Getting Started with a Shared WhatsApp Team Inbox

A shared WhatsApp inbox is a collaborative team inbox that lets your entire team respond to customers over WhatsApp

9
 min. read
August 29, 2021
Getting Started with a Shared WhatsApp Team Inbox

Since its launch, WhatsApp has found its way into many people’s phones and daily lives. It now has more than 2.5 billion users globally. Mathematically speaking, one in every three people in the world uses the app. And going by that logic, at least one member in every household (excluding the countries where the app is banned) is a WhatsApp user.

WhatsApp's popularity encouraged many businesses to get in touch with their customers through the personal version. It made the communication quicker, smoother, and more efficient but had a few limitations. In 2018, Facebook, which bought the messaging app in 2014 for $19 billion, launched two new apps—WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API—with added features exclusively for business purposes.

In our previous blog post, we discussed WhatsApp Business API in detail. In this, we explain WhatsApp Team Inbox and how you can get started with it.

What is Shared WhatsApp Inbox?

A WhatsApp shared inbox is a joint team inbox that allows all your sales or communication team to respond to your customers or other users from a single interface. In simple words, it enables the entire team to send, receive, and track messages in one place, thereby making customer support management easier and more efficient.

A shared inbox also enables a business owner and team manager to view all the prospective customers, who show interest in the business and its products or services.

When should I include a WhatsApp Inbox?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself if you are a business owner and want to leverage the power of the most widely used messaging app to boost your business.

If you receive a huge number of messages on your WhatsApp Business account and your sales, support, and marketing team members mostly handle those, then adding a Whatsapp shared inbox will be immensely helpful for you.

Here are a few questions to help you determine whether or not you need to add a shared inbox:

  • Are you receiving more than 30 messages a day?
  • Have you ever missed out on any messages?
  • Do you need the help of your team members to answer the messages?
  • Are you also answering the messages from different social media platforms?

If the answer to any two or more questions above is in the affirmative, you should look for a good shared team inbox provider such as BotSpace.

How does a shared WhatsApp Inbox work?

A WhatsApp Multi-agent Inbox can be activated after the integration of your WhatsApp Business API. You would need a few things before you get started:

A WhatsApp Business API number, which you can get from a Business Solution Provider (BSP) such as BotSpace

A right BSP that can help you in uninterrupted WhatsApp API access and integration

A shared inbox provider

A Shopify store connected to your WhatsApp API provider and the shared inbox

If you don’t have a pre-approved WhatsApp API number, you can get one with a verified green checkmark from us. You simply have to go to our Get Started page and you will see two options

  • Get Free WhatsApp API
  • Connect existing API

If you don’t have a WhatsApp API and want to get one from an official API partner, you can click on the ‘Apply for Free’ button in the Get Free WhatsApp API option and you will see a form where you only have to enter your basic information and WhatsApp account information—Business WhatsApp Number, Business Display Name, and Facebook BMID Number— which will be used for approval.

Alternatively, if you already have an approved WhatsApp API, you can add your third party integration by clicking on the ‘Request Integration’ button in the Connect existing API option. There you will find the option to select your existing WhatsApp API provider and provide the API number approved by the provider.

After the new API number is integrated with the team inbox, the latter becomes the interface of businesses to communicate with their customers. The entire team can access the inbox, view all messages, and respond to the queries or take suitable action based on the orders and requests.

Can multiple team members use a shared inbox to respond to customers?

Yes! Just like any email inbox, with a shared WhatsApp inbox, you can have as many team members or support agents can have a WhatsApp conversation with customers on WhatsApp simultaneously.

Benefits of WhatsApp Team Inbox

Here are the following benefits of the WhatsApp team inbox.

1. Quick resolutions

As all message inboxes appear on one screen, all members of your team can view customer messages and respond to those without switching tabs. Also, team managers and supervisors can keep an eye on important conversations and mediate to resolve problems faster.

2. Better security

With a team inbox, you don’t have to share login credentials and OTPs with your team members. You can create one account using which your entire team members can log in and access messages from all connected channels.

3. Automation

A team inbox provides ample room for chat automation. WhatsApp’s shared inbox enables you to set greetings messages, instant replies, as well as other automated messages. You also can send automated ‘away’ messages to users when your business is closed. Furthermore, WhatsApp Business API comes with advanced automated features that can allow your team to automate an entire message flow, sales process, proactive notifications, and interactive voice response system to direct calls to WhatsApp.

4. Instant response

As all messages are shown on one screen, every team member can understand the customer’s problems. They can respond to messages and queries quicker and can solve problems effortlessly.

5. Determining priority to each message

With a shared inbox, team members can assign messages priority depending upon their urgency level. Based on the priority levels, the high-priority messages will be addressed first. After that, the support team will respond to all other messages subsequently.

6. Greater customer experience

WhatsApp shared inbox allows your entire sales, support, and marketing team to view the messages and answer those accordingly. The quick response and precise information and support enhance their experience.

How to manage a shared inbox?

After setting up a shared inbox it is quite easy to manage it.

Your team members can log into the dashboard from their mobile app or web browsers.

After assigning support tickets to themselves, they reply to chat requests from different channels.

As the business owner, you can see every customer conversation, monitor every action of your support team, and, if needed, mediate to resolve issues quicker.

WhatsApp shared inbox enables you to focus on the things that matter to you the most, without worrying about lowering your support quality or missing a customer message.

Your team is ready for multi-device WhatsApp collaboration in a couple of minutes. You can easily connect your WhatsApp Business API number to BotSpace

What are the best practices you can implement for your business’s shared inbox?

Once the WhatsApp shared inbox becomes your team’s primary communication tool, create some rules and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure the process is efficient as well as effective.

1. Build accountability

Every member who is a part of the customer support team must be trained to view customers’ messages and respond in a polite and professional manner in every situation. If anyone does not understand the question or the context in which it has been asked, the person must immediately correspond with the supervisor or a senior team member to ensure that the issue is properly addressed. It is important to keep a flat organizational culture and an open-door policy, at least on the customer support floor, which will promote better teamwork and encourage team members to learn from each other. Team members should also be trained to coordinate with their colleagues from other departments so that they understand the queries of customers and address them same.

2. Create templates, training materials, and guides to help new team members

The communication style of one person vastly differs from another. But as a business, you have to see that your responses to customers remain consistent in style and sound professional. For that, you need to create some templates, training materials, and guides to help new team members in the customer support team. Apart from that, you can record the processes you adopted while tackling a tricky situation and the responses you came up with to help your team remain prepared for any such unforeseen event.

3. Track some basic customer support metrics

How many messages on average do you receive in a day? What are the most common queries customers make? Or what are the most common issues they want to get addressed? When you keep a record of these questions, you can incorporate valuable insights into your business decisions. Every team member can record a few simple observations on a daily basis and the information can be used to understand a lot of things about your products as well as your customers.

4. Build strong password and mind the security aspects

While managing customer information, security always comes first. You need to take extra measures to protect your customers’ data and your business information when working with a shared inbox. You have to ensure that the password is extremely strong and all team members comply with the security protocols—not using the shared inbox for personal messages, not sharing the password with anyone, and no logging in with unsecured networks. It’s better if you can change the password at regular intervals, but it’s a must whenever a member of your customer support team leaves the organization.

5. Aim for NMLB (no message left behind)

Whenever you, and your team members, are viewing customers’ messages, always keep in mind that they took some time out of their busy schedule to type the message and send you that. When you respond to that, you show that you are a professional, you care, and you can be trusted. Aim for ‘no message left behind,’ even if you receive over a hundred messages every day.

6. Conclude on a positive note

Train your team members to conclude customer conversation on a positive note and by adding extra value. Doing that gives you the opportunity to build a lasting relationship and generate goodwill. All of us like to be heard, supported, wanted, and respected. Whenever your team gives due attention and respect to your customers, they feel special and in their minds, they build a strong and positive association with your business.

What businesses we have seen benefit from WhatsApp shared inbox

Since 2018, WhatsApp shared inbox has revolutionized the way businesses interacted with their customers. Making the customer support department smart, fast, and super-efficient, has benefited many businesses, some of which we have listed below:

E-commerce

The businesses engaged in e-commerce receive a large number of orders, customer queries, different requests, and feedback, complaints, and suggestions all at once. Such a huge volley of messages cannot be managed by one or two customer support representatives. Members of the support, sales, and marketing team must join forces to respond to the relevant messages. For this, WhatsApp integration with a multi-agent team inbox is necessary for e-commerce businesses.

Retail stores

Be it a large mall or a small brick-and-mortar store, a team that uses a shared inbox to communicate with customers gains the advantage to respond to their queries faster and in a more transparent manner. This often leads to greater customer satisfaction and results in building trust and loyalty.

Hotels

Hotels and resorts are increasingly using WhatsApp multi-agent inboxes to provide their guests with real-time information, such as their booking status, room availability, queries related to food, beverage, and other facilities and services. The customer support team also handles messages related to check-in, check out, orders, as well as special requests.

Restaurants

Many restaurants, comprising both QSRs and fine-dining ones, have started using WhatsApp shared inboxes for table bookings, advance reservations, take orders for home deliveries and provide other customer support. A few of them even revealed that some of their regular and most loyal customers visited them after dropping them a message and getting their queries answered. A fast response is extremely beneficial for businesses engaged in the hospitality industry as customers are willing to pay a premium for prompt service and high-quality products.

Banks

Some banks are using WhatsApp shared inbox to update their customers about their current account balance, inform them about new offers that can be beneficial for them, take requests to issue a new check book, credit card, or debit card. All these services help their customers save a lot of time and hassles of visiting a branch or net banking portals.

Airlines and travel agencies

Some frequent fliers fly so often and remain so busy that they find it difficult to check the confirmation status of their booking, get their travel documents printed and stored, and get in touch with their service providers by calling on different phone numbers. Some airline operators are using WhatsApp multi-agent inbox to provide ticket booking confirmation, all documentation, and flight details, as well as respond to all queries and requests 24/7 in multiple languages. All these make them more friendly, caring, and professional and make their customers’ travel smoother and hassle-free.

Healthcare businesses

Many reputed clinics, healthcare facilities, diagnostic labs, and pharmacies are using shared team inboxes to connect with their customers. The shared inbox in clinics and healthcare facilities are open to respond to queries about types of treatments offered, availability of beds, other amenities, and facilities, among others. Diagnostic labs employ shared inboxes to allow customers to know the time of opening, types of tests conducted, and other information. Many labs send the reports over mail and inform the same through the messaging app. The reputed pharmacies use shared inboxes to take orders for home deliveries, respond to queries about the availability of some specific medicines, receive complaints and feedback, among others.

To put it in a nutshell, WhatApp shared inbox is a great tool for businesses to respond to the messages of their customers or prospective customers. At BotSpace, we helped several companies in setting up their own multi-agent shared inbox so that their teamwork as a single unit in understanding what their customers want from them and how are they going to solve their problems. If you are one such organization, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.