WhatsApp Channel

We are very excited to announce that Zingle now supports WhatsApp as a Channel! Join the two billion users already using WhatsApp around the world. Zingle customers today leverage this channel for customer support and relationship management. 

Zingle works with Twilio, an official partner of WhatsApp, and uses the Twilio WhatsApp API to support our WhatsApp Channel.

This article is designed to help you understand everything you need to know about the WhatsApp Channel, and whether it is a right fit for your business. 

 

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business API is designed for larger companies to establish their presence on WhatsApp. Zingle has integrated with the Twilio WhatsApp API so you can use our interface to engage with your customers on WhatsApp.

Here are the main use cases for using WhatsApp:

  • Send pre-arrival messages

  • Increase reach of international customers

  • Respond to customer messages within 24 hours of an inbound message

  • Send notification messages

  • Create a branded business presence on WhatsApp

 

How to Register for a WhatsApp Business Account

Zingle works with Twilio, an official partner of WhatsApp, for registration approval and phone number assignment.

To get started using WhatsApp on Zingle, reach out to your Zingle Account Manager and read these instructions on how to Register for a WhatsApp Business Account.

 

How to Use WhatsApp for Customer Support and Relationship Management

Using Zingle with the Twilio WhatsApp API to engage with your customers is a breeze when paired with the powerful features available on Zingle.

Even though your customers are responding to one WhatsApp Business account, you can still leverage team assignments, segments, tags, and automations to manage the incoming messages, making sure your team is responding in a timely, personalized manner. 

WhatsApp allows you to send freeform messages to any incoming message within 24 hours. After the 24 hour window has passed, you will be required to use an approved WhatsApp template message. Template messages are strings of text, with placeholders, pre-approved by WhatsApp. Our team at Zingle will work with you to submit or make edits to your templates as needed.

Sending Pre-Arrival Messages

WhatsApp now provides support for sending Pre-Arrival messages! Submit a "pre-arrival" message template to WhatsApp (for more details, see "Templates and Automated Responses" section below). Once that template has been approved, you will be able to initiate WhatsApp conversations with your customers by sending out pre-approved templated messages.

Customers frequently use this functionality to send pre-arrival welcome messages to their guests. For example: "Hello {First Name}, we are looking forward to your arrival on {Checkin-Date} at {Checkin-Time}. Please feel free to send a message here if you need anything. We're looking forward to welcoming you at Hotel Acme!"

For initiating an outbound message to a contact (e.g. starting a conversation or sending an outbound message for the first time to a WhatsApp contact), you may first see a 24-hour lock screen like so:

But once you insert a template, the screen will unlock and you will be able to send a pre-arrival message:

Make sure to replace only the content in curly brackets, otherwise, the message will violate WhatsApp's "approved template" requirements and fail to send.

If you are sending a message out to a group of contacts or to a tag/segment of contacts, then all auto-lock functionality will be disabled. This is because within that group of contacts, there may be a combination of WhatsApp vs non-WhatsApp recipients. We will allow you to proceed with sending the message, and any messages to WhatsApp recipients that don't fulfill the 24-hour or template requirements will fail.

You can view failed WhatsApp messages in two locations:

  • Within the Inbox thread:

  • Within the Message log. :

Free-Form Messaging within 24 Hours

WhatsApp session messaging is a limitation by WhatsApp to make sure businesses provide timely responses. This is part of Facebook's effort to ensure that WhatsApp becomes a leading platform for customer service.

This 24-hour rule encourages companies to prioritize responses on WhatsApp while discouraging spam-like marketing messages. 

Once you receive an inbound message from a customer, you will have 24 hours from the message received time to respond. The 24-hour timer resets again if the customer replies with another inbound message. Within this 24-hour window, you can send outbound messages with no restrictions.

24 Hour Auto-Lock in Zingle

Once the 24-hour session messaging window is closed, you will only be able to send approved, templated messages to your customers. In Zingle, it will look like this:

Note: The Twilio WhatsApp API currently does not support stickers. Sticker messages will come in with a note that says, "Unable to display sticker."  

 

Templates and Automated Responses

As noted above, once the 24-hour window passes, you can only send approved templated messages to your customers. 

Note that WhatsApp will not do any translations for your business. If you are planning to support more than one language, you will need to provide translations for all supported languages for all elements. 

A template usually includes strings of text, with placeholders, and needs to be pre-approved by WhatsApp.

You will be able to create up to 250 templates, with the option to increase the limit to 1500 upon submitting a support ticket.

The Zingle team will work with you to create all the templates you need and guide you through the submission process. You will be able to use Zings and automated messages outside of the 24-hour window restriction provided that the content in those messages is an exact match to the approved template messages.

If the message does not match an approved template, your message will be blocked by WhatsApp and fail to send.

Template Translations
If you need the same template in different languages, WhatsApp allows you to add multiple languages and indicate the corresponding translated message bodies for each translated template message. We recommend submitting all template translations together as they will have a higher chance of getting approved.

WhatsApp Templates - Dos
Consider the following tips to accelerate the template approval process:

  • Remember that someone outside your business will be reviewing your templates. Providing more clarity gives reviewers context around how the templates will be used. You can add sample messages to provide more context on how the template will be used. (Please do not include confidential or personal information in these samples. Your Zingle Account Managers will work with you to make sure best practices are followed)

  • If you need to write a message template to re-open the 24-hour window, we would suggest starting with some mention of the previous conversation thread:

    For example: "I'm sorry that I wasn't able to respond to your concerns yesterday but I'm happy to assist you now. If you'd like to continue this discussion, please reply with 'Yes.'"
    or
    "I was able to do some follow-up based on our previous conversation, and I've found the answer to your question about our refund policy. If you'd like to continue our conversation, please say 'Yes'."

 
WhatsApp Templates - Don'ts
Templates of an advertising, marketing, or promotional nature will be rejected. Examples include the following:

  • Offering coupon codes and/of free gifts

  • Upselling - example: "Welcome to Hotel California. We are offering 10% upgrades for our King and Queen suites right now. If you are interested, please respond to this message." 

  • Cold call messages - example: "Our agent tried to call you earlier today but you weren't available. Are you free to chat now?"

  • Sending a survey or poll to collect data - example: "How would you rate your stay with us? Please respond between 1-5."

  • Inclusion of certain words or phrases that make the message template sound promotional

Other reasons for template rejection:

  • Formatting is incorrect

  • Grammatical errors

  • Content contains potentially abusive or threatening language

 
Template Placeholders
You can include placeholders in your templates to be replaced with customer data later.

  • Placeholders must have double curly braces, such as {{1}}; single curly braces will not work.

  • Templates must have a specific, self-evident purpose. For example: submitting a template with just “{{1}} {{2}}” will be rejected because it could be abused to spam users. You need to surround the parameters with information so it is clear what type of information will be inserted.

For example, if your approved template is:

Hi {{1}}! Thanks for placing an order with us. We’ll let you know once your order has been processed and delivered. Your order number is {{2}}

Upon inserting the template in Zingle, you would replace {{1}} and {{2}} with the following :

“Hi Joe! Thanks for placing an order with us. We’ll let you know once your order has been processed and delivered. Your order number is O12235234”


Calls through WhatsApp?
Currently, Twilio/WhatsApp does not support calls through the WA Business API. There is no estimated timeline for this feature.

Can I import WhatsApp contacts to Zingle using CSV?
Yes, you can!

  • If an incoming file includes “WhatsApp” as a column, we should automatically create the “WhatsApp” channel field and import the associated number using this format: whatsapp:<E.164 formatted phone number>

  • If a service imports both a phone number and a WA number, we will set the phone number as default.

  • A user will need to have enabled the WhatsApp channel for this to work successfully. If the service doesn’t have a WA channel, WA shouldn’t be available to be mapped or shown in the UI.

  • If importing a phone number, and there’s an existing WA number, then we will match the contact

  • If importing a WA number, and there’s an existing phone number, then we will match the contact

  • This contact matching behavior will be the same with CSV imports or when a user manually adds a phone or WA number


To get started using WhatsApp on Zingle, reach out to your Zingle Account Manager and read these instructions on how to Register for a WhatsApp Business Account.

If you are already registered, you can find details here on How to Set Up your WhatsApp Channel.



Did this answer your question?