How does a company with multiple employees use a single WhatsApp number to interact with a multitude of customers on a daily basis? As it turns out, all one needs is a Virtual Mobile Number.
From time to time, you may have noticed — while chatting on WhatsApp — this message: “This chat is with a business account.” It means exactly what it sounds like — you are interacting with an account that has been set up as a business on WhatsApp. How many times haven't we, alongside SMS and email, received an order confirmation directly from the business over WhatsApp?
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Or, and this is an uncommon scenario, someone has set up a ‘business account’ with their second SIM on their dual SIM phone — currently the only way to have two different accounts on WhatsApp on the same device. But that's not the point of this article.
But how does a company with multiple employees use a single WhatsApp number to interact with a multitude of customers on a daily basis? We have established above that it is impossible for multiple WhatsApp accounts to exist within a single device, and we certainly know from experience that one cannot have the same phone number registered on multiple devices.
When then, one might ask, is the solution? As it turns out, all one needs is a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN).
What is a Virtual Mobile Number?
A VMN is a perfectly legitimate means of using a phone number to call someone over Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. There are a number of companies that offer this service in India — Doosra, Servetel, Knowlarity, Tata Tele Business Services, and CallHippo, considered by many to be among the top providers of this service.
To snag a VMN, you can sign up with any of these companies, pay a monthly fee and begin your business without a physical tele-footprint, so to speak. For instance, CallHippo offers four tiers of subscription — Bronze (Rs 1,300/month/user), Silver (Rs 1,900/Month/User), Platinum (Rs 3,200/Month/User), and Enterprise (Rs 3,800/Month/company).
Once you have your VMN, you can use the number to register as a business on WhatsApp and enjoy all privileges afforded to those with a physical SIM card.
“With access to WhatsApp Business facilities, companies will now get the famous green tick on their number, keep track of all their communication in one tight space, send broadcast messages to all end customers, etc,” says Ankit Dudhwewala, founder and CEO of Appitsimple Infotek Pvt Ltd, the parent company of CallHippo.
Dudhwewala says a VoIP WhatsApp business number offers pretty much on-par services, except without the hassle of having each one of your employees have a separate SIM — with the Enterprise plan, one size fits all.
“Marketing your brand through WhatsApp with your VoIP number is the perfect way to target customers across the globe. In fact, sending bulk messages is so easy through the available tools on WhatsApp that if you use it once, you will know why it is one of the most popular uses of WhatsApp business numbers,” he says.
For small and medium enterprises, expenditure on purposes such as internal communication, while vital, is not a priority when so many other business areas are demanding attention, he explains. “With WhatsApp, all you have to do is use the Slack tool for internal communication. It allows you to create various groups, send essential documents for knowledge or information sharing, and create the perfect collaborative atmosphere,” he explains.
But, for most of us, WhatsApp Business is a way of directly connecting with a business for various reasons — product inquiries or, as is the case mostly, for customer support. “Providing good client support is a necessary part of the business commitment. By selecting WhatsApp Business, companies are adding another support channel to the existing customer care. This is especially useful to businesses with international customers and local ones,” Dudhwewala adds.
Other ways to use WhatsApp for business purposes include accepting orders, a feature handy to e-commerce ventures and online platforms. “Consultancy businesses can also offer advice and receive payment via WhatsApp as well,” he adds.
Dudhwewala caps it up by saying VoIP phones are the business numbers of choice today “as they are cost-effective, require low maintenance, enhance the business’s international presence and local call rate, offer IVR integration (allowing you to share personalised, pre-recorded messages with callers), provide better flexibility, higher scalability, and seamless number portability”.
“You can add WhatsApp Business features to this combination, you have the perfect business telephony solutions, and that’s precisely what CallHippo is offering,” he concludes.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)