If enabled by your administrator, you can add a WhatsApp account to Zendesk Support to communicate with end users about support requests using WhatsApp messages.
This articles includes these sections:
- About adding a WhatsApp account to Support
- About WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule for outbound marketing communication
- Merging user accounts after customers contact you from social messaging channels
- Viewing lists of social messaging tickets from the social messaging notifier
- Using "Load more tickets" and ticket views to find social messaging tickets
- Replying to WhatsApp tickets from the ticket interface
- The end user experience on mobile devices
- Searching for tickets by WhatsApp number
About adding a WhatsApp account to Support
The Social Messaging add-on and WhatsApp Phone Number add-on allows customers to use a company’s WhatsApp phone numbers to send support requests as WhatsApp messages. The messages become tickets in Zendesk Support, and then replies from agents are sent back to the customer through WhatsApp.
You can’t use the Social Messaging add-on to:
Send or receive WhatsApp phone calls.
Send messages proactively to end users through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has certain rules that prevent us from making proactive messaging possible. We refer to this as WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule and talk about it in more detail later in this article.
Note the following about how the Social Messaging add-on works with WhatsApp:
WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule affects whether the end user receives your replies. It’s very important that you review the information about how this works.
If WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule hasn’t been observed, the reply fails and is not delivered to the end user. Error messages about the failure display in the upper-right portion of the agent interface and in the Events log.
There are triggers and automations that affect WhatsApp tickets. Check with your administrator to see if your company is using these.
Pictures and file attachments are allowed.
If you have a Professional or Enterprise account and automatic credit card redaction is enabled, credit card numbers are automatically redacted from all tickets, including WhatsApp and other social messaging tickets (see Automatically redacting credit card numbers from tickets (Professional and Enterprise)).
If you have the Social Messaging add-on, credit card numbers are automatically redacted from WhatsApp and other social messaging tickets, even if automatic ticket redaction isn't enabled. However, it's possible to disabled credit card redaction in this case using the Update App API.
About WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule for outbound marketing communication
Before you reply to a WhatsApp ticket, it’s important to understand how replies are affected by WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule. This is a WhatsApp rule (not a Zendesk rule) that applies to all WhatsApp accounts (see this article from WhatsApp).
This rule states that:
You cannot send outbound marketing and solicitation messages (in other words, “proactive messages”) to end users. End user users must reach out to you first.
You have 24 hours from when the end user’s message was sent from WhatsApp to reply to the message. After that, you can’t reply.
This means that when using the Social Messaging add-on:
When using the Social Messaging add-on, the starting point for the 24 hour window is when the end user sent the message from WhatsApp. It’s not when the message was received by Support and the ticket was created, for example.
If the agent fails to reply within the 24 hour window, the agent can’t reply to the end user until the end user sends another message, reopening the 24 hour window. The 24 hour period restarts every time the end user sends a message.
If the agent replies after 24 hours, the reply is still added to the ticket and appears in the ticket interface, but the end user doesn’t actually receive the reply (meaning a reply in WhatsApp, or a ticket notification in their email Inbox).
Error messages about the failure display in the upper-right portion of the agent interface and in the Events log.
If you don’t reply within 24 hours, it may be difficult to reconnect with the end user. If this happens, you may want to ask your administrator about whether your company uses the (paid) templated messages feature in WhatsApp.
Merging user accounts after customers contact you from social messaging channels
The first time an end user reaches out to you using a social messaging channel, a new user account is created for them in Support. If your company has multiple social messaging phone numbers, this happens each time each end user uses the phone number for the first time.
If the end user contacted you before from a different channel (for example, Facebook or Twitter), merge their new user account with their old one, so that their tickets are associated with a single account (see Merging a user’s duplicate account).
End user profiles include a field called Social Messaging User Info, which includes all of the user information pushed to Zendesk from the social messaging channels used by the end user to create tickets.
The end user’s social messaging phone number appears in their profile.
Viewing lists of social messaging tickets from the social messaging notifier
You can use the social messaging notifier in Support to view a list of social messaging tickets that are assigned to you, and that haven’t been assigned to an agent yet.
To view a list of social messaging tickets from the notifier
- From Support, click the social messaging icon () in the top bar in upper-right corner.
The icon includes a red dot when there are new, unassigned social messaging tickets that need your attention.
- From the Assigned to you tab, review the WhatsApp tickets that are assigned to you (this tab opens by default).
The status of these tickets is New or Open. Tickets continue to appear in this list changes to Pending.
- Click Unassigned to view WhatsApp tickets that haven’t been assigned to an agent yet.
From Unassigned, all unassigned social messaging tickets appear in this list, regardless of their status.
- If you want to view more social messaging tickets, you can click Load more tickets, if it appears.
Load more tickets only appears if there are more than 20 tickets.
Using “Load more tickets” and ticket views to find social messaging tickets
When you click Load more tickets from the social messaging notifier, the notifier closes and a view of social messaging tickets opens in the agent interface. The view depends on what tab you are on when you click Load more tickets. For example:
From Assigned to you tab: The Your social messaging tickets view opens and displays a list social messaging tickets that are assigned to you, and that have a ticket status of New or Open.
From Unassigned tab: The Unassigned social messaging tickets view opens and displays a list of social messaging tickets that are unassigned, regardless of their status.
Ask your administrator whether your company has any shared views for social messaging tickets.
If needed, you can create personal views of social messaging tickets using social messaging conditions (see Adjusting business views and business rules for WhatsApp tickets).
Replying to WhatsApp tickets from the ticket interface
Before you reply to a WhatsApp ticket, make sure you understand how WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule affects replies. Also, check with your administrator to find out whether your company uses triggers and automations that affect WhatsApp tickets.
To open a WhatsApp ticket from the social messaging notifier
- Open the social messaging notifier.
- Find the ticket in the list, and then click the ticket.
The notifier closes and the ticket opens.
To reply to a WhatsApp ticket from the ticket interface
- Open the WhatsApp ticket.
- (Optional) Merge the user’s profile with other existing profiles before you reply (see Merging user accounts after customers contact you from social messaging channels).
- Click Reply on Social Messaging and then type your reply into the field.
The reply will be sent from the WhatsApp account indicated here. For example:
If your company uses multiple WhatsApp accounts with Support, you may see different WhatsApp account numbers in different WhatsApp tickets for this reason.
- (Optional) Attach a picture or file.
- (Optional) Apply any macros you want to use.
- Submit the ticket with the appropriate status.
If WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule has been observed, the end user receives the reply from WhatsApp.
If WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule hasn’t been observed, the reply fails and is not delivered to the end user. Error messages about the failure display in the upper-right portion of the agent interface and in the Events log.Note:
- Click Conversations under the active comment area, then select Events.
Notice there is a new event that states that the comment was sent to the integration service (WhatsApp). This means that Support attempted to send the comment to the end user through WhatsApp. Whether the reply was actually received still depends on if WhatsApp’s 24-hour rule was observed.
Here’s what the event looks like if there is no failure.
The end user experience on mobile devices
In WhatsApp, a reply is called a message and a chat is a series of messages to a single contact or group.
It’s important to know that if an end user forwards a single message from a chat to your WhatsApp phone number, only that message is forwarded to your Support account. You do not receive all of the earlier messages and attachments in the chat, but your end user may incorrectly assume that you do.
Here’s an example. This is what happens when an end user forwards a message on an iPhone:
- The end user taps on a single message in a chat and chooses Forward.
- The end user is prompted to choose a contact.
This can be an individual contact or an existing chat with an individual or group.
- The end user selects your WhatsApp phone number.
If the end user has never had a chat with you before, a new chat is created and immediately opens. The forwarded message appears at the top.
If the end user has chatted with you before, your previous chat opens. This chat includes all of the messages the end user has sent to your WhatsApp phone number. The forwarded message appears in the chat.
Searching for tickets by WhatsApp number
You can search for end users based on their WhatsApp number, and then see all of the tickets associated with that end user. The search results will include both WhatsApp tickets and non-WhatApp tickets.
For additional information about Search, see the Zendesk Support search reference.
To find an end user’s WhatsApp tickets
- Click the Search icon () in the toolbar in the upper-right hand corner.
- In the search field, enter the whatsapp user property keyword, followed by a colon, and then any part of the WhatsApp number in parentheses. For example:
It is important to use the parentheses operator (“ ”) around the number to get the best results. If there are any symbols in the WhatsApp Phone Number field (in the user’s profile) you also need to include them.
For example, you can find the phone number +1(123)123-3211 with these searches:
However, these searches won’t find this number:
- Press Enter to run the search.
- In the results, click the Users tab.
- Find the end user associated with the WhatsApp number you are trying to find.
Keep in mind that you may see multiple end users in the search results, depending on the numbers you entered. For example, if you entered an area code only, but not the whole phone number.
- Click the end users name to open their profile, and view all of the tickets associated with that end user (including their non-WhatsApp tickets).