To initiate a WhatsApp message with a customer, you must first receive opt-in permission confirming that they wish to receive future messages from you on WhatsApp.
What is an Opt-in?
Opt-ins are part of WhatsApp Business Policy and must be collected from customers before conversations are initiated with them on WhatsApp. Businesses can obtain opt-ins in multiple ways, both on and off WhatsApp, but must meet the following requirements:
- Businesses must clearly state that a person is opting to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp.
- Businesses must clearly state their business name.
- Businesses must comply with applicable law.
Please note that storing opt-ins and that the end customers you contact through WhatsApp have agreed to receive messages is your responsibility.
We recommend obtaining opt-ins from customers in the following ways:
1. When the customer initiates a conversation
The most straightforward option is to ask for an opt-in when a customer reaches out to your business first. You can either set up an auto-reply in MessageBird Flow Builder to request an opt-in when receiving a customer-initiated conversation, or an agent can simply ask for the opt-in after resolving the customer’s issue.
If the customer agrees, the next step is to send them a message clearly expressing the different categories of messages that they will be receiving from your business - order updates, shipping notifications, promotional messages, among others.
We recommend obtaining separate opt-ins for specific message categories. This mitigates the risk of your customers blocking your business because they are receiving unsolicited messages.
2. By SMS or email
Assuming that you are already typically communicating with your customers via SMS or email, we recommend that you also obtain opt-ins in this manner.
Ask for your customers’ consent over SMS by asking for a quick reply or redirecting them to your business’s landing page, where more comprehensive information about opting in can be provided.
3. Using your business’s website
Your customers will visit your website from time to time, so this is also another good option to ask for opt-ins. You can choose to enable the opt-in message by placing a pop-up dialog on your homepage, or by having an icon or link to redirect customers to a specific page to invite them for opt-ins.
4. Embedding opt-in in your process flow
This option may be limited to certain scenarios or industries, but includes the following possibilities:
- One-time password (OTP): usually, when a customer registers an account, logs in to an existing account, or forgets the password, businesses will send them an OTP for verification purposes. This is a good time to ask for an opt-in and ask your customers if they would prefer to receive an OTP via WhatsApp instead of SMS.
- Notification messages: In certain industries, customers are likely to prefer receiving important notifications, such as shipping updates or order confirmations, through WhatsApp. Companies that operate in the logistics, airline, or e-commerce industries can ask for opt-ins for how their customers prefer to be notified of order or shipment statuses.
- New user registration: Ask your new users how they would like to be contacted when signing up with your business. You can add this option to contact forms when asking them for their preferred communication channel.
We encourage businesses to continuously optimize the user experience when obtaining opt-ins. Some tips on how to do it include:
- Communicating to users the value of receiving information on WhatsApp.
- Making sure that not just the opt-in but also the opt-out processes are clear to your customers.
- Clearly stating the category of messages that your business will be sending.
- Defining different opt-in and opt-out processes for different categories of messages.
- Monitoring your opt-in rates when rolling out different opt-in methods to continuously improve your opt-in conversion rate.