WhatsApp has introduced green verification badges for certain users but unlike Twitter’s blue ticks, these are for businesses rather than general public.
The messaging app is going to help businesses appear more prominently on the platform thanks to the introduction of a green badge next to their name in users’ contacts lists and will have a white tick in chats to set them apart from regular folk.
Sadly, for anyone hoping for some kind of elite status WhatsApp profile akin to Twitter’s badge-of-honour verified accounts mainly given out to journalists and celebrities, this won’t provide users with any extra privileges but like Twitter, could make some look more trustworthy.
It will hand out badges it deems worthy and then allow business and consumers to chat with each other more easily and allow some businesses to look more legitimate by being bestowed a green badge. Those without can still communicate with customers and open themselves up to the two million WhatsApp users, however.
The WhatsApp Business service has been in the pipeline for a while and was published on a support page on the platform’s website and explains the service works by requiring a customer to have the phone number of a business in their address book.
“We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organisations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight,” said CEO Jan Koum in a blog post in 2016.
Now it will allow customers to start talking to the business and will also allow companies to provide quick information such as opening hours and have pre-loaded automatic replies.
As the service is still being trialled no information on whether it will charge businesses or not.
The concern for some will be the obvious opportunity for businesses to spam customers with messages or deals although in such circumstances this can be solved with the ability to block accounts.
The service is currently being rolled out to a small number of businesses but will likely expand shortly, although it is only available on Android at the moment and is not known if an iOS version is in the works.
With WhatsApp heading into an e-commerce market it was recently revealed that it will be trialling a way to send payments between users using the app. It therefore makes sense that this could also be integrated to businesses as an easy way to pay for goods or services. – IBTimes