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Developer Notes

René Hartman
Use WhatsApp to query your clients automatically

Communicating with the standard WhatsApp interface is tedious and error prone. We offer a tightly integrated solution through automation. Our customer is delighted with how much time is saved. Get in touch with us now to explore new possibilities!

 

WhatsApp is everywhere

Many people have adopted WhatsApp. The reason is simple: it allows people to communicate with each other, regardless of the phone they use. Moreover, the WhatsApp interface is very accessible. Generally, everyone has their phone nearby and is reachable. As a business, it is very valuable to have such a direct means to contact you existing customers.


The harsh reality

While it may be easy enough to send an occasional message, imagine the time it will take a business to reach out to their customers. Four days a week is no exaggeration. Case in point: RietBeheer, a Dutch roofing maintenance company, had two people spending two days a week sending out WhatsApp requests for upcoming due roof maintenance. This is merely the request; any replies are processed manually as well. [See his story below] Along with manual data entry and manipulation, there’s the increased chance of making mistakes. You don’t want that.


The solution

Getting in direct contact with your clients can be automated from your CRM solution. With the ‘WhatsApp for Business API’ hundreds of WhatsApp messages can be sent out at once. Obviously, you’ll have to follow up on replies requesting your services. Experts at Lesterius can implement WA for Business in your current FileMaker solution.


Requirements

Before you can leverage WhatsApp for Business, approval is needed. Here CM.com comes in. CM is a Meta business partner (who owns WhatsApp). CM will allow for a more streamlined and therefore speedier approval experience. You need to:

  1. identify yourself
  2. prove you are te business owner or are allowed to act on its behalf.

Upon approval, you can’t just start sending messages to your customers and possibly ‘abuse’ the platform.


How does it actually work?

The system is based on pre-approved ‘template’ messages. Despite this limitation, it offers many possibilities. Think about:

  • an order update
  • an appointment change
  • a payment confirmation
  • a request if maintenance service is needed in the next period
  • a yes / no ( /maybe ) question.

Your customers may reply back to you any time they want. When they do, you have a window of 24 hours to respond. 24 Hours after your customer’s last message, your message must be new. It will be based on a pre-approved template message again and thereby start a new conversation.


Personalisation

Don’t think every message has to be the exact same for every customer. By using variables in templates the message wil be personalised towards your specific customer.

Some possibilities are:

  • first name
  • order number
  • dates
  • images
  • documents
  • or whatever is relevant and available in your FileMaker solution.


The Answer and beyond

The kicker is, you have the ability to append up to three ‘quick reply’ buttons to your message. Instead of typing, the customer can click a button without having to leave WhatsApp and react instantly!

To get the answer (or any other messages) you need something called a webhook. Your FileMaker solution “listens” to whatever is send to the webhook and processes it in your database. What happens thereafter, is up to what you need and will be discussed with an expert.


Client story / use case

We have already implemented WhatsApp for RietBeheer. He is delighted! Their story sums it up.


About RietBeheer

At schoonpannendak.nl we provide thatched roof maintenance. We serve about 5.000 clients across the Netherlands. Part of our job, is to inspect the condition of a roof. We take pictures to be able to show and tell the condition of the home owner’s roof. Based on what the client sees, the decision is made whether maintenance is needed or will be held off for another year.


The old way

We easily send out more than 300 WhatsApp messages per month, using our FileMaker solution. Before, we had to click a button to open the WhatsApp desktop application and start a chat with a single customer. We would then need to manually type the message and click send. To send a message to the next customer, we had to return to the FileMaker solution and click that same button again… starting over this laborious process.


The new way

Now, we select the customers we want to notify, set the message contents we want to send and click a button. Done!


Fast and personalised

All of this can be done in a couple of seconds and all outgoing messages are personalised. The roof overview picture is automatically added. So, now it is very easy to reach many of our customers at once and to send yearly reminders.


All done with WhatsApp

Our client, typically the lady of the house, who wants her home well organised and maintained, does not have to leave WhatsApp to answer. WhatsApp is already a familiar tool. Of course, she can message us via WhatsApp just as well!


TAKE ACTION INSTANTLY

As a customer replies, their answer is automatically added and processed in our database. Our planner can take action accordingly.


Huge time saver

This FileMaker solution saves us so much time! – Boelie van de Beek, Schoonpannendak.nl


Get in touch

Are you as excited as our client? If you send lots of messages with WhatsApp and are interested in automating this, we can help you integrate with FileMaker. It will save you lots of time and efforts so you can focus on the more important things.

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