business Manager. This is a very important step as it facilitates the creation of a certificate which is needed for the WhatsApp Business API client to function. We’ve already covered how you can choose a display name that will be in line with all of WhatsApp’s guidelines and rules.
Then you’ll need to register your number with the WhatsApp Business API. There are two ways to do this:
- Keep the old phone number that you used to register your business in the Android, iPhone or Business app versions of WhatsApp.
- Create a new phone number and use the old one during the migration process.
1. Keeping your old phone number
If you don’t want to delete your old number, this may be your default choice as it makes a lot of sense. After all, that’s the number you used to register with the WhatsApp app and your customers probably have it memorized in their devices.
However, if you try to add your old phone number in the Business Manager, you will see a ‘Phone Number Is Invalid’ error message. In other words, if you want to proceed with your old phone number, your old account associated with that phone number will have to be deleted before the WhatsApp Business API registration process can begin. In more technical terms, you can’t download a certificate if your WhatsApp account is still active on your Android or iPhone.
Before you delete the WhatsApp account associated with your old phone number, you’ll need to backup your conversations and contacts (we’ll explain this later).
To delete your WhatsApp Business account:
- Go to the Settings page in your WhatsApp app
- Select Account -> Delete my account and follow all the steps.
- Go back to the Facebook Business Manager and refresh your browser window. Now a certificate is ready for you to download and proceed with the registration process.
The trouble is, all of your incoming messages will be put on hold by WhatsApp’s servers until the migration has been successfully finalized. Since this is a time-consuming process that can take anywhere between under two weeks (with WATI) to an entire month, this means you could experience significant delays in customer communication, which may leave negative consequences on your operations.
Creating a new phone number
If you don’t want to have your incoming messages put on hold, an alternative way would be to continue using your old number to communicate with your customers while your new number is getting ready for the API verification.
Once your new phone number is ready for use, you can inform your customers about the switch by sending them messages via your old number, directing them to the new phone number. This way, you’ll keep receiving your messages for the entire duration of the process and the migration will go as smoothly as possible.
Also note that it is impossible to import your old chats once you migrate your number to the API and your profile settings will need to be configured again. So make sure you backup all of your important chats and contacts.
Backing up your data
To backup your conversations and contacts in your WhatsApp app:
- Open the WhatsApp app on your Android or iPhone
- Go to the Settings page
- Select Chats -> Chats Backup.
Note: Once your number has migrated to the WhatsApp Business API or you have created a new number for these purposes, it will need to stay with the BSP it implemented it originally. At the moment, it is impossible to move the number to another BSP. In other words, if you opted for WATI to do this for you, you’ll need to stick with us for as long as you intend to use that number.
Migrate to API now
WATI can do all of the above for your business and much, much more. If you’re ready to have WATI help you migrate your phone number to the WhatsApp Business API and benefit from all the other things it can do for you, make sure to sign up for early access to the platform here. You can fully test our platform to see if you like it during a 7-day free trial.
WATI comes to you from Clare.AI, the digital assistant company and tool combining the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning with proprietary language processing technology to deliver award-winning customer communication experiences to its clients. Clare.AI’s solutions are already trusted by multinational enterprises and Fortune 500 companies, including such names as AXA, AIG, Cigna, Birdie, Bupa, Fidelity, and Everbright Sun Hung Kai.
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