What is WhatsApp Auto Reply?
WhatsApp Auto Reply is a feature introduced for the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API accounts. It allows businesses to respond with automated messages when a representative isn't physically available to attend to customers. This enables businesses to clearly define their business hours without ghosting any customer and being available for them 24/7.
Three types of auto-reply messages are commonly used on WhatsApp - Greeting messages and Away messages.
Greeting Messages - these are welcome messages automatically sent to introduce the business when customers initiate a conversation with the business.
Away Messages - these messages automatically respond to and acknowledge customers outside of business hours.
Quick replies - these are semi-automated messages that are triggered with a preset keyword, often used to send frequently sent messages to customers. The most common example of a quick reply is a thank you message.
Why do you need the WhatsApp auto-reply feature?
It is obvious that auto-reply is an essential feature for every kind of business.
But why? Let us elaborate.
Instant messaging, in its essence, is meant to be immediate at all times. WhatsApp as a platform has more than 2 billion users available and active at varied times.
Businesses move to WhatsApp to take advantage of this very fact, but unfortunately, this isn't always possible due to reasons like limited working hours and a shortage of human resources.
This is where WhatsApp Auto-replies come in.
With auto-replies, you can always be available to greet and respond to customers even outside your working hours. This allows you to:
- Be available to your customers 24/7
- Make a strong impression on new customers by greeting them with a customised welcome message.
- Inform your customers about your available hours and set a response time expectation.
- Collect customer data using a pre-chat survey quiz or through AI automated conversations
This increases customer satisfaction and gives your business an upper hand against competitors. WhatsApp auto replies make life much easier for all growing businesses.
WhatsApp auto-reply feature through WhatsApp Business Solutions?
There are two ways to set up and use the auto-reply feature for WhatsApp based on the WhatsApp business platform in use.
One is with WhatsApp Business App, and the other with WhatsApp Business API.
With WhatsApp Business App
The WhatsApp Business app is like a basic WhatsApp account but made for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It is a free app specially made for a business to interact and communicate with prospective, new and existing customers.
WhatsApp Business app allows you to automate your greeting and away messages along with semi-automating certain quick replies.
How to set up WhatsApp Auto-reply for the WhatsApp Business app?
Steps to set up WhatsApp Auto-reply messages:
To Set up Auto Replies, you need to:
1. Click on the three dots on the top right, head to Settings, and select 'business tools'.
There you will find the options of 'Greeting message', 'Away message' and 'Quick replies'.
2. Select 'Greeting message', 'Away message' or 'Quick replies' to initiate action.
- Greeting message
- Type your message and press 'Ok' to initiate.
- You can also customise the intended recipients by selecting from the options provided.
- Quick replies
- Tap ‘add’ to type out your desired message, then tap 'shortcut' to set the keyboard shortcut for your quick reply.
- Click 'Save' to initiate.
- Away message
- Type out your intended away message and press 'Ok'.
- Select between the three schedule options.
- Further, customise your intended recipients by selecting from the options provided.
WhatsApp Business also allows you to schedule your away messages.
There are three schedule options.:
- Always schedule - you can choose this option to let your customers know when you're not available for a longer period of time.
- Custom Schedule - you can choose this option to let your customers know that you're not available for a particular period of time in the day.
- Outside of Business hours - this option is to inform your customers that it is past your business hours and that they will be contacted at the earliest.
Select the Recipients
This is the final step with both the greeting message and the away message.
This section gives you the option to customise and select your intended recipients.
These options range from :
- Everyone - this option will send an automated message to everyone who tries to get in touch with you.
- Everyone not in the address book - this option will send an automated message to everyone who is not a part of your address book.
- Everyone except - this option will send the automated message to everyone except for the contacts you select to exempt.
- Only to - this will only send the automated message to the selected few contacts of your choice.
With WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp Business API is an application programming interface that expands on the WhatsApp Business app. It is a paid back-end interface meant for medium to large-scale businesses to interact with their larger customer base.
WhatsApp Business API can be integrated with a business software or automation tool like that allows you to automate more than just greeting and away messages.
You can automate your business API account using a WhatsApp Chatbot.
What can you automate with a WhatsApp chatbot?
A WhatsApp chatbot allows you to create conversational flows that can automate complete interactions with prospects and customers and engage them 24/7. Chatbots can:
- Greet customers who opt in for or initiate conversation
- Generate leads by collecting customer data in conversation
- Answers FAQ questions
- Engage customers in personalised conversations
- Recommend and sell products
How to set up WhatsApp Auto-reply for the WhatsApp Business API?
You can easily set up your Auto-reply on WhatsApp Business API by partnering with a business solutions brand like Engati.
With Engati, you can build your own rule-based or AI-programmed chatbot within minutes, create multiple conversational flows for both new and existing customers, and train your bot to interact with customers, provide necessary information, answer FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) and send away messages if a customer wants to interact with you in the duration of your absence, without the need for any human intervention.
To know how to set up a WhatsApp chatbot with Engati, check out our blog on “How to Create WhatsApp Chatbot in 5 Steps [For Free in 2022]”.