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Being one of the best communication platforms for businesses in the current era, many companies have started to use WhatsApp Business to engage with customers & attract new customers. With the increased popularity of WhatsApp Business and its chatbot, it is critical for company owners to understand the customer opt-in procedure, rules of the business account, and other useful information that can help them use the platform effectively.
What is WhatsApp Business Opt-in?
WhatsApp chatbots are currently one of the most popular chatbot applications simply because its cheap and customer-friendly. In addition to helping companies with instant customer support, chatbots also enable companies to expand their customer base with verified WhatsApp customers. While companies can reply to customers who start a conversation, WhatsApp doesn’t allow companies to initiate conversations without obtaining an opt-in.
According to WhatsApp policies, companies need to get consent from customers before sending messages from their business accounts. This procedure is called the WhatsApp Business opt-in process. WhatsApp opt-ins were initially collected by third-party channels but WhatsApp has since provided several options to collect consent from customers. Companies can now send consent messages through:
- Website Chatbots
- IVR Calls
- In-App Notifications
- And WhatsApp Messages (when the customer initiates the conversation)
Primary guidelines while collecting WhatsApp Business Opt-in
WhatsApp Business opt-in was specifically created to enact WhatsApp’s strict no-spam policy. The app has created three primary guidelines that companies need to follow while collecting consent from their customers. They are:
- The opt-in message from the company should clearly specify that by accepting this communication the customer is willing to receive messages from them on WhatsApp.
- The company should ensure that its name is prominently mentioned in the consent message.
- The company should also make sure to follow the regional business & consumer laws that are applicable to a particular state/country.
Once a company adheres to these three guidelines, it can initiate conversations with its customers and send proactive templates to them. For more about how business-initiated templates work, you can check out our blog on WhatsApp template messages.
7 Best Ways to Collect Opt-ins for WhatsApp Business
Now that we’ve explained what WhatsApp opt-ins are and offered a brief view of the primary guidelines companies should follow while collecting them, let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways of collecting consent from customers.
- WhatsApp Conversation Opt-Ins
The easiest & most used way to obtain opt-ins from customers is by asking customers who have already initiated a conversation with a company. This is because this subset of customers have not only shown interest in your company and its offering but are also highly familiar with the platform. Therefore, they would most likely opt to receive communications through WhatsApp.
This method is also considered easy because your team can send pre-defined opt-in messages that can be sent instantly once they resolve a particular query. Once the customer agrees to the messages, you can send notifications to them.
2. Website Opt-Ins
Your website is an integral part of your company and it can be used to help gather opt-ins with the help of opt-in buttons, pop-up banners and even a dedicated landing page where you can easily embed an opt-in box to help get consent from them. Once the customer performs clicks the banner or fills the form, you can instantly transfer them to WhatsApp and send across a notification with the consent message.
3. QR Code & In Person
Shops and other businesses with physical locations can use their reception desks and store managers to collect WhatsApp opt-in consent from the customers who visit their stores. This has helped these small businesses get connected with their customers through the platform.
QR code is another simple and cost-effective method that you can use to collect opt-ins. Companies can easily collect consent from customers who visit their physical location. Customers can easily scan the QR code to get an opt-in message and accept the terms instantly.
4. Phone Calls & IVR
One of the traditional ways of collecting opt-ins is to use call centers and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) operators to help them collect consent from their customers through voice calls. Once the customers answer the call, companies can inform them about the WhatsApp opt-in process and send them opt-in messages instantly. While using IVR and call centers, it is important for companies to make sure that these channels follow strict opt-in practices and regulations.
5. In-App Notification
If you are a company that is using a mobile app, it opens up another avenue for your company to collect consent. By sending in-app notifications reminding customers that your company uses WhatsApp and sharing opt-in notifications. One of the positives of using in-app notifications is that most WhatsApp Business Service Providers like Gallabox will be able to help you integrate WhatsApp applications into your mobile app. This will ensure that the in-app notifications are received seamlessly.
SMS opt-ins are one of the first methods of WhatsApp Business opt-ins. While this might look like a predated method to collect consent, it is still being used by companies simply because it is cost-effective and easy. Since most WhatsApp users will be using the platform on a mobile phone, SMS notifications can also help ease the opt-in process and make it hassle-free. This is where SMS opt-ins stand out from all other opt-in methods because they are simple and require little work.
7. Delivery & Transactional Notifications
You can use your transaction notifications for obtaining opt-in information. To do so, you have to add either the WhatsApp opt-in button, QR code or your WhatsApp link on your billing invoice/delivery messages. No matter whether you are sending notifications through e-mail or SMS, the information is automatically forwarded to the customer once they open the message and read it.
Updated WhatsApp Opt-in Policy for Business Initiated Messages
We’ve now seen a brief overview of the WhatsApp Business opt-in process and how you can use several channels to nudge customers to give consent for your messages. In addition to this knowledge, it's also critical to look at how you should frame the opt-in message and other business-initiated communications that you’d be sending after you receive consent.
Business-initiated messages are simply messages that are initiated by a company. Unlike normal conversational messages, WhatsApp has created a clear set of policies/regulations to moderate business-initiated messages. Therefore, companies need to create messages or templates that they’d be using and get them approved by WhatsApp. WhatsApp’s business policy was created to ensure that all customers have a quality experience when interacting with companies.
While learning all the regulations and adhering to them might look complicated, companies can opt to For more information on how WhatsApp Business notification templates can be created, you can also check out this blog post.
FAQs on WhatsApp Business Opt-in
- Can I send WhatsApp messages to customers without sending opt-in messages?
While you can send messages to customers who have not opted in, the messages might not be delivered and show a ‘User not opted in’ error response. Even if some messages go through, it is not advisable because WhatsApp is GDPR compliant and it strictly prohibits this type of behavior.
- How will WhatsApp check if I have sent opt-in messages?
WhatsApp routinely checks companies and conducts random audits to check opt-in conversations. In addition, users can also block or report your company for sending notifications without consent. This can impact your company’s quality signals and further nudge WhatsApp to conduct a thorough review of your company’s WhatsApp compliance.
- What actions will WhatsApp take if I send notifications to customers without getting their consent?
WhatsApp has the right to revoke the license and WhatsApp Business registration of any company that does not comply with its regulations. Companies that have been banned might find it hard to re-register on the platform and reclaim their audience.
- Should I maintain a record of all the opt-in messages?
Yes, companies should maintain a record of all the opt-in replies from the customers. While this might not be clearly implied by WhatsApp, a record of the conversations will immensely help the company during WhatsApp’s compliance audits.
- Can I obtain WhatsApp opt-in using offline modes like forms?
Yes, WhatsApp allows companies to collect consent through offline forms. However, much like digital records, companies should make sure to document offline forms and store them safely.
- Can I get WhatsApp Business opt-in consent through Ads on platforms like Facebook?
Yes, WhatsApp opt-in responses can be collected through Ads on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. However, the company should ensure that the customer is redirected to WhatsApp and use the platform to obtain opt-in.
This process becomes much easier if your company runs a ‘Click to WhatsApp Ad’ on Facebook. When a customer clicks on the call-to-action button ‘Send Message’, they are redirected to WhatsApp and the opt-in is obtained in the background during that process.
Start to Increase your Opt-in Rates for WhatsApp Business with Gallabox!
There is no denying the fact that WhatsApp has become a major part of business communications. Therefore, WhatsApp opt-in is important for companies looking to communicate with customers. Companies that can’t figure out ways to collect opt-ins from their customers find it difficult to increase their customer engagement rates on the platform.If you need help with the WhatsApp opt-in process, Gallabox can help you collect opt-ins through various channels. Gallabox is a pioneer in offering excellent WhatsApp Business solutions to companies across the spectrum. You can request a free demo and explore ways to enhance your opt-in process right now!