Opt-in and Opt-out
Before a business is allowed to send notification messages to their consumers on WhatsApp, they must first receive consent from the consumer to communicate with them on this channel via an explicit opt-in process.
Note: This opt-in process is required for all notification programs. For customer support programs, the consumer can engage with the business per their standard operating procedure.
There are several ways in which you can engage with your customers and invite them to opt-in to your WhatsApp business channel as a way to engage with your business. According to WhatsApp’s business policy, businesses can obtain opt-in from their customers either via a third-party channel (e.g. SMS or email), via the WhatsApp channel itself, or by using an interactive voice response (IVR).
Opt-in must be triggered by a user action (i.e. active opt-in) such as entering a number or checking a box to indicate consent. Consumer-initiated communication does not imply an automatic opt-in for the notification message type. After a customer has completed the opt-in process, the business needs to send an opt-in confirmation to the customer via the WhatsApp channel.
Regardless of the opt-in method followed, WhatsApp requires that a business:
- Clearly states that a person is opting in to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp
- Clearly states the name of the business that a person is opting in to receive messages from
- Explicitly calls out the types of messages a consumer is opting into (e.g. delivery updates)
- Avoids messaging consumers too frequently
- Provides instructions for how customers can opt-out and honor these requests
- Complies with all applicable laws
Only transactional notifications are currently allowed on the WhatsApp Business API.
WhatsApp allows the business to ask the consumer to opt-in for notifications within the chat flow itself. For example, the business could have a menu item in its flow called 6. Opt-in for notifications, or once the consumer has placed an order via the WhatsApp channel, the business can ask if the consumer would like to receive delivery update notifications within the WhatsApp chat itself.
Web page/mobile app opt-in
The consumer can opt-in to receive messages on WhatsApp from the business website, e.g. from the homepage or special landing web page (logged-out state) or consumer profile page (logged-in state).
The business can initiate an opt-in request for the WhatsApp channel using SMS messaging. This SMS message should clearly indicate the program information and instructions to complete the opt-in. The SMS can redirect the user to the opt-in web page, or request the user to reply with a specific keyword to confirm opt-in.
The business can contact the consumer via email with the details of the WhatsApp channel, and include a clear call to action on the available opt-in methods like website or SMS.
Opt-out methods and guidelines
Businesses must respect all requests (either on or off WhatsApp) by a consumer to block, discontinue, or otherwise opt-out of communications sent to them via the WhatsApp channel.
Businesses can implement user-friendly keywords like “STOP” or “CANCEL” within the WhatsApp channel itself and/or allow consumers to opt-out of receiving WhatsApp messages from the business via a non-WhatsApp channel like IVR, SMS, or business website.
Opt-out requests from the consumer must be respected, and they must be removed from the contact list with no further attempts to send any messages to them.
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