WhatsApp Business has become a leading communication tool in the current business environment. With a host of businesses using WhatsApp Business for communication, there is no doubt that the application is highly efficient and functional for almost all businesses. However, there are times when you as a business owner might be wondering about WhatsApp Business alternatives that could enhance your communication with customers or employees. This article was written to satisfy that curiosity and help you know some of the WhatsApp Business alternatives.
What is WhatsApp Business and why you should think beyond it?
WhatsApp Business was introduced WhatsApp with the aim of easing business communication between business owners and customers. The platform is free to use and it provides effective communication solutions in the form of rich media, voice/video calls, group chats, broadcast messages and other automation features for businesses. However, WhatsApp (much like all other communication applications) is not the be-all and end-all because each business has its own communication needs and limitation.
When a business looks at conversational strategies, they are provided with various options, including Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, including WhatsApp. So if your business looks to expand beyond its current domain, you would need to look beyond WhatsApp. Even though WhatsApp Business is preferred by many businesses, it is not the perfect communication platform and has its own set of limitations. Some of the major ones are:
- Template Messages: Business owners need to send all business-initiated conversations to WhatsApp and get them approved. While WhatsApp allows freeform communication in the form of Session Messages, this Template restriction might not suit businesses that like to have more control over their initial conversations & narratives.
- Messaging Session: WhatsApp allows businesses to reply freely to any customer message within a 24-hour rolling window. Any conversation that businesses initiate after that would be charged.
Further read: What is the difference between template messages and session messages on WhatsApp Business?
While most businesses can reply within 24 hours, some niche businesses might need some additional time to verify details and ensure that the data submitted by customers is accurate before replying. So, the session messaging system might not suit all businesses.
- VoIP: Since 2022, WhatsApp has stopped supporting VoIP numbers. This might be a huge blow for businesses relying on VoIP.
- Opt-Ins: To combat spam and ensure quality business communications, WhatsApp requires all businesses to get consent from their customers before initiating a conversation. Many businesses prefer not to have an opt-in procedure because it complicates their communication strategies.
These limitations show that it is sensible for businesses (especially ones in the growth phase) to look for alternatives and choose the best option that helps them succeed.
Suggested Read: Benefits of WhatsApp Business: A deep dive
7 Alternatives to WhatsApp Business
Created by Rakuten, Viber for Business provides excellent messaging and advertising solutions for businesses from all spectrum. Viber Business Messages (a contemporary for WhatsApp) offers seamless communication support for businesses. It is particularly focused on helping businesses that are sending messages through a phone number to reach a huge volume of customers. Viber is considered as a worthy alternative for WhatsApp because offers most of the features and functionalities offered by WhatsApp like rich media communication, CRM integration, dedicated inbox and more.
- Viber helps businesses be more interactive with their customers by offering rich media support for videos, images, emojis & GIFs.
- Viber’s group chat service enables businesses to add around 250 people in a group chat & send hassle-free messages to them.
- Viber Business Messages also provides an option for automatically deleting messages once they are read, an option that is similar to the recent ‘View Once’ feature in WhatsApp.
- Much like WhatsApp Business API, Viber also offers several data insight & analytics tools to help businesses track the success of their marketing & communication strategies.
Pricing: INR 7873.66/- per month minimum spend (per message fee).
Free Trial for first 1500 messages.
Although Facebook (now Meta) has bought WhatsApp, its existing Messenger application is still going strong in terms of B2B & B2C communications. The messenger is marketed as the best app for turning conversations into customer loyalty. In addition to helping businesses have personalized conversations with their customers, the application also enables them create an online store where they can showcase products/services. It also enables users to install add -ons from third parties for a smooth usage.
- Facebook has a large customer base (like WhatsApp) that helps increase the reach of your business.
- Facebook Messenger enables businesses to create an online store for their products & services.
- Businesses can send voice & video clips of relevant products to interested customers.
- Businesses can also create Facebook Ads & link them to the messenger to boost their sales.
Pricing: Free-to-use. (Additional Cost for Facebook Messenger Ads).
Skype for Business
Skype, the instant messaging application developed by Microsoft, has been one of the most reliable and most preferred applications for internal communications. In recent times, it has also helped businesses with customer communications. Since the application supports audio, video messages and text, it helps in generating a seamless, conversational-like experience between businesses and customers. integrated with the tools of microsoft office.
- Skype offers seamless integration with Microsoft Office and its supporting tools.
- Wnables users to retrieve contact lists from Microsoft exchange server & helps them back-up contact & message data.
- Since Skype doesn’t use any third-party servers, it offers excellent security for businesses & customers.
- Skype allows businesses to connect with mobile/landline numbers using ‘Skype to Phone’.
Pricing: Skype is Free-to-Use. Skype to Phone subscriptions start from INR 582.33/- per month.
Slack is a messaging program introduced by Slack Technologies, a Canadian software company and now owned by Salesforce. Slack was created to offer complete digital workplace solutions to businesses. Slack Connect, the business communication offering from Slack, helps businesses have secure conversations both internally (within teams) & externally (with clients & vendors). Slack can also be integrated with other software for its better utility by clients.
- Slack allows businesses to maintain complete control over communication data and external access.
- Slack offers easy integration with Google, Outlook, AWS (Amazon Web Services) & other CRM platforms to ensure seamless communications.
- With Slack, businesses will get complete digital workplace solutions and manage their entire marketing & communication workflows.
- The platform can be used for both internal and external communications, which makes it a one-stop solution for business communications.
Pricing: Free plan available. Subscriptions start from INR 218/- per month.
Google Hangouts/Google Chat
Created by Google, Hangouts is a multi-platform communication tool that allows users to have real-time communication with others using text, images or videos. The tool also allows easy multi-platform conferencing solutions for small businesses. Furthermore, businesses can also create group chats with over 150 people and have video conferencing with upto 10 customers.
Note: Google is discontinuing Hangouts from November 2022 and migrating the user base to Google Chat, which is the newly launched version of the tool. It offers the same features and services as Hangouts.
- Create group chats and start video conference with a group of customers.
- Businesses can retrieve historical text, image & video communication easily.
- Hangouts is a multi-platform communication tool that allows businesses to contact with customers across phones, laptops, tablets and other devices.
- Hangouts allow businesses to automate solutions with bots.
Pricing: Free to use.
WeChat for Business
WeChat is a Chinese application developed by Tencent that offers instant messaging, social media and digital payment solutions. The app’s social networking support is its USP as it offers businesses the ability to connect with customers on a personal level and also market efficiently. The app also supports group chats with up to 500 people & provides cross-platform communication capabilities for businesses.
- WeChat helps businesses communicate with customers across different platforms.
- The social networking capabilities of the application makes it perfect for businesses looking to market its products to several customer segments.
- Provides payment assistance (like WhatsApp Pay) to help businesses finish their sale seamlessly.
- Businesses can create groups with up to 500 people and can videoconference to 9 people simultaneously.
Telegram for Business
Telegram, touted as one of the most secure instant messaging applications, provides cross-platform freemium chat support for users across the world. In addition to regular chat solutions, Telegram is preferred by businesses because it provides highly encrypted video calling, VoIP & file sharing solutions. Furthermore, Telegram Groups & Channels allow businesses to connect with a group of customers.
- Telegram’s main USP is that it provides highly encrypted & secure messaging solutions where users can opt for end-to-end encryption.
- Enables businesses to create groups with Telegram Groups and broadcast messages through Telegram Channels.
- Provides VoIP support for businesses (which is not supported by WhatsApp).
- Does not restrict the number of devices that can be connected to a single account.
Pricing: Free-to-use. Telegram Premium, an optional subscription service, unlocks additional exclusive features.
Signal is a multi-platform instant messaging service provider that allows users to conduct one-to-one or group chats. The platform allows users exchange text, audio, images & videos with each other. Signal provides state-of-the-art encryption support for its users, so businesses need not worry about phishing or other data security breaches. The app also provides audio calling, VoIP & video conferencing solutions.
- Signal is free for all its users, so businesses need not allocate a part of their budget for communications.
- The platform provides end-to-end encryption for all chat, audio/video calls & files.
- Offers cross-platform communication support across desktops, laptops, mobiles and tablets.
- Easy to register and use. Has a simple UX that is similar to WhatsApp.
Gallabox takes WhatsApp Business to the next level!
The seven WhatsApp alternatives mentioned above were carefully curated to help your business grow beyond the limitations of WhatsApp and achieve excellent commercial growth. However, we suggest that you look at your business’ existing WhatsApp strategy to ensure that it is being used to its fullest potential. While WhatsApp has several limitations, it is nevertheless one of the best communication platforms in the current era. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that it is used efficiently.
A WhatsApp Business Service Provider like Gallabox can help you get the most out of WhatsApp Business. Gallabox offers complete no-code workplace solutions with the help of WhatsApp API and therefore can help you with WhatsApp API integrations, chatbot solutions, shared inbox support, template messages and much more. Gallabox’s WhatsApp Business Solution offers native integrations with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Zoho and Woocommerce. Check out our other integrations here. We also offer industry-specific WhatsApp chatbots customized to the needs of each market. Industries we currently support: Education, Travel, Banking and Finance, Real Estate and E-commerce. So, sign up here to see how you can enhance your WhatsApp Business strategies to the next level!
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