How to Build a WhatsApp Bot in 6 Simple Steps

What is your go-to channel to reach out to a business –  email, call, or real-time messaging apps like WhatsApp?

Well, 64%¹ of people (including me) prefer messaging over emails or phone calls, and in an era where WhatsApp has more than 2 bn users in 180 countries, reaching out to customers on their preferred messaging channel has become more critical than ever. 

Meanwhile, 90% of the businesses that use chatbots in their support strategy report faster complaint resolution and happier customers, as many of the most frustrating aspects of support like waiting for an agent or having to repeat purchase details are done away with.²

It’s clear that adding WhatsApp and chatbots can boost your support efficiency, but the benefits are significantly multiplied by creating chatbots in WhatsApp itself. The only problem is that you can’t directly build chatbots within WhatsApp itself. Instead, if you are an existing user of WhatsApp Business API or want to begin now, you will need to use a chatbot builder such as Freddy to create customized bots and deploy these bots into WhatsApp through a partner such as Freshchat

This article will help you understand what a WhatsApp bot is, how it can help your business, how to build a WhatsApp bot without writing a single line of code, and – last but not least – all the tools you’ll need to set-up WhatsApp bots for your business.


What is a WhatsApp chatbot?

A WhatsApp bot (WhatsApp chatbot) is a computer program designed to automatically respond to customers’ queries, within WhatsApp. The response can be in the form of a greeting message or predefined answers to the most commonly asked questions and helps businesses respond to the queries in real-time. WhatsApp bots can be integrated into the app using WhatsApp Business API and make it super easy for customers to reach businesses. To see the example of WhatsApp chatbot from Freshchat, click on the banner below. 

Chat with Freshchat's WhatsApp Chatbot


Why use WhatsApp bots?

WhatsApp as a messaging channel has gained popularity amongst today’s digital customers. In fact, 67% of consumers prefer using messaging apps when interacting with a business. Deploying chatbot on platforms like WhatsApp enables businesses to assist their customers wherever they are, with ease. 

Here are the top 5 reasons, why you should use WhatsApp bots for your business:

1. Reduce Response Time: The average First Response Time (FRT) for a live chat in all industries is 1 minute and 36 seconds. A low response rate creates more satisfied customers who tend to stick with a brand longer than usual and spend 14% more. Response time on WhatsApp can be reduced by using automated messages.

In the WhatsApp business app, these automated messages are available only in the form of “Greeting Messages” where a business can just set up an automated greeting message for the first customer interaction.

But with WhatsApp bot and APIs, businesses can set up custom flows for different conversation stages, create custom messages, reduce the response time, and can answer most commonly asked questions without human intervention.

HDFC bank bot chatflow example


2. Automate commonly asked questions: As more people are moving towards online shopping and bookings, the number of queries related to order confirmation, tracking, cancellation, and the refund has seen a huge spike. These queries, if not automated, can take a considerable amount of agent’s time. Hence it’s very important for businesses to automate these FAQs to reduce the burden on the agent side and help them focus on selling. 

Without bots, some of these queries can be handled using “Quick Replies”, but again, these messages have to be sent manually by an agent. Also, queries like sending the order details or tracking information can’t be addressed by “Quick Replies” and have to be handled manually.

Whereas with the help of WhatsApp bot FAQs, order tracking information, cancellation request, all can be handled automatically. This automation not only provides quick responses but can also work 24/7.

WhatsApp bot for ecommerce


3. Automate product suggestion: When it comes to selling and cross-selling, businesses really don’t need any fancy solutions. The user is already there conversing with the WhatsApp bot, businesses just need to ask them their choices, show the suggestions, and help them checkout. 

With the native WhatsApp business app, this is possible with the catalog feature. But the issue with this catalog feature is one has to manually send these catalogs to the customers and this flow can’t be automated.

But, with WhatsApp bot, the complete cross-selling flow can be automated and will not require any human help. A bot can ask about the customer’s interest, show them the desired products, help them select the color and size, and finally help the user check-out. Here’s a live example of how that flow will look like.

Ecommerce catalog WhatsApp bot


4. Reduce cart abandonment rate: The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69.57 %. One way to address this via emails but the open rate of emails is just 13.9%. The open rates to an SMS are as high as 98% and WhatsApp being the most popular messaging app can see even better open rates and can reduce the cart abandonment rate considerably.

WhatsApp bots can track items added to the cart and encourage customers to checkout by giving some discounts. 

Reduce cart abandonment using WhatsApp chatbot


5. Help & Support: Despite all the FAQ databases you build, people will still reach out to the support agents to know about their account details, any active services, validity of the services or renew their plan. In that case, sending them again to a FAQ section degrades the customer experience. The best way is to provide all the answers automatically on WhatsApp and address any service request then and there.

Without WhatsApp bots, providing this great customer experience will require a lot of manual work and can lead to a lot of unaddressed queries.

Whereas, with WhatsApp bot you can automate all the queries and also provide basic services like sending the current plan information, upgrading a plan, or renewing the current plan for a customer. 

Here’s a WhatsApp bot example which automatically addresses the queries related to phone subscription.

Recharge phone with whatsapp bot


How to build a WhatsApp bot – Explained step-by-step

Building a WhatsApp bot is pretty simple and can be done without writing even a single line of code, provided you use the right tools. Building a WhatsApp bot involves two major steps:

  1. Applying for WhatsApp API
  2. Building a WhatsApp bot


How to apply for WhatsApp API?

Currently, WhatsApp is in limited public preview and encourages businesses to consider using a Business service provider. There are currently only about 46 global providers who specialize in WhatsApp business, and Freshworks is one of the top providers.

Here are the steps you should follow to apply for WhatsApp API and set up your dedicated WhatsApp Business number.

Step 1: Sign up for WhatsApp business API. Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email explaining the next steps to follow to get your application approved.

Step2: Next, you need to provide details like the Facebook Business Manager ID, phone number, and name. Follow the below image to access Facebook Business Manager ID.

How to access Facebook business ID

Step 3: If you choose to partner with Freshchat as your business service provider, you will then have to verify that by going to ‘business settings’ and approving the request from Freshworks.

Approving WhatsApp API request

Step 4: Finally, you will have to provide basic details like their profile icon and name for your WhatsApp business account. Your WhatsNumber will be authenticated using an SMS or voice call. Once this is done the business is all set to use the WhatsApp integration in Freshchat.


How to Build a WhatsApp bot?

Note: We’ve recently updated our chat and bot solutions, to understand the recent updates, please click here.

To build a WhatsApp bot for Freshchat, you should first

Step 1 Sign up for Freshchat.

Step 2 – Click on New Bot and give your bot a name and description.

Step 3 – Click on the existing flows to edit the existing flows. To add a new flow, click on the “+” icon on the top right corner, enter the flow name, description, and click on the submit button.

Edit the flow in freddy bot builder

Step 4 – Click on the blue “+” icon to add new dialog boxes. To add conditions, actions, images, link it to another flow or use Json click on the respective dialog boxes.

Freddy bot builder sections

Step 5 – Once you are done with creating different flows, click on the preview button and test it right there in the Freddy bot builder.

Free bot builder demo GIF


Step 6 (Integration) –  Once you are done with building and testing your bot, the next step would be to integrate it with Freshchat. To do that click on the gear icon > select Freshchat > Select “Freshchat Widget + Live Agent” from the drop-down menu > fill the ID’s on the next screen and hit save.

Freddy WhatsApp bot - Freshchat Integration

Why use Freshchat?

Freshchat provides 360° customer engagement during different stages of the customer journey. With the help of bots & AI, webchat, custom reporting, unified inbox, and different automation tools like Intelliassign, it offers a suite of messaging solutions to help your business be successful on WhatsApp. 

Some of the key features:

Early and easy access to WhatsApp Business account

Fast approvals from WhatsApp on messaging templates

Rich APIs that connect data between your tools and bots conversations

Custom Analytics

Unified and smart agent inbox

Enterprise-grade security

Run banner ads on Facebook and Instagram or Google CPC  that click to WhatsApp

Handle volumes with bots and AI and automate sales catalogs and payment queries.

Divert traffic from IVR support on phone to WhatsApp

Connect with your favorite CRM, payment gateways, Helpdesk systems, and more!


Final Thoughts

WhatsApp bots are one of the most efficient ways to automate repeated tasks, improve agent efficiency, and ultimately grow your business on WhatsApp. And the easiest way to set this up is to partner with a verified WhatsApp business partner like Freshworks, to get quick approval from WhatsApp APIs and use a chatbot builder like Freddy Bot Builder where you can build, edit and test a chatbot without even writing a single line of code. 


» Updated on, 22nd Feb 2021