WhatsApp Business API is designed to send messages in a different way from the WhatsApp personal, WhatsApp Business and other chat applications. It is formulated with user comfort and convenience in mind while communicating with businesses via WhatsApp Business API. This article recommends steps to ensure communication done via WhatsApp Business API remain effective for customers and businesses.
WhatsApp Business API allows businesses to access a WhatsApp account from an unlimited number of devices at any one time. This feature directly overcomes the limitations of personal WhatsApp or regular WhatsApp Business accounts. The practicality and wide reach of users make WhatsApp Business API is the right communication channel for business.
To create convenience for users and to protect their privacy and space when communicating with businesses while using the platform, WhatsApp Business API was designed with unique limitations. These limitations were created by WhatsApp to avoid spammers from abusing the platform, which can cause annoyance and discomfort to users. Furthermore, these limitations also prevent businesses from engaging in spam, which can tarnish the reputation of any brand.
Customer Service Window
The Customer Service Window, or also known as the Customer Care Window, is a 24-hour time frame set by WhatsApp Business API which permits businesses to engage with customers using Session Messages during this period. With Session Messages, only consumers can initiate a chat on any topic with businesses.
Both parties are also free to use all available media tools, such as text messages, creating pictures and adding attachments (in .pdf or other format), videos, interactive buttons (such as Click-To-Action and Quick Replies) as well as location features. This can be utilized by businesses to create memorable and interactive conversations. All chats in Session Messages are also free.
How Session Messages Work
Inbound Message is a message that is initiated by consumers. Session Messages (Customer Service Window) are classified as part of aInbound Messages. Session Messages are intended as a medium for businesses to respond to chats with customers, not as a promotional message. As a result, businesses cannot use this feature to approach the customer with the exception of transactional notifications, such as OTPs (One-Time Passwords), proof of transactions, and other allowable message formats preset by WhatsApp.
Businesses must also ensure that the delivery of transactional notifications is in line with their system procedures. For example, we can use a consumer purchase flow integrated with a brand’s website. When the back-end of the company’s website system has received confirmation of payment from the consumer, the system is able to activate push notifications in the form of invoices to be sent to consumers via WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is committed to encourage business to build real-time conversations with their consumers. This explains the 24-hour grace period that must be adhered to by business (Customer Service Window), which is calculated from the time which the last chat was sent by consumers. Beyond that, the business will not be able to respond to the same consumer message thread anymore.
Then, how can a business reply to the chat after 24 hours has lapsed from the time since the last chat from the customer was received? Does it mean that conversations with consumers will simply stop?
The Solution: Messaging Templates!
This is where businesses can do magic using the Outbound Message feature. This feature allows business to initiate conversations with the customer under some particular conditions. This Outbound Message is classified under the Messaging Template feature.
The Messaging Template feature is highly recommended for use both as a notification medium for consumers and to encourage consumers to continue previous conversations. The goal is to reactivate the Customer Service Window so that businesses will not be charged when replying to consumer messages.
In addition, business communication can run more efficiently because there is no need to respond to redundant matters manually. It is also important for customer agents to ensure that the Messaging Template is designed in accordance with WhatsApp’s requirements and is rich in context!
How does Messaging Template work?
In order to submit a Messaging Template, a business must be able to confirm that they have enabled active opt-in for the customer in question. The active opt-in feature is a condition where the consumer has agreed to receive information or to be contacted on WhatsApp by the business. Active opt-in can also be done through several channels such as through WhatsApp itself using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Flows and WhatsApp Thread, as well as external channels such as company websites.
After the active opt-in is obtained, businesses can invite customers to continue the conversation again. Businesses can use a Messaging Template in two ways:
1. Using Highly Structured Messages (HSM)
Highly Structured Messages (HSM), also known as WhatsApp Broadcast Message, are outbound messages that can be customized according to the needs of each business to reach out to its customers especially after the Customer Service Window ends. To be able to send HSM, businesses need to coordinate with their WhatsApp API provider or WhatsApp Business API dashboard provider such as Qiscus Multichannel Chat.
2. Interactive Message Templates: Predefined Buttons
A second way is for businesses to take advantage of the Interactive Message Templates to invite customers to continue the conversation by providing direct options which consumers can choose from. Businesses can send messages which are more than just standard message templates as well as media messages templates and make chats more straightforward through predefined buttons.
WhatsApp Business API has provided 2 options which businesses can choose from: Quick Reply Buttons and Call-to-Action Buttons. These two buttons can be used both in text messages and in media messages so that businesses can adjust them according to their needs.
HSM and Interactive Message Templates (Predefined Buttons) are two applications of pre-approved Messaging Templates. This means that users will require approval from WhatsApp before they can share them with consumers. So, to be able to send these out, make sure all the conditions are met!
Questions About WhatsApp Business API?
The various regulations created by the WhatsApp Business API are aimed at creating a secure and convenient messaging platform for its users. If you still have other questions regarding the WhatsApp Business API, don’t hesitate to discuss with us.