Sending WhatsApp Messages with Templates - Zoho Desk Knowledgebase

WhatsApp Message Templates User Guide

What is a Message Template?
A WhatsApp Message Template is a pre-approved customized message that is used to send notifications to opted-in customers. To start using the Message templates, you must first submit the messages to WhatsApp and get them approved.


What are the types of messages in WhatsApp Business API?

Session Messages

Session Messages are interactive messages written in response to your customer's queries. These messages are usually categorized as private conversations between you and your customers. WhatsApp has no specified formats or content rules to be followed when sending messages.

These messages are termed as Session messages because they have a 24-hour messaging window, during which a number of messages can be sent. Any message sent after the allotted time-period will be charged by WhatsApp. Refer to this link for details on pricing.

Template Messages (Highly Structured Messages)

A Highly Structured Message (HSM) is a form of a message template that is pre-approved by WhatsApp and used to pro-actively communicate with your customers by sending outbound messages through our Integrated WhatsApp Channel.

This is an essential mode of communicating with your customers because of the selective process WhatsApp maintains to allow only reputed brands to use their WhatsApp Business APIs to send messages.

You can use WhatsApp Message Templates to communicate with your Customers keep them engaged with your business, even if your customers are yet to initiate a conversation.

Here's how it is done using the Desk's Instant Messaging Module.

How to create Message Templates and submit them to WhatsApp for approval?

Once you have applied for the WhatsApp Business APIs and have verified and activated your business phone number, the next step is to create Message templates and get them approved by WhatsApp.

Let's refer to the process of creating and submitting a message template for your business. Navigate to Setup -> Instant Messaging -> WhatsApp -> Templates -> Create Template to start creating a template.

There are the mandatory fields to be filled:
    •    Template Name - Should be relevant to the message and also abide by the rule-set by WhatsApp messaging.
    •    Template Category - Choose the relevant category from the list of options available in the drop-down menu.
    •    The Message can Include placeholders (type the "$" symbol and the list of placeholders will be shown and you can choose one and also add smileys if required. Refer to the template message approval criteria for information regarding the content that can be added.
You can only use a maximum of three placeholders in each template message.
To take a sneak peek at the template message that you created, there is a Preview section available in the bottom-right corner of the Create Template form.

Once you are done reviewing the message content, click Save and await WhatsApp's approval.

WhatsApp Approval Status

After creating the Message Template, the request will be triggered and sent to the Facebook Approval team. It will be in the Pending status once you create the message and are awaiting approval from WhatsApp.

There are three statuses:
    •    Approved - Successfully approved by Facebook.
    •    Pending - Request created and sent to Facebook
    •    Failed - Rejected by Facebook.

Once the message templates are created you can check the statuses in the list view under the Templates tab on the WhatsApp channel.

How to send template messages (outbound messaging) via WhatsApp?

The type of WhatsApp message that can be used for this outbound messaging is the template message - a pre-approved customized message used to send out customer notifications.

From the Contacts module

Follow these steps to send a template message from the Contacts module in Desk:
  1. Open the Contacts module.
  2. Then, find the contact you want to message.
  3. Tap on the contact's name to open the contact's detail view.
  4. On the contact's detail view, tap the WhatsApp logo next to the phone number (mobile number). This will open the messaging dialog box, where you can select the template message from the available list.
  5. Check the preview.
  6. And then click on Send.

From the Tickets module

Follow these steps to send a template message from the Tickets module in Desk:

  1. Open the Tickets module.
  2. Then, find the ticket you want to send a WhatsApp message to. 
  3. Tap on the ticket to open the ticket's detail view. 
  4. On the ticket's detail view, tap the WhatsApp logo next to the phone number (mobile number) under the Contact Info. This will open the messaging dialog box, where you can select the template message from the available list.
  5. Check the preview.
  6. And then click on Send.

Quick Tips

Message Templates Approval Criteria

Here are some useful tips to get your message templates approved by WhatsApp.

    •    Clarity: Be specific and use simple sentences to communicate, because the reviewers may not be aware of the customer's business and their needs.
    •    Avoid promotions: Refrain from using text that may be used to upsell your brand, and do not add details about calling scripts, a poll to collect data, or any messages that might have promotional phrases in them.
    •    Spelling: Check for spelling and grammatical errors and use the right formatting (e.g., {{parameters}} only use double curly brackets when including parameters)
    •    Name: Make it clear and specific to the body of the message template. For example: If you are sending a message about a bus ticket, name it bus_ticket-details rather than template_0123. Remember that Facebook will be reviewing the name, so if it's too vague, there's s chance of the message getting rejected. By providing better clarity about the name, the reviewers will be able to understand the purpose of your message.
    •    Create context: if you are trying to create a message template to re-open the 24-hour messaging window, then we would recommend that you include details about the previous conversation thread.
    •    Choosing the right category: Always use the correct template category. Choosing the correct type will ruin your chances of getting the message template approved and this will also provide the necessary details for the WhatsApp approval panel to understand the purpose of your template submission.

    •    Header: You can add a title (Optional)

Message Templates Categories

  1. Marketing – To send promotional offers and product announcements to increase awareness.
  2. Authentication – To send one-time passwords or codes allowing customers to access their accounts securely.
  3. Utility - To send transactional updates, order status, and critical alerts to your customers.

Message Template Options

1. 'Update As New' a Template Message

Navigate to WhatsApp -> Templates -> Horizontal ellipses -> Update As New. Selecting Update As New will redirect you to the message form to update the existing message template. Once you update the message, the status will change to Pending, and you will have to wait for WhatsApp's review process.
You can only start using the message once it is approved by WhatsApp.

2. Deleting a Template Message

Navigate to WhatsApp -> Templates-> Horizontal ellipses -> Delete Message. Upon deleting the message, you will be prompted to confirm if you wish to delete the message template permanently.

Click on Yes, Delete It to start the deletion process.

3. Search Option

If you wish to search for a message template, navigate to WhatsApp -> Templates -> Search Template.
You can look up the Message template by searching for it with the associated Template Category.

Examples of Approved and Rejected Message Templates

Approved Messages

1. Order Confirmation

2. Customer Loyalty

Rejected Messages

1. Promotional Information

To view the guidelines for Message Templates. Click here

How to use the created Message Templates in Customer Conversations?

Steps Required

Template Message can be used by an Agent only when the chat has expired. (24hrs messaging time given by WhatsApp). Once the conversation between the agent and customer has expired, the agent will be able to reopen the conversation by sending a message template.

Example: An Expired Chat

To send a message template click the Choose Template option to send the approved message template to your customers. On clicking the Choose Template option a popup will appear with the list of the Approved message templates.

After choosing the template message, the message will be added to the message area with the selected placeholders filled with data. Click Send to initiate a conversation.


Billing Details

You can check the credit balance by navigating to Setup -> Instant Messaging -> WhatsApp -> Available Credits.

The cost incurred in sending a Message Template will be calculated based on the region that the message is being sent to. We will deduct the amount from the available credit balance.

If you have insufficient credits when trying to send a message to the customer, an insufficient funds message will be shown. You will then be led to the payments screen to buy more credits to resume using the message templates service again.

How to purchase credits

    1. Click the Setup icon ( ) in the top bar.
    2. Under Channels, click Instant Messaging.
    3. On the Instant Messaging page, click Buy Credits.
    4. Specify the number of credits you want to purchase.
You will be charged 2 USD per credit, along with a value-added fee of 3% of the cost.
    5. Click Make Payment and make the payment.
    6. Once paid, your credits will be topped-up and will be reflected in the Available Credits section, and you can start sending message templates.

WhatsApp charges are based on the country of the user you are messaging to. Click here to view the charges.

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