Intercom’s WhatsApp integration lets you handle conversations from WhatsApp directly in your Intercom inbox. Meaning your customers can contact you in the most convenient way for them, while you take advantage of automation, inbox rules, and more.

You can also offer WhatsApp as a follow up channel in the Messenger so customers can take the conversation with them for maximum convenience.

Installing the app and connecting your WhatsApp account

You’ll find WhatsApp in the Intercom ​​App store. Click “Install” to add it to your ​​Intercom workspace:

After installation, go to “Settings” to connect your WhatsApp account. Click “Get started”:

This will open a new window where you can follow the required steps with WhatsApp:

  • Select or create a relevant Facebook Business Manager

  • Create a WhatsApp Business Account

  • Create a WhatsApp Business Profile, with a description, industry, and phone number

Important: You will need the following things to complete this process:

  • The legal name of your company and your WhatsApp display name

  • The URL of your business website

  • Your business email address

  • You must have admin permission to access your company’s Facebook business manager.

  • Access to the company phone number that you want to send messages with

    • The number must be able to receive voice calls

    • It must not be part of an IVR (Interactive voice response) system, or have IVR disabled for a period.

    • It must not be connected to another WhatsApp account.

Next, you must request verification of your business account by Facebook:

Important: You must have a verified Facebook Business Manager for WhatsApp to approve your WhatsApp Business account. Learn more about the process here.

While your account is being verified, you can trial the app with certain limits:

  • You can have conversations with up to 10 phone numbers.

  • Send pre-approved message templates to 2 of those numbers if the conversation has been without a reply for 24 hours.

Note: As soon as your account is verified you’ll be notified and these limits are lifted. 🎉

All users who write in from WhatsApp will now have a new attribute “WhatsApp number”:

Note: Read this article to learn more about how we’ll merge users based on this number.

You can now also see and use WhatsApp as a channel filter in Inbox rules and reports.

Now is also a good time to set up your account with a profile picture, and message templates.

Add a profile picture in the WhatsApp settings under “Profile”:

Message templates

After creating your a​​ccount, you’ll have access to your own WhatsApp Manager. This is where you create your message templates. You’ll need these to reply to any conversation which has gone more than 24 hours without a reply. Learn more here.

WhatsApp creates 6 samples by default but these won’t work once the account is verified. Click “Create Message Template” to add your own:

Headers and footers aren’t currently supported. We recommend something simple with only text in the body:

WhatsApp as a channel

Share your WhatsApp number with customers

The primary function of the WhatsApp channel is to let your customers contact you via WhatsApp, and there are a couple of easy ways to share your number.

In the settings under “Open WhatsApp from your product”, click “Get a link or QR code”:

This takes you to your WhatsApp business manager where you can open the number:

And click “Create message link”:

Then enter a message here, which will be pre populated when a customer uses a link to contact you via WhatsApp.

Finally, open the message link and you can copy the URL, or download the QR code:

Then when customers follow a link, scan a QR code, or message the number directly, their conversation will be immediately routed to your Intercom inbox. 👌

Carry conversations from the Messenger​ to WhatsApp

In the WhatsApp settings, under “Messenger to WhatsApp transition” you’ll find the setting to “Show users the option to continue the conversation in WhatsApp”:

Switching this on will give your customers the option to move from the Messenger to WhatsApp when they start a new conversation:

All they need to do is scan the QR code and they’ll be notified in WhatsApp when you reply, and can reply there directly.

The teammate experience

Once a conversation is in Intercom, it can be easily identified by the WhatsApp icon:

You can receive:

  • Text

  • Images

  • Gifs and videos

  • Audio & voice notes

You can send:

  • Text & emoji

  • Images

  • Plain text macros

Important: Macros that contain unsupported file types (gifs, articles, etc.) can be sent, and unsupported content will be automatically removed.

Replying to conversations after 24 hours

WhatsApp ​​has a limit called the “24 hour customer care window”, to ensure that your customers receive a response within a reasonable time frame, and existing conversations aren’t used for unrelated outbound messaging after they’ve been resolved.

What this means is that for any conversation from WhatsApp, if the last response (from a teammate, or customer) was more than 24 hours ago, you can no longer reply with free text, but only with message templates.

In these cases you’ll see the following warning in your inbox:

Click ‘choose template’ to open a window where you can choose from pre-approved templates in the account:

Tip: These templates are managed from your WhatsApp business manager.

Hit ‘send to conversation’ to send the template and continue the conversation:

Once the customer responds, you will have 24 hours to reply as normal, before the limit will take effect again.

Choose when to count messages as new conversations

Because WhatsApp conversations exist as a single thread in WhatsApp, it's up to you when they should be treated as a new conversation in Intercom.

Define this in the WhatsApp app settings:

Enter a duration in minutes, hours, or days. Any new messages after that period (in a closed conversation) will start a new conversation in Intercom.

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