As a WhatsApp Business solution provider we can provide you with the ability to use WhatsApp to send messages to your customers, or engage with them in two way conversations. This guide will show you how to set this up and get started.
Why use WhatsApp Business?
- WhatsApp is a simple, reliable, and private way to talk to anyone in the world.
- More than 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends, family and businesses, anytime and anywhere.
- WhatsApp Business helps businesses and customers connect quickly and easily.
- Customers want to connect with businesses in the same way they chat with their friends and family with fast, simple, and convenient messaging.
- WhatsApp Business is a way for businesses to better manage conversations with their customers and provide useful information.
How can I use WhatsApp Business?
What types of messages can I send?
WhatsApp business messages are ideal for:
- Sending opted in users alerts, reminders and notifications
- Converse with your customers to provide outstanding customer service
- Automate replies with chatbots so you can reach more people with less overhead
- Non-transactional notifications to opted in users with personalized, relevant and specific content
Please ensure you have reviewed and comply with WhatsApp business messaging policies.
In order for you to contact your customers via WhatsApp you will need to gain permission from them by obtaining an explicit opt-in to contact them via WhatsApp. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, as long as:
- the opt-in requires an active opt-in, e.g. checking a box, responding with a specific response etc...
- it is clear that they are opting into receiving WhatsApp messages from a business
- you must clearly state the business’ name that a person is opting in to receive messages from
- the types of message are clearly stated
- the WhatsApp logo is shown if possible (see https://whatsappbrand.com/)
- you must comply with applicable law
Website based opt-in
We would recommend using check boxes on websites with a clear statement that checking the box means the business may contact you via WhatsApp, and ensuring you use the WhatsApp logo, so the user recognizes the channel. Optionally you may want to capture / confirm the phone number that will be used with WhatsApp for the user.
You could send an email to customers asking them to either visit your contact preferences center on your website to opt-in to WhatsApp, as detailed above.
If you already have permission to SMS your customers, then you could send an SMS to your customers as a one off exercise to invite them to opt-in to future communications via WhatsApp. You could either ask them to either visit your contact preferences center on your website and include a link, or simply ask them to reply with an explicit keyword to opt-in: e.g.
Hi, to receive future order updates from Acme Inc via WhatsApp instead of SMS simply reply "WhatsApp" to this message. Thanks
More information about gaining opt-ins can be found here
What types of messages can I send?
WhatsApp allows businesses to send two types of messages and these are template messages and conversation session messages. When and what you can send in each of these message types is described below:
A template message is a pre-approved by WhatsApp template based message. These messages may be sent at anytime to opted-in WhatsApp users. The templates are text based (with optional picture) and can contain merge fields to allow personalization, date times or currency values to be dynamically added at the point of sending. As part of our WhatsApp onboarding programme we will assist you with the registration of your templates, subject to WhatsApp approval.
Conversation session messages
If your customer reaches out to you via WhatsApp, then you may respond to them and start a conversation. You should ensure that all inbounds are answered promptly and a quality experience is received by your customer. Conversations last for 24 hours from the last inbound message received from the customer. During a conversation you may assist your customers as appropriate, and this may include recommending products and selling to them.
Unlike template messages session messages can contain rich content and are not template based. You may send:
- Text messages
- Text + URL (with preview)
- Location (Only customer to business)
Supported Media Types
The following media types are supported in session messages:
|Media Type||Supported File Types|
|Document||PDF, DOC(X), PPT(X), XLS(X)|
|Image||JPG, JPEG, PNG|
|Audio||AAC, M4A, AMR, MP3, OGG, OPUS|
Inviting customers to chat
WhatsApp provides a simple way to embed links into websites and messages to invite customers to chat via WhatsApp, the feature is called "Click to Chat". This feature allows you to create a URL using the WhatsApp phone number for your business and an optional pre-filled text message, which when clicked either opens WhatsApp on a mobile device or navigates to the WhatsApp for web site. An example would be:
Setting Up WhatsApp for Business
As a WhatsApp solutions provider we will manage your onboarding and liaise with WhatsApp to setup your WhatsApp Business Account (WABA), register your WhatsApp phone numbers and register your templates for your approved use cases. This step must be completed prior to completing the channel setup, and our Client Engagement team will guide you through this process.
During this process you will need to provide:
- Details of your business, and intended WhatsApp use
- The specific use cases and message wording associated you want to send via WhatsApp
- Details of your opt-in process
- A phone number to use with your WhatsApp Business Account
WhatsApp Phone numbers
You can register one or more phone numbers with you WABA to be used to send and receive messages on WhatsApp. These numbers will be visible to a WhatsApp user but only if they look at you business profile in WhatsApp, otherwise they will just see the name you set in the business profile.
Phone number ownership verification
WhatsApp require the ownership of phone numbers you want to use to be verified. This verification process can be performed using either an SMS message or a voice call. A verification code will be sent or read out to you; this must be noted down and entered into the portal to complete the verification process.
If you choose to use an existing phone number for your business rather than have us allocate you one, then please ensure it can be verified with WhatsApp. Note for voice call verification any automated telephony systems will need to be temporarily disabled in order to receive the call.
Verifying a number
WhatsApp will require you to verify you own the phone number you choose to use with WhatsApp. The verification process will be either by SMS or voice; note for voice calls any automated telephony systems will need to be disabled in order to receive the call.
Once we have setup your WhatsApp numbers we will contact you to arrange to verify the ownership of the numbers, which is a one off process.
We can provide a phone number
We can provide a UK mobile number to use with your WhatsApp Business Account, we will also complete the phone number verification on your behalf to make life simple.
How do I start sending?
To find out more about sending to WhatsApp using the Communications API please check out the docs here