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How to Create a WhatsApp Chatbot in 5 Steps [For Free in 2022]

Jeremy DSouza
.
Jul 15
.
5-7 mins

Table of contents

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Create WhatsApp Chatbot

Since you’re here, it means that you have understood that you need to engage your customers over the channel they are most comfortable using. Kudos to you! 

You know that your customers are rather active over WhatsApp. Now, you have three questions on your mind.

  • How do you improve your customer experience on WhatsApp?
  • Can you engage customers over WhatsApp manually, or do you need a chatbot?
  • How do you create a chatbot on WhatsApp?

Well, we’ve got all the answers you are looking for.

We’re going to help you decide whether you need a WhatsApp business bot, then show you exactly how to create a bot, and walk you through all the steps involved in deploying it on WhatsApp in just 5 minutes.

Grab on to your seats. We’re getting started!

What is WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API is an API that is used by medium and large businesses to scale up their customer engagements on WhatsApp with chatbots, broadcasts, and other special features that are not available with the WhatsApp Business App.


It is used the most by large businesses that have a lot of customers and a business suite that integrates with their other systems, software and data.

What is a WhatsApp chatbot?

A WhatsApp chatbot is a system that either uses artificial intelligence or pre-programmed rules to engage your customers and audience on the WhatsApp platform. Engati's WhatsApp chatbots use AI and our proprietary NLP (Natural Language Processing) engine to intelligently interact with your customers. You can use them to answer customer questions about your products and services, share content, drive sales, and send notifications regarding orders, payments, shipping, etc.

WhatsApp business chatbots run over the WhatsApp Business API to intelligently engage with your customers, employees, students, and other types of users, without any need for human intervention.

Why create your own WhatsApp chatbot?

If you have a very small clientele, you might be able to survive by manually responding to each message. But as your business grows, that will become harder.

However, even if you have a limited customer base, there is still one major problem with manually answering every question - a lack of speed.

Your customers will have to wait for you to get around to answering their questions. This means that more often than not, they won’t get an answer when they want it. That’s never a good idea.

If you’re into eCommerce or retail, that puts you in a more challenging position. 53% of online shoppers abandon their carts for lack of instant answers. 

So, if you’re interested in having satisfied customers and protecting your carts from abandonment, you should create a WhatsApp chatbot for your business.


Steps to create WhatsApp chatbot in 2022 (at a glance)

Here’s where we show you how to make a WhatsApp bot in 5 steps.

  • Building a chatbot
  • Requirements
  • Setup
  • Configuring WhatsApp
  • Test it

How to create a WhatsApp chatbot?

Here are the steps to create a WhatsApp chatbot in 2022:

Step 1: Building a chatbot

When it comes to creating a chatbot, you’ve got two choices.  

  • Code it
  • Use a powerful, no-code chatbot platform (hint, this is the better choice)

Building it with a no-code chatbot platform like Engati is the wiser choice. After all, why would you make the effort to painstakingly code a chatbot when you can build your WhatsApp chatbot visually?

We can help you get your bot up and running and start delighting your customers much faster than if you chose to code it yourself.

Also, we gives you in-depth analytics about your conversations with customers, helping you measure the effectiveness of your WhatsApp messages.

Core components of a chatbot

Every chatbot you build has a few core building components.

  • FAQs: FAQs are the set of query variations along with the appropriate response.
  • Paths: Engati lets you easily create your WhatsApp chatbot for your business with paths using a drag and drop UI.
  • Intents and entities: You can even create FAQs with intents to handle specific system entities like dates and locations. They can even handle custom entities.
  • Synonyms and stopwords: Your Engati chatbots even have the ability to handle synonyms and allow you to configure and manage stopwords.

chatbot components
Components of a chatbot

Bonus: You can even automate the training of your bot with the help of our DocuSense technology. It can parse through the documents you upload and assimilate 12 pages of data every 8 seconds.

We’ve even embedded a video at the bottom of this article, showing you how to make a chatbot and deploy it on WhatsApp. It’s going to take you step-by-step through the process.

Step 2: Fulfill the requirements to deploy chatbots on WhatsApp

After you create your WhatsApp bot, there are a few things you need to deploy it.

  1. First, you need to have access to WhatsApp Business APIs. WhatsApp grants access to these APIs themselves through their partners.
  2. To receive WhatsApp Chatbot API access, you’ll also need a verified business on Facebook (Meta).
  3. You also need to register a phone number as your WhatsApp Business phone number
  4. WhatsApp will call this number up to confirm and activate it for your WhatsApp Business Account, so you need to make sure that the number can receive calls from the USA.


Step 3: Setup and connect your WhatsApp business account on Engati

In the Engati portal, navigate to the Deploy tab and select WhatsApp. Now you’d want to choose your provider from the drop-down menu. To set up your WhatsApp bot in the fastest way possible, choose 360Dialog as your WhatsApp provider (doing this also allows you to create WhatsApp message templates that can be used for broadcast messages directly from the Engati portal).

Deploy Your whatsapp chatbot with Engati
Choosing your WhatsApp Business API service provider

Now, you’re going to have to update a couple of fields:

  • Phone Number
  • API key

Step 4: Configure WhatsApp

You’d want to log into your 360Dialog account. Now, you need to navigate to the ‘WhatsApp account’ section.

You’ll be able to find your WhatsApp business phone number here.

Copy your registered and approved WhatsApp Business phone number and paste it into the phone number field on the Engati portal. Make sure to add the country code without any spaces or a ‘+’ sign.

WhatsApp business number
Enter your Business phone number

Now, go back to the ‘WhatsApp account’ section on the 360Dialog portal. Click on ‘Generate API key’.

WhatsApp API key generate
Generate your WhatsApp API key


You can only generate your WhatsApp chatbot API key once, so copy it and store it in a secure manner.

Now paste your API Key in the Engati portal.

Now, if you want to use voice interactions on your WhatsApp business chatbot, enable voice input (use the checkbox in the bottom left corner, as depicted in the image above) and upload your JSON voice file.

Step 5: Test your WhatsApp chatbot

Now that you’ve entered all your details, you’re ready to test the Engati chatbot that you created on WhatsApp.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve learned how to make your WhatsApp bot. Now, the question in your mind is, ‘Can I integrate my WhatsApp bot into my website?’

Don’t worry. We are going to show you how to do that too.

Create your Whatsapp Chatbot for 5$ a day.
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How to add a WhatsApp button to your website

First off, you’ll need to add a div with the WAButton ID.


<!--Div where the WhatsApp will be rendered-->  

<div id="WAButton"></div>  


Now, you will need to add a script block on that div.


<script type="text/javascript">  

   $(function () {

           $('#WAButton').floatingWhatsApp({

               phone: 'WHATSAPP-PHONE-NUMBER', //WhatsApp Business phone number

               headerTitle: 'Chat with us on WhatsApp!', //Popup Title

               popupMessage: 'Hello, how can we help you?', //Popup Message

               showPopup: true, //Enables popup display

               buttonImage: '<img src="whatsapp.svg" />', //Button Image

               //headerColor: 'crimson', //Custom header color

               //backgroundColor: 'crimson', //Custom background button color

               position: "right" //Position: left | right

           });

       });

</script>  

Sounds easy, right? It’s even easier than it appears! Register and create your own WhatsApp bot today!

Examples of powerful WhatsApp chatbots

1

Larsen & Toubro

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) needed a solution to engage their workforce of 3,30,000 employees across sites, answer all their questions, and receive progress updates from them.

They deployed an intelligent chatbot operating in English and Hindi over WhatsApp and Telegram.

It facilitates communication between employees working at their various construction sites and off-site project managers. By sending questions to the workers and collecting their responses, the bot has reduced the time spent on daily reporting. 

It has even simplified the process of tracking progress across multiple projects for the project managers.

2

Poppy's

Poppy’s is another major retailer and eCommerce store that opted to use a WhatsApp bot with Engati Live Chat. This power-packed combination of automation and the human touch helps with lead generation as well as customer support, ensuring that customers get all their questions answered instantly, irrespective of complexity!

Their bot can pull information about all their products and share it with customers in both English and Spanish.

Since catalogs are constantly changing, training the bot manually would not make sense. Poppy’s did not want to upload FAQs about every single product manually.

That’s why they opted to use DocuSense. Our DocuSense technology uses cognitive search to parse their documents and answer customer questions based on the information in them.

The result? Customers get answers to all their questions, while Poppy’s team does not need to spend time manually training their bot!

3

Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates uses Engati to provide customer service and run its loyalty program. They use an intelligent chatbot for WhatsApp, along with Live Chat, to give their patrons a fantastic experience.

Their bot uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to pull details from receipts uploaded by guests. So, all they need to do is send their receipts to the bot, and their loyalty points are automatically allocated without human intervention.


FAQs

1

What are the prerequisites for creating a chatbot on WhatsApp?

To deploy a chatbot on WhatsApp Messenger, all you need is a verified business on Facebook, a registered WhatsApp business phone number, and an official WhatsApp Business API (which Engati helps you get).


2

How do you make a chatbot on WhatsApp?

After building your chatbot on the Engati portal, navigate to the ‘Deploy’ section and click on WhatsApp. Now you’ll need to select a provider and update a few fields, including your phone number, API key, SID, and Client URL. You can find a comprehensive explanation in the developer docs.


3

What are session and template messages in WhatsApp?

Session messages are messages sent within 24 hours of a user-initiated conversation. If you wish to initiate a conversation with customers after that window of time has expired, you would need to send them a predefined template message. To limit spam, WhatsApp used to control the approval of the templates and it even charges for these messages.

‍Earlier, WhatsApp was against using template messages for marketing purposes, so the company only allowed you to send messages regarding payment confirmations, account updates, order status, shipping updates, etc. Any templates that WhatsApp considered promotional were rejected, so you could not really drive marketing campaigns and announce discounts very effectively here. But that has since changed. 

WhatsApp has recently permitted the use of promotional templates, thus making it possible for you to announce your sales and discount campaigns to your customers over WhatsApp, allowing you to drive more conversions, earn more revenue, and gain more value from your WhatsApp AI chatbot.

4

How do I send broadcasts over a WhatsApp chatbot?

You can use broadcasts to send plain text messages, messages with options, and even take users through paths. We even allow you to schedule your broadcasts and target them to specific segments of your users. To broadcast messages on WhatsApp outside the 24-hour window, you will need to use a template message.

‍The good news is that you don’t need to go to the 360Dialog portal and create new broadcasts from there every time you want to send a template message.

All you’d have to do is set the templates up directly in the conversation flow while building your WhatsApp API chatbot by making use of the Template Message node.

5

How do I get access to WhatsApp APIs?

WhatsApp distributes its business APIs through its partners. When you create a WhatsApp bot on our platform, Engati will help you get access to these APIs.

6

What is the cost of a WhatsApp chatbot?

Since WhatsApp does not allow advertisements to be run on their platform, they earn revenue by charging for the use of their WhatsApp APIs. WhatsApp Marketing is thriving and you must leverage the power of reaching out to your customers via WhatsApp. So, while it is not free to deploy a chatbot, through our partnerships with WhatsApp API providers, Engati can help you do that at a competitive price.

7

How do you segment broadcast lists on your WhatsApp chatbot?

You can segment your existing user lists on the basis of user attributes, but there is an even easier way for you to do that. It is possible for you to set up your WhatsApp API chatbot to automatically subscribe your chatbot users to broadcast campaigns on the basis on the actions that they take while interacting with the template messages from your chatbot.

In addition to that, you can also choose to upload a list of users with a certain attribute and send your broadcast message campaigns to them.

This allows you to target your users with broadcast messages that actually appeal to their interests, rather than annoying them with irrelevant announcements.

8

How do WhatsApp chatbots help with omnichannel support?

WhatsApp chatbots play an important role in an effective omnichannel support strategy because over 2 billion people around the world use WhatsApp. These users open the app an average of 23 to 25 times a day, which means that WhatsApp Messenger is definitely an important messaging app for them.

It plays into your broader omnichannel support strategy because the bot you deploy on WhatsApp can also be deployed on Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Telegram, and 10+ other messaging channels. All your conversations across these channels can be managed in a OneView inbox, allowing your agents to always have context about past conversations across all channels. This means that your customers can continue conversations where they left off when they switch channels, making the experience truly omnichannel.


Create your WhatsApp bot now!

Create WhatsApp Chatbot steps (Infographic)


Infographic showing how to create a WhatsApp chatbot

Create your own Whatsapp chatbot for 5$ a day
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Jeremy DSouza

Jeremy is a marketer at Engati with an interest in marketing psychology and consumer neuroscience. Over the last year he has interviewed many of the world's brightest CX, AI, Marketing, and Tech thought leaders for Engati CX.

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