Add, remove & assign phone numbers on demand
Manage, respond to, and share calls with your team
Send & receive any message you need to
Keep contact details in one place with a shared phonebook
For on-the-go teams to share messages, calls, and contacts
WhatsApp Business can help small businesses and freelancers improve their marketing and customer service in a highly cost-effective way. But to unlock the potential of this platform, you need a separate phone number. That’s why business owners should know more about WhatsApp Business alternatives and how using a second number for business is the perfect solution.
In this detailed guide of WhatsApp Business alternatives, we will explain the differences between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business, share how the latter can help businesses and learn about WhatsApp Business alternatives.
What is WhatsApp Business?
How to start using WhatsApp Business
What makes WhatsApp Business unique?
What is the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business?
Advantages of WhatsApp Business
Cost of WhatsApp Business
Can WhatsApp Business be used for personal use?
Using a second number with WhatsApp Business
Why use an alternative number for business?
The benefits of using WhatsApp Business with a second phone number
WhatsApp Business alternatives
Why look for an alternative to WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp is undoubtedly the biggest messaging platform on earth, with over a hundred billion messages being sent every day on the app across both mobile and browser versions. While the standard version of the app is for ordinary users, WhatsApp Business was built with the needs of small businesses in mind.
The platform understands that these firms don’t have extensive IT expertise or experience. What they want is a tool that’s easy to use and highly affordable. That’s why the application doesn’t have any complex features that could alienate independent business owners.
If you already use WhatsApp, you can’t use your existing number for WhatsApp Business unless you want to let go of your private number. You would need a separate number that you haven’t previously used on the app. This means you will have to get a new phone number.
If you’re a business owner who wants to use WhatsApp Business, you will have to either get a new SIM and get a new phone or one with dual-SIM capabilities. Or you could opt for a smarter option and get a second number from a second-line app. This gives you a feature-rich number that you can start using in minutes.
Don't give your personal number to business contacts. Chalkboard enables you to be available on WhatsApp via a second number.
It’s important to note that as of now, only one user can use the WhatsApp Business app. This shouldn’t be a problem for small and independent businesses since the owner is most likely to be in charge of the app.
So, how can a small business get its customers to contact it through WhatsApp Business? The easiest way is to place the WhatsApp launcher icon on your website, e-commerce store, mobile app or email. When a customer clicks on it, it will open a conversation in the WhatsApp Business app.
WhatsApp Business is a business-specific version of an already successful platform. This is what sets it apart from any WhatsApp Business alternative. While other platforms are either generic or built for businesses from scratch, WhatsApp Business has been built on the huge success of its regular version.
Secondly, WhatsApp was designed specifically for small businesses. Small businesses can use the app to communicate with their customers in a fast and simple manner. Most digital marketing platforms are built for businesses, irrespective of their sizes.
The third reason is that users are already familiar with WhatsApp. With other platforms, you have to consider migrating your customers to that tool.
Before understanding the need for a WhatsApp Business alternative, it’s important to know how it’s different from WhatsApp. The platform has three offerings, which are WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API (Application Programming Interface).
WhatsApp is an easy-to-use tool for users to converse and share multimedia files, voice notes and website links. It’s free to use and doesn’t come with any major limitations. It has both an app and a browser version. Users can interact as individuals or as a group.
WhatsApp Business is for small businesses that want to engage with their customers. With the same interface as that of the consumer app, WhatsApp Business has some additional features that small businesses in particular would find useful.
For example, companies can set up a verified Business Profile to inform customers that they’re talking to the right business. Businesses can also set up a storefront through Catalogs to showcase their products. They can also send updates, reminders and notifications using bots. Since the app will show previous conversations, customer service agents can give personalised answers.
WhatsApp Business API is for medium and large enterprises that manage a large volume of customer interactions. Businesses can integrate the API into their customer support software to manage and prioritise customer conversations at scale. It allows multiple agents to manage conversations using automation and chatbots.
WhatsApp Business offers certain demonstrable advantages to independent businesses including mom-and-pop shops. These are the reasons why such small businesses are flocking to WhatsApp Business.
The biggest headache for any business is to find its customers or get them to use a particular channel. Whether it’s getting customers to visit a website or scan a QR code, it’s an action that the customer has to initiate on a new platform. But not with WhatsApp. No matter what your business is, chances are, your customers are already on the platform.
Around two billion people use WhatsApp every month. That’s what has encouraged over five million businesses to use WhatsApp Business. And remember that WhatsApp is used in close to 180 countries worldwide. So, this is a platform that already has your existing and potential customers.
One of the reasons for the app’s popularity is that it doesn’t use much data. This makes it the right messaging platform for areas with weak internet or scattered infrastructure. India has the world’s largest number of WhatsApp users, which could partly explain it.
Due to the nature of the medium and the platform’s policies, WhatsApp Business offers several ways for small businesses to build trust with their customers.
Credibility: Businesses can set up verified profiles, which helps customers know that they’re talking to genuine organisations.
Authority: On WhatsApp Business, a customer has to allow a business to send them messages. If it looks like spam, they have the option of blocking and reporting the business.
Ratings: Based on how many times a business is blocked or other reporting issues, the platform creates quality ratings. This shows the trustworthiness of a business.
Security: WhatsApp Business has end-to-end encryption for all messages that are sent on the app.
Traditional SMS has its limitations. It isn’t flexible, transparent or versatile. That’s the primary reason consumers are opting for feature-rich messaging solutions such as WhatsApp Business that create win-win situations for both businesses and their customers.
For the business, it offers credibility and the opportunity to automate responses for predictable customer queries. It’s also more intuitive and doesn’t require the services of outside experts.
For consumers, it gives them the power to decide whether they want to receive messages from a business or not. Customer support representatives can immediately know the context of the interaction from previous messages, which will translate to faster and better customer service.
While the regular version of WhatsApp remains free, the business app comes with charges. WhatsApp Business has two categories with different pricing for each.
Conversations on WhatsApp Business are measured on the basis of 24-hour sessions. WhatsApp rates conversations based on who initiates them.
User-initiated: If a user sends a message to a business, the business has 24 hours to reply. During these 24 hours, there will be no charges for the messages.
Business-initiated: A business that responds after 24 hours have to incur certain charges. In the UK, it’s £ 0.0467 per message if it’s business-initiated and £ 0.0280 per message if it’s user-initiated outside the 24-hour window.
To help businesses build better customer service experiences, the first 1000 conversations on the app each month are free. These can be either initiated by the user or the business. If a business has several numbers attached, it will still have a total of 1000 free messages.
Since WhatsApp Business is part of the Meta family, there are advantages to directing traffic from Facebook. There are no charges if a user messages a business using a call-to-action button on ads that click to WhatsApp or any Facebook Page with a call-to-action button.
The initial conversation that begins at the entry point is free but subsequent conversations with the user will be charged. Remember that the ad is not free in this case. It’s only the resulting conversation that is free for businesses.
WhatsApp Business is designed to address the needs of small businesses. If you’re a business owner, you can still use your business account for personal communication. But your contacts will be notified that the message is from a business account.
Remember that whether it’s a personal or business message, the rules and charges will still apply to your conversations.
To use WhatsApp Business, you need a phone number that you haven’t previously used on the platform. That’s why it makes sense to get a phone number specifically for WhatsApp Business.
You can either get an additional SIM and use it in a dual-SIM device or buy a new device. These options are needlessly expensive. A smarter, easier and cost-effective option is to get a new number from a second-line app. Now you can protect your personal number and use your new number for not just WhatsApp Business but all work-related communication.
Using your personal number for business communication is inviting trouble. You’re giving unnecessary visibility to your private number, which could compromise your digital security. Even if there are no security concerns, the sheer amount of robocalls and spam messages you get can give anyone a headache.
An alternate number for business helps you set boundaries. Once you specify your business hours, you can use features like auto-reply and not take business calls during your off-hours. This is how you achieve work-life balance.
Both current and future customers will appreciate your professionalism when you have a dedicated number for work. Like an official email ID website or social media page, it shows that you’re serious about your business.
If you’re a small business owner or freelancer, WhatsApp Business can help you improve your customer outreach. But there are significant advantages to using the app with a second phone number.
When you get WhatsApp Business with a second phone number, you will have two active accounts on the app. You can use regular WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business on the same device at the same time.
Now you have one channel to interact with your customers and one for personal communication with family and friends. By separating your communication, you can also separate your business and personal lives.
Using your personal phone number for work-related communication is always unadvisable even if it does seem convenient. It gives needless exposure to your private number and opens you up to spammers and non-stop robocalls.
If you get a second phone number, your customers will only see it. They won’t see your private number that’s associated with your personal WhatsApp account.
If you were to get an additional SIM, you would need a device that’s dual-SIM compatible. Or you will have to get another device exclusively for your new number. Along with the SIM, you will also have to sign up for an expensive plan that you may not even use.
When you get a second phone number through a second-line app, there’s no need to buy a new device or SIM. Download the app and you can activate your new number on any connected device. Plus, most virtual numbers have affordable subscription plans, especially for long-distance and international calls.
A virtual number will give you specific tools to help you manage your business communication, separate your work and personal life and improve your customer service.
If you get Chalkboard as your second number for WhatsApp Business, you will be able to use auto-reply to manage missed calls. With a professional voicemail, your business will seem legitimate and credible to callers. You also get advanced chat that you can use along with WhatsApp Business to engage with your customers.
Importantly, now you have a second line for work that you can operate from any connected device as long as you have an internet connection. This makes a virtual number like Chalkboard not just the ideal partner for WhatsApp Business but also a crucial tool for remote teams.
If you’re looking for a WhatsApp Business alternative, these are some of the best options you can consider.
Initially known for its video conferencing feature, Skype is a WhatsApp Business alternative that businesses can consider. The platform helps with customer communication and supports video, audio and text messaging. Since it’s part of the Microsoft family, the app integrates well with other software from the Microsoft Office ecosystem.
As a WhatsApp Business alternative, Slack is a messaging platform that’s synonymous with the tech and startup worlds and offers comprehensive digital communication solutions for businesses. With Slack, you can significantly enhance collaboration across teams and projects. Slack Connect fosters seamless conversations between both internal and external participants such as clients and vendors.
If you already use Microsoft Office, Teams, another WhatsApp Business alternative, will amplify collaboration between your team members and increase productivity and engagement. A chat-based messaging platform that supports multimedia content, Microsoft Teams delivers real-time collaboration between multiple users with seamless integrations with other Microsoft tools.
With over half a billion active monthly users, Telegram is a credible WhatsApp Business alternative. Although it only has a quarter of WhatsApp Business’s users, the app is highly popular in several regions of the world. Telegram is primarily known for its security and encryption. Since the app allows user names instead of real names and phone numbers, there’s greater anonymity.
If the platform is so feature-rich and easy to use, why would you want to look for a WhatsApp Business alternative?
Data privacy: Since it’s become part of the Meta family, some businesses may have doubts about the platform’s data privacy features.
Lack of control: Large enterprises may want a WhatsApp Business alternative that allows them to exercise due diligence and control the platform.
Data leaks: Files get stored in personal devices and if improperly handled, it could lead to a loss of data.
Most of these problems will only concern medium or large businesses that have to handle hundreds or thousands of customer interactions across multiple teams. If you’re a small or independent business, WhatsApp Business should suit your requirements. When you use it with a second phone number like Chalkboard, you get double the benefits.
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Chalkboard is a modern second phone number for small businesses and startups. Try out Chalkboard for yourself for free by signing up for a free trial.
All information provided in this guide was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes.
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