If your WhatsApp account has been added to Zendesk Support, you can communicate with end users about support requests using WhatsApp messages. This articles details important information about working with WhatsApp tickets, including the WhatsApp 24-hour rule for replies.
For more information about handling social messaging tickets, see Using social messaging channels.
This articles includes these sections:
Understanding how the WhatsApp channel works
If you are working WhatsApp tickets, you should understand how the channel works.
You can’t use the WhatsApp channel to do the following:
- 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 the WhatsApp 24-hour rule.
The following rules apply to the WhatsApp channel:
- The WhatsApp 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 the WhatsApp 24-hour rule hasn’t been observed, the reply fails and is not delivered to the end user. Error messages about any failures display in the upper-right portion of the agent interface and in the Events log.
- Macros work as long as WhatsApp 24-hour rule is observed.
- 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 set up social messaging, credit card numbers are automatically redacted from WhatsApp and other social messaging tickets, even if automatic ticket redaction isn't enabled in your account. You can disable credit card redaction in this case using the Update App API.
About the WhatsApp 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 have 24 hours from when the end user sent the message via WhatsApp to reply to that message. After that, you can’t reply.
- You can only send outbound business initiated messages (marketing, reminders, and the like) to customers who have opted-in. Business are required to use a pre-approved message template for business initiated messages. More information about bypassing the 24-hour rule here.
This means the following:
- 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 you fail to reply within the 24-hour window, you 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 you reply 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 an email ticket
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 admin about whether your company uses the (paid) templated messages feature in WhatsApp.
- Messages sent automatically through the auto-responder meet the criteria for WhatsApp's 24-hour response times.
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.
Bypassing the 24-hour rule
If you have a Sunshine Conversations license, you can bypass the WhatsApp 24-hour rule.
With the Sunshine Conversations license, accounts can set up and send WhatsApp templated messages. See the rules about WhatsApp templated messages.
You can use these messages to follow up and to re-engage the customer, in case the issue has not been resolved.
- Agents will be able to re-engage with their end users by sending templated messages, even after 24 hours of the last end user response.
- Account should create shortcuts / macros with SunCo shorthand for templated messages.
- If the message is not a WhatsApp templated message, there will be a delivery failure indication.
- There will be no check in the editor to verify if the message is a pre-verified templated message or not. Message delivery fails if the message is not a WhatsApp templated message and general delivery failure error is displayed.
- Sending templated messages using Automation is not supported.