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Starting WhatsApp Chats
Starting WhatsApp Chats

WhatsApp outbound guidelines for agents

Written by Shelby Glynn
Updated over a week ago

Follow these best practices for starting and maintaining WhatsApp chats while using message templates and staying within the 24-hour window.

User Level:

  • Agent

The 24-Hour Chat Window

As per Meta's policy, verified WhatsApp business users must adhere to certain restrictions while using the platform. These rules exist for the purpose of protecting end customers and maintaining Meta's brand. The 24-hour chat window is one of the restrictions WhatsApp integration users will need to follow while using the app.

How it Works

Inbound-Only Numbers

When using inbound-only company WhatsApp numbers, you must wait for customers to message first. Once you receive a customer WhatsApp message, you must reply within the 24-hour window from when their message delivered. If you don't reply in time, the chat will expire, and you will have to wait for the customer to reach out in order to refresh it. A new timer starts each time the customer sends a message.

Outbound-Enabled Numbers

For new outbound chats, or within chats that have expired—meaning you weren't able to respond to the customer within 24 hours—you will only be able to reach out to the customer through templated messages. Once the customer responds to you, the 24-hour window will begin.

As long as the 24-hour countdown window is still ticking, you will be able to send freeform messages. If the customer stops responding or you are not able to reply in time and the chat expires, you will need to revert to using templated messages again when you want to reach out.

Start / Refresh a Chat

To start a new chat or to refresh a chat with an expired 24-hour window, you must use one of your company templates. Templates can be accessed from your CloudTalk Phone messages screen.

  1. Clicking the + from the messages screen, select WhatsApp as the message type.

  2. Select the number you want to message from the contact list.

  3. If given the option, select the company number or existing chat you want to message your contact from.

  4. Select an available template to start a WhatsApp chat with your contact. Fill in your desired values for the template variables. Choose selected to proceed.

  5. Before sending, there will be a chance to preview the message with the values you filled in. Hit the back arrow to edit, or tap Send.

  6. While waiting for the recipient to respond, you will only be able to send more messages in the form of templates.

  7. Once your customer responds, you will be able to send freeform messages as long as you reply within the 24-hour window, which refreshes after each customer message.

  8. If you are not able to reply to the customer response within the 24-hour window, you will once again be restricted to using templated messages until the customer responds again.

Using Templates

Your company may have multiple templates available for you to chose from. As an agent, you are not able to edit, add, or delete the available templates.

When choosing a template, select what seems the best fit for the situation from the preview. You have the option to go back and change your choice before proceeding further.

Sending WhatsApp templated messages is not currently supported on our mobile app.

Dynamic Variables {{}}

The numbers {{1}} {{2}} {{3}} you see in templates are places where you will be able to fill in a blank before sending the message. When filling in these blanks during message creation, try to put a value that clearly fits the situation. Depending on your account setup, you may see a suggestion in the text box, such as company, name, etc.

Before sending your templated WhatsApp message, always make sure to carefully read the message preview. Make sure the message makes sense and is professional, with appropriate spelling and capitalization for the words you added.

Daily Message Limit

In addition to the 24-hour response window, there is a restriction on the number of messages you can send per day. This limit depends on factors outside of our control, and is based on a tier system enforced by Meta. When your daily limit is reached, any attempted message will not send, and you will see a warning notification in the chat.

If you need any further assistance please do not hesitate to reach out to our Support team, we are always happy to help!

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