WhatsApp is making a further push towards enterprise customers and is experimenting with business verified accounts. The messaging juggernaut is moving more towards business in an effort to compete with rivals like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
In a FAQ session, the company says verification of business accounts will be managed with a green tick next to the account name. This tick will tell other users that WhatsApp has confirmed the account phone number belongs to the business linked to the account.
Unfortunately, the company has not said how it verifies accounts. Until it rolls out we will wait to see. Speaking of availability, WhatsApp says the verification is currently limited in a pilot program:
“WhatsApp business verification is currently limited to a small number of businesses participating in a pilot program.”
WhatsApp has been exploring business accounts for some time. The benefits of having an enterprise-specific part of the service are many. As mentioned, more robust business features will help the company compete against more dedicated workplace services.
Microsoft Teams and Slack are geared towards business, while WhatsApp is still consumer oriented. The Facebook owned company believes it can skew its user base between consumers and business. Doing so would also help to monetize the service.
Most of us remember the days of WhatsApp as a $1 per year service. That fee was dropped when Facebook took control of the company, but CEO Jan Koum has said there will not be ads in WhatsApp. Creating a specific business account fee would help bring money into the company.
One major business-minded change was made this year when the messaging giant pushed users to link accounts with their Facebook profiles. This was almost purely for ad-targeting and would appeal to companies who could use WhatsApp as a sales platform.
Naturally, this was a controversial change in policy, one that landed the company a fine in European courts.
For verified business accounts, the company is being more cautious. It will tell users when they are in contact with a verified business, simply by making the business messages yellow. However, there is a hint that the service will allow business to cold-message random users.
As this is a pilot program, the details are not complete fleshed out. When the service launches to all users, we expect WhatsApp to be clearer about the verification process.