WhatsApp Notifications | Zoho Forms

WhatsApp

Overview

Using business messaging tools can indeed be a very effective way to improve customer engagement and meet their expectations, and messaging tools such as text messaging services can be particularly useful for businesses of all types and sizes. They allow businesses to reach out to customers in a more personal and direct way, providing updates, promotions, and other important information. With a personalized way to communicate with customers, businesses can build stronger relationships and increase customer loyalty, ultimately leading to greater success and growth.

Today, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging (IM) service app globally which is why it is time for you to use WhatsApp Business Notifications when respondents submit your form. WhatsApp is one of the most dependable channels for sending notifications, with a near-perfect deliverability rate. Customers will receive your WhatsApp Notifications as long as they have an active internet connection. They  are also more likely to be read as your business is directly engaging with your customer, bringing more reliability.  Furthermore, it allows businesses to send targeted and personalized messages to individual customers, based on their specific interests and preferences.
Configuring WhatsApp Notifications for your form will trigger notifications on the respondent's WhatsApp after submitting the form. 

Things to know 

Before you configure WhatsApp Notifications for your form, make note of the following:
  1. Explore the WhatsApp Commerce Policy and the WhatsApps Business Policy, that define which businesses can use the WhatsApp Business Platform.
  2. Business-initiated messages can only be sent to users who have opted-in to receive messages from your business and must be transactional. 
  3. When sending notifications, you must use an approved WhatsApp template.
  4. Business-initiated messages cannot be promotional messages. These can be customer care messages, payment or shipping updates, alerts, and more. 
  5. Only the Super Admin can configure WhatsApp Notifications

Pre-requisites

There are certain Pre-requisites that you need to set up before you can send WhatsApp Notifications for the form entries received.
  1. You must create your Meta and WhatsApp Business accounts.
  2. Create or select your WhatsApp Business profile.
  3. Verify your WhatsApp business number.
To fulfill these pre-requisites,
  1. In your form builder, click the   icon in the top-right corner to access the Control Panel.
  2. Click WhatsApp Configuration.

    whatsapp configuration

  3. Once it is ready for configuration, click Link with WhatsApp.

    Link with WhatsApp

  4. You will be redirected to log in through your Facebook account in a widget to connect to your Meta Business account.
    Note: Ensure that your browser's pop-blocker is disabled for the widget to load.
  5. Login to your existing personal Facebook account. New personal accounts may not be approved.
  6. Once you log in, you will be prompted to get started with the setup to register and connect your WhatsApp business account to Zoho Social to send notifications to WhatsApp users via the WhatsApp business API. Click Get Started.



  7. To allow Zoho Social to manage your WhatsApp Business account, you'll need to share account and billing permissions. Click Continue.
  8. Then, you will be asked to fill in your business information. To connect your WhatsApp Business Account, you must first select a Meta Business Account from the dropdown. If you do not already have a Meta Business Account, you will be given the option to create one.
    Your business must have a  Meta Business account (formerly known as Facebook Business Account) in order to have a WhatsApp Business Account (WABA). The Meta Business Account is specific to a Company. If the Company has multiple Sub-brands with different names, each Sub-brand should have its own WhatsApp Business Account with their name.

  9. Your Business name, Business email address, Business website, and Country will be autofilled. Click Next.
  10. The next step is to create or select a WhatsApp Business account which will belong to your Meta business account. 
  11. Choose Create a new WhatsApp Business profile and click Next



  12. Give your WhatsApp business account name, WhatsApp Business profile display name and select the Category of your business. 
    The WhatsApp Business display name is the name that customers see when they visit your WhatsApp Business profile. Read the guidelines in choosing a display name for your WhatsApp profile.
  13. You can optionally provide a description for your business and include any website you have for your business. The category and business description will both be visible to your customers. Click Next



  14. The next step is to add a WhatsApp business phone number. This is the number that people will see when they chat with you for your business. Enter the Phone number along with your country code.
    Pre-Requisites for Phone Number
    1. The number must be owned by you
    2. The number must have a country and area code
    3. It should be able to receive voice calls and SMS
    4. It should not be a short code
    5. Any other BSP should not have previously used the number
    6. The number should not be connected to any WhatsApp Messenger or WhatsApp Business App at the instant. 
  15. Choose if you would like to verify your phone number via Text message or a Phone call . You will receive a code to verify this phone number on your preferred verification method. You can change your preferred verification method if it isn't working.


Note : The phone number will be verified with a PIN, so make sure you have access to it.
  Enter the 6-digit verification code received on your WhatsApp Business Phone Number and click Verify.

  
Click Finish.

Creating a Channel

Once you verify the phone number, your pre-requisite setup will be complete and you will find the option to create a new channel in the Control Panel. A Channel identifies which of your business profiles the message must be sent from. Each Channel you create can be associated with only one of the verified phone numbers.
To create a new channel, 
  1. In your Control Panel Notification Settings WhatsApp Configuration, click + New Channel.
  2. In the pop-up, enter a name for your channel and select the WhatsApp business phone number that you have verified from the dropdown.

    Create a channel

  3. Click Create.
Note: If you delete a channel, you will not be able to send messages via that channel and the configured business number will get dissociated and listed for use to configure another channel.

Creating a Template

Once you have created a channel, the next step is to create a WhatsApp message template for your WhatsApp notification. 
A WhatsApp message template is a message format that you can reuse to send messages to users after they have submitted your form. You must first submit a message template to WhatsApp before you can use it. WhatsApp reviews and approves each message template within 48 hours or less. After WhatsApp has approved your template, you can use it to send notifications. 

To create a WhatsApp message template,
  1. Once you have created a channel in your Control Panel > Notification Settings > WhatsApp Configuration , you will have a Templates tab. Navigate to the Templates tab and click + New Template.
  2. Enter a Template Name. 
    The name you give must be unique and contain only lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores. Use a name that helps the WhatsApp's reviewer comprehend the intent of your message.
  3. Select a Template Category from the dropdown list. Your WhatsApp message templates must fall into one of the categories listed:
    1. MARKETING
    2. UTILITY
      Make sure that you choose a suitable category for your template that best fits your use-case. WhatsApp is more likely to reject templates that do not clearly align with these template types. Know more about message templates.
  4. Type in your message for the WhatsApp notification. If you wish to include the field responses from the submitted form in this message, use the placeholder values inside double curly braces {{...}}.
    For example,
    Hi {{1}}, your order number {{2}} will be delivered by {{3}}.
When a message is sent, the placeholder values inside double curly braces {{...}} are replaced with dynamic content from your form fields. The later stages of these steps will determine which placeholder will be replaced by which form field response.
Note: The maximum size for a message template, including any placeholders that are replaced with text, is 1024 characters. If your template exceeds this limit, the message will not be delivered to the recipient.

create a template

Refer to some sample templates.
You should set up a template for each type of notification you need to send and  wait for WhatsApp to review and approve your template before you can use it to send notifications on receiving form entries.

Template Status

You will find the list of the templates you have created and the status of approval by WhatsApp under Control Panel > Notification Settings WhatsApp Configuration > Templates tab.

Templates Tab

There are 4 approval statuses:
  1. Pending: The template is still under review by WhatsApp.
  2. Approved: The template is approved by WhatsApp and can be used to notify customers.
  3. Rejected: The template is rejected by WhatsApp in the review process.
  4. Failed: The template did not go for the review process.
If a template approval status is Failed or Rejected, it means that the template does not comply with WhatsApp's policies, and any attempt to modify the message in the WhatsApp console may result in the message not being delivered.
It is advisable to review the template and make the necessary changes to comply with WhatsApp's policies before resubmitting it for approval. In the meantime, it is recommended to refrain from sending any messages using the failed or rejected template.

Things to remember for your message template to be approved

  1. Your template name and message should clearly convey to the recipients why they have received the message.
  2. You cannot use template placeholders in the beginning or in the end of the message. This will lead to automatic rejection of your template.
  3. The maximum size for a message template, including any placeholders that are replaced with text, is 1024 characters. If your template exceeds this limit, the message will not be delivered to the recipient.
  4. Do not keep the placeholder variables next to each other like {{1}} {{2}}.
  5. Do not use words instead of numbers within the curly braces.
  6. Keep the placeholder variables sequential throughout your message and do not miss out even a single number in the sequence.
  7. A Maximum of 10 placeholders are allowed.
  8. Ensure that you do not use multiple sequential line breaks in your message as they are not allowed by WhatsApp.
  9. Do not create a duplicate template message with a different template name.
  10. Do not make any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  11. Use no more than 4 consecutive spaces.
By sticking to these guidelines, you can increase the likelihood that your message template will be approved.

Setting up a form to send WhatApp Notifications 

Once you have finished configuring the above steps in your Control Panel,  you can configure WhatsApp Notification settings for individual forms.
To do this,
  1. Go to the form builder of the form that you wish to send WhatsApp Notifications for.
  2. Navigate to the Settings tab > Email & Notifications > WhatsApp Notifications.
  3. Click Configure Now.

    Click Configure Now

  4. Select the Channel and Template that you wish to use for sending WhatsApp notifications for this form.
  5. Enter the Recipient's phone number. You can either enter a number or select a Phone field from your form by clicking the phone icon. If you select a Phone field from your form, the message will be delivered to the phone number entered by the respondent in the selected Phone field.
    You can either use US format or use International format with Country Code.
  6. Under Placeholder Mapping, you can select the form fields whose responses you want to replace for the placeholders in the double curly braces you specified when configuring the WhatsApp message template.
  7. Click Save.



You can view the status of the WhatsApp notifications sent for each form entry in the All Entries section of your form under the WhatsApp Status column.

Pricing

WhatsApp provides a conversation-based pricing model which means instead of charging the customer for every message they send, businesses will now be charged per conversation.  A conversation starts when the first business message in a conversation is delivered. Businesses and users can exchange any number of messages, within the 24 hour conversation session without incurring additional charges. 
Businesses are charged per conversation, which will include all the messages in that 24-hour messaging window.

Charges for conversations are based on the country code of the customer that your business is communicating with. Rates for business-initiated conversations vary by country or region.
Note:
  1. Currently, there are no free credits available for using WhatsApp Notifications for any number of conversations.
  2. To ensure that your WhatsApp Notifications are successfully delivered, it is necessary to purchase the IM credits Add-On from the store in addition to your existing Zoho Forms subscription.
WhatsApp has updated its conversation pricing as follows which will be effective from June 1st, 2023.
  1. Every conversation will be charged per the new conversation-based pricing model.
  2. The charges for conversations will be determined by the template category. Unless the template is delivered during an open conversation of that category, delivering it opens a new conversation of that category and incurs the charge of that conversation category. For instance, if a utility conversation is open and a marketing template is delivered within it, a new, separate marketing conversation is opened, and a marketing conversation charge is initiated.

How to purchase credits

Zoho Forms manages the billing and credit line for your WABAs. To purchase credits,
  1. In your Zoho Forms account, click the Subscription link in the top-right corner.
  2. Under Nonrecurring Add-Ons, click Buy More.
  3. Specify the number of credits you want to purchase. You will be charged per credit, along with a value-added fee of 3% of the cost.
  4. Click  Proceed and make the payment.
  5. Once paid, your credits will be topped up and will be reflected in the  Available Balance section, and you can start sending your WhatsApp business messages.
The phone number tier of your WhatsApp Business account will determine your messaging limits - the number of unique contacts (customers) an account can message in a 24-hour period.
There are four tiers for a WhatsApp Business Account's phone number:
Tier 1 : Send 1000 business-initiated conversations to individual customers over a rolling 24-hour period.
Tier 2 : Send 10000 business-initiated conversations to individual customers over a rolling 24-hour period.
Tier 3 : Send 100000 business-initiated conversations to individual customers over a rolling 24-hour period.
Tier 4 : Send unlimited business-initiated conversations over a rolling 24-hour period.

If your business use-case requires switching between these tiers, you will have to raise your requests with Meta.


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