The age of the mobile app is here, and arguably, WhatsApp is the leader of the pack. The instant messaging app has quickly replaced SMS and has become the most popular messaging channel in the UK, with a predicted 38 million users by 2025.
WhatsApp’s popularity has many roots; it’s free and fast, offers direct and group messaging, simple content sharing and guarantees that all messages are encrypted, meaning they cannot be read by anyone but the sender and the reader.
While these factors have created huge appeal for the consumer, it seems the pull has also attracted many businesses too. Companies across the country now use WhatsApp to conduct internal communications, share sensitive information, and make client calls using the mobile app.
The appeal for businesses isn’t hard to understand; again, WhatsApp is cheap, simple, offers free phone calls and many people are already familiar with it through personal use. But WhatsApp wasn’t designed for businesses and there are plenty of reasons why leaders should steer clear of using the app for internal and external comms.
Is WhatsApp good for business?
While WhatsApp has made messaging easier for consumers, the platform wasn’t built to accommodate business communications. The app doesn’t offer any reporting functions making it almost impossible to track calls and gain insights into call trends to make crucial improvements.
WhatsApp has been designed for personal use and doesn’t allow back-end access, meaning business leaders can’t track how employee time is being used. The lack of call recording leaves managers in the dark about whether consistent customer service is being deployed and the performance of individuals handling those calls.
Hybrid working will only exacerbate these points. While many businesses have trust in their employees to start and finish on time but without an accurate tracking system, how can you root out the bad eggs?
From an employee’s point of view, how can they ensure their work-life balance remains consistent if clients are calling and messaging out of hours? Staff retention is key to a successful business and a work-life balance is key to staff retention.
Encrypted data is great for ensuring information is secure, but a mobile app, whether used on a work phone or a personal phone, leaves customer data vulnerable. What happens if an employee leaves the business? They take all that customer data with them, and potentially, hand it to a competitor.
For clients, WhatsApp is less than ideal for holding up customer service. The lack of customer management in the form of automated answering systems and voicemails means essential information such as opening times and updates is neglected.
Then there’s the lack of call routing. For any business that uses telephone communications, answering calls is vital. If a user is busy on a WhatsApp call and a client rings, that call will not be routed to another free agent and won’t be answered. This isn’t a great look for businesses that need their customer interest to stay high. How do you route incoming calls to multiple workers answering specific enquiry lines without issuing multiple phone numbers or setting up a group calling-in number?
Opting to not have a traditional business PBX system may cut costs for companies, but at what cost to customer service and business improvement?
WhatsApp vs VoIP
So, what’s the alternative for businesses that need fast, secure, and affordable communication platforms? For businesses that want sustained and meaningful growth, VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol) is the answer.
Quickly becoming the most popular way for teams to keep in touch, especially with the approach of the 2025 Switch Off, VoIP allows staff to communicate with each other and customers, no matter where they’re working from, as long as they have an internet connection.
The platform can be used alongside a PBX system to allow businesses of all sizes to scale their communications and manage when and who calls are going to easily for the best balance of customer service and employee satisfaction.
But what gives VoIP the edge over WhatsApp? VoIP grants businesses more features, more insight, more intelligence, and more scalability. Whether it’s using video calling to connect with clients, instant messaging for internal comms, conferencing to showcase your business, or accessing reports to tackle customer service snags, VoIP has been designed to help businesses succeed.
Businesses need that want to succeed need to ensure they’re providing exceptional customer service and to do that, they need to ensure they’re able to communicate with them quickly and effectively. Organisations can’t risk conducting their business communication over a platform built for conversations between friends.
WhatsApp may work well for an independent or freelance worker, but for businesses with a client base, a team of staff, and ambitions to grow, a PBX system combined with a VoIP platform is the ultimate business solution and will allow businesses to scale their communications more effectively than apps like WhatsApp.
If you’d like to discover more about how Express Telephony can set your business up with secure, efficient VoIP services, please get in touch!