Before you can initiate messages with yours customers, they must first consent to receiving WhatsApp messages with an active opt-in. This opt-in must be done via a third-party channel you already use to communicate with your customers, for example your company website, app, email, SMS, store and more.
Active opt-in for receiving WhatsApp messages
An active opt-in means the opt-in is done by a user action, for example, when a customer enters their phone number or checks a box to give consent to you using their number for WhatsApp messaging. In addition, you need to clearly inform your customers on what exactly they are opting in for - what type of messages will they receive? This doesn’t mean ‘WhatsApp message’, but what type of content you will be sharing.
To make the opt-in requirements a bit clearer, we'll share the Third-Party Requirements as stated by WhatsApp itself.
- The opt-in must have a visual element (check box or similar) next to the WhatsApp name + logo.
- The user should be able to enter or edit the phone number used for opt- in, meaning, the user has control over what number is used.
- It must be explained clearly what information will be received and that the information will be shared via WhatsApp.
A customer sending a message to a company is therefore strictly not an opt-in. If a customer sends you a message, you may send the replies for the duration of the customer care window - a 24 hour period. If you want to send notifications after the 24 hour period, opt-in is required.
Here are a few ways you can collect customer opt-ins for WhatsApp Business:
- SMS or Email:
What better way to reach your customers than via the channels you already use to communicate with them. SMS and Email has long been a channel for businesses to engage their customers. Now you can use these channels for opt-in too. By simply offering a one-click option over SMS or Email, customers can easily opt-in for WhatsApp Business.
- Website or App:
Your website and App are powerful channels to collect opt-ins from both existing customers and prospects. Whether it be a sticky bar on your home page, a pop-up (although some users find pop-ups to be intrusive) or special landing page - users can easily give their consent by providing their phone number on the landing page.
- Checkout Flow:
WhatsApp Business is the perfect channel for receiving status updates, order confirmations, boarding passes and more. Having opt-in enabled during the checkout process is an opportunity to reassure customers they'll receive notifications via the channel they use daily. Moreover, it informs customers of the WhatsApp channel which they can easily use to raise questions regarding their orders. It's as simple as adding a checkbox at various touch points where the customer would normally enter their phone number or email address.
- In-store POS:
Your in-store employees are the biggest and most important ambassadors for your business. If customers are purchasing from you once, there’s a high likelihood they’ll purchase from you again. Get in-store employees to collect active opt-ins using a mobile phone or tablet, as long as the same concept applies regarding how you are collecting those opt-ins, as mentioned above, you're good to go.
Want to start using the WhatsApp Business API to improve your customer care? Visit our WhatsApp product page.