WhatsApp

How to setup WhatsApp so that you can use "One" API to send messages to and from your customers

As a WhatsApp Business solution provider we can provide give you 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.

Gaining permission

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

For instance:

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.

An example web site control to capture a WhatsApp opt-inAn example web site control to capture a WhatsApp opt-in

An example web site control to capture a WhatsApp opt-in

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Use our opt-in forms to make obtaining opt-ins simple

Using our opt-in forms you can easily add a prebuilt opt-in form to your web site with little effort

Email opt-in

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.

SMS opt-in

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

Other ways

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:

Template Messages

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 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)
  • Image
  • Audio
  • Document
  • Location (Only customer to business)
WhatsApp rich messagingWhatsApp rich messaging

WhatsApp rich messaging

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:

https://wa.me/15551234567?text=I'm%20interested%20in%20your%20car%20for%20sale

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.

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Phone numbers will need verifying

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.

Verifying a number

Once we have setup your WhatsApp numbers you can request the verification code and verify your numbers by doing the following:

  1. Open your API Space in the portal and open the Channels menu on the left (highlighted in green below), and select the Verify button from the WhatsApp section (highlighted in yellow)
  1. In the dialogue click the Request Code button and select from either Voice or SMS verification. If your number is SMS enabled then this is the easiest, otherwise use voice to receive a call. Note: Any automated answering facilities must be disabled to receive the call!
  1. Now enter the verification code you received either by SMS or voice call in the box provided at the bottom of the dialogue and click Verify. If you have issues please ensure the code is entered correctly with the correctly and ensuring no leading or trailing spaces. e.g.
619-020
  1. You should receive confirmation of the code being verified and you can now move onto configuring the business profiles for your numbers.

  2. Repeat the steps above for each WhatsApp number.

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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.

Configuring your WhatsApp channel

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You must have been approved for WhatsApp use first!

The WhatsApp channel will only be visible once we have completed the initial setup, please contact your Client Engagement manager for more details.

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More than one WhatsApp channel

You will see a WhatsApp channel for each phone number you have WhatsApp enabled in the channels screen, so just repeat the configuration steps below for each of them.

Now you have been approved to use WhatsApp as a business and verified your phone numbers you can proceed to setup the business profiles for them as detailed below:

  1. Open your API Space in the portal and open the Channels menu on the left (highlighted in green below), and select the Business Profile button from the WhatsApp section (highlighted in yellow)
  1. Fill in your businesses details for the WhatsApp phone number; please ensure they are accurate as this information is visible to all WhatsApp users. Click Save when finished.
  1. Click the HSMs button on the Channels page. Check that the templates you asked us to register are present and correct. Please raise any issues with your Client Engagement manager.
  1. Repeat the steps above for each WhatsApp number.

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You're done

Now that you have setup your WhatsApp channel in the portal you are ready to start engaging your audience using the "One" API or see below for details of how to configure the Chat tool to use WhatsApp.

To find out more about sending to WhatsApp using the "One" API please check out the docs here

Configuring Chat to use WhatsApp

Once you have setup your WhatsApp channel as described above you can enable a chat team to receive your inbound WhatsApp conversations. To do this follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Contact -> Chat -> Configure section from the left hand menu (highlighted in green below), choose your team (or create one) and click the Setup button in the WhatsApp section.
  1. A chat team may have one WhatsApp phone number associated with it, so now in the pop-up click on the drop down arrow and select the WhatsApp enabled phone number this team will use.
Assigning a WhatsApp number to a teamAssigning a WhatsApp number to a team

Assigning a WhatsApp number to a team

  1. It is recommended, but optional, to define which template can be used to allow your customer agents to re-engage with customers whose conversations have lapsed due to being over 24 hours since the last inbound message. For example if a customer messages in during the weekend but no agent is available until Monday when the agent goes to reply it isn't possible due to the conversation window expiring, but using the re-engagement message the agent can easily send a template message to make the customer aware you may help them now by simply clicking a button.

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No merge fields in the re-engagement template

Only template messages which have no merge fields will be listed for selection as the template to send to re-engage a chat, as no personalisation is supported for re-engagement messages.

Setting a re-engagement messageSetting a re-engagement message

Setting a re-engagement message

Chat agents prompt to re-engage if the conversation window has lapsedChat agents prompt to re-engage if the conversation window has lapsed

Chat agents prompt to re-engage if the conversation window has lapsed

  1. Now click Add to team to complete the process.

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All done

Try starting a WhatsApp conversation with your WhatsApp phone number you assigned and ensure it arrives in Chat to test the configuration.