Telegram takes a page out of WhatsApp business book

Normally we’d get the ball rolling on one of these things with a snide joke, mocking WhatsApp’s light-fingered contempt for Telegram’s features.

Since Telegram is the one cribbing WhatsApp’s business notes, that isn’t possible.

Oh, right, Telegram is finally adding the option to turn your profile into a business one – unlocking access to business-centric features appropriate for business owners.

There’s just one catch: It’ll cost you.

Blink and you’ll miss it, but stuck right in the bottom of Telegram’s announcement is the caveat that business is reserved for its R60 per month-paying premium users.

There are ways to get one of those for free from Telegram, but be warned: Some personal information may be sacrificed in the process.

Circle back and touch base, yeah?

The idea is (extremely) reminiscent of Whats­App’s business offering, but with that additional flair (and cost) that Meta can’t quite muster.

You’ll need to convert your profile into a business one – like WhatsApp – after which you’ll have the ability to pin its location on a map and add in your business’ opening and closing hours.

Business accounts can also set up a ‘start page’, allowing for customisation of the sort of text or stickers new customers will see upon their first visit to the account. Showcase a product, unveil a list of prices, or address any repeated questions customers may bombard you with. Speaking of…

Quick replies are the app’s way of solving that very issue. Business accounts can craft several saved messages, which can be summoned and sent as quick messages at a moment’s notice with a simple ‘/’.

It wouldn’t be an update in 2024 if artificial intelligence wasn’t involved in some way or another.

Telegram is incorporating its ‘Bot’ network into businesses, allowing customers to delegate chats to artificially intelligent assistants.

Telegram reckons this won’t be the last we see of its business offering, with plans to introduce new features “in the coming updates”. –

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