WhatsApp API – notifications & customer care messages explained

September 3, 2019

Whilst WhatsApp API offers businesses the benefit of engaging with customers on the UK’s most messaging app, there are a few important differences to the WhatsApp we use in our everyday personal accounts.

WhatsApp define two message types; 1) Notifications (usually fee based) and 2) Customer Care chat (or free form messages as we are used to, which attract no charges).

Notifications, also known as push notifications are messages that organisations send to customers for various use cases. They could be to re-ignite a conversation with a prospect, or could be an update of some kind (for example, appointment reminder, parcel delivery tracking etc).

Customer care messages are when a customer sends a WhatsApp message to a company, and a 24 hour window opens up for company to reply and converse with the customer, with no fees.

But to engage with a customer, whether this be to reply to a message, or send them a notification, at first, you must ensure you have consent to do so. This agreement, or active consent, automatically takes place when a customer first sends you a message, by way of clicking on a call to action to message you. Whether this be on a hyperlink from your website, SMS & email communication, a check-box within a form or even a QR code from printed media.

As of June 2019, there are 10 types of notifications that you can send to your customers to react to, which we will cover below:

  • Account updates
  • You can update your customers about a change to their account settings. For example, this offers the customer the chance to react if they did not instigate the changes, or simple a update to the customer of changes to their membership status.
  • Payment requests
  • You can send information about an order via WhatsApp, which could be a billing invoice, or updating them of payment status.
  • Delivery Status
  • Keep your customers upto date about the status of their order. Shipping updates can give your customers comfort that their order is in safe hands and is on the way.
  • Billing updates
  • With these notifications, you can alert customers about missing payments, transaction history, and outstanding invoices due.
  • Reservation updates
  • Ideal for the hospitality industry, update customers about their table reservations, hotel bookings, maybe updates about their itinerary.
  • Appointment reminders
  • Doctors, vets, dentists, hair salons can all take advantage of updating their customers via WhatsApp.
  • Travel updates
  • Last min changes? No problem, delivery updates about a reservation, flight changes etc.
  • Ticket updates
  • Send your customer an e-ticket for an event via WhatsApp. This could include admission details for an event, FAQ’s, directions – or even a map to help for directions to a venue.
  • Alert updates
  • Need to get an urgent message to your customers?. You could be an ISP, and need to let everyone know about a platform outage. Car manufacturer needs to arrange a recall for a faulty component.
  • Issue resolution notification
  • If you haven’t resolved an issue within a 24 hour window, and you need a method to continue the conversation beyond the standard time-frame, then you can utilise IRN. You can use this service to reactivate the dialogue say 45 hours later, but it must always be related to the previous conversation.

Notifications are free for the recipients, but are chargeable to the company sending them when outside the 24 communications window. The prices will vary based on your country of origin, volumes, and the package taken – please ask us for pricing.

You can have as many notification templates as you wish, and you can submit new templates from your WhatsApp portal.

Should you wish these notifications to be embedded into your existing systems and workflow – let us know, and we can provide professional services to seamlessly embed WhatsApp into your operation.

If you refer to the Terms and Conditions of WhatsApp, you will find that it explicitly states that using the messaging app for any non-personal use is prohibited. Yet, close to 500 million use it daily for professional reasons.

It becomes imperative under such regulations to search out another platform that facilitates communication and collaboration between departments at work.

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