WhatsApp announces new tools for businesses and customers to connect

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WhatsApp said Wednesday that it's expanding the ways businesses can connect with people on the popular Facebook-owned messaging app.

After reporting sluggish earnings growth last week, Facebook has made a decision to monetize WhatsApp by display ads of businesses that link out to the messaging service, The Verge is reporting.

They can respond to messages from users for free for up to 24 hours, but will be charged a fixed rate by country for messages sent after that.

Request helpful information: When you need a shipping confirmation or boarding pass, you can give your mobile number to a business on their website, on their app, or in their store to send you information on WhatsApp.

The new features are available for both Android and iOS users but they must first download the latest version via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. They can be automated or provided by human customer assistants. Companies will now be able send customized notifications to people and run News Feed ads that redirect to WhatsApp chats.

"Tapping into WhatsApp has had a big impact on our business and customers, with lots of potential yet to be explored".

"When a person taps on an Ad that clicks to WhatsApp, they will be transferred to a pre-filled WhatsApp chat where they can message your business quickly", writes Facebook.

"Group calls are always end-to-end encrypted, and we've designed calling to work reliably around the world in different network conditions", said the company is a statement.

WhatsApp had launched WhatsApp Business to help enterprises better manage conversations with customers.