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Published May 17, 2024 in

How to set up auto-reply on WhatsApp: best practices for business

Looking for ways to streamline and facilitate your communication with customers? Automating WhatsApp messages is one of the key steps to achieving these goals.

WhatsApp has become an important means of business communication and a popular customer service tool. And statistics prove it. Over 60% of people prefer to interact with businesses via messaging apps instead of emails. As a result, a huge part of B2C interaction has moved to messengers.

Of course, it’s not a problem to type a message manually for your mom or friend when they send something funny to you or ask about your plans for Saturday. But when you need to reply to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of users, that’s already a very different story. Probably, you have a list of more important things to do rather than sit and send replies all day long. Read on to learn how to automate WhatsApp messages.

How to automate WhatsApp messages: 3 methods

There are several available approaches to automating messages on WhatsApp. All of them have their pros and cons, so you may want to analyze all of them before choosing the most appropriate one.

  1. WhatsApp Business app

A lot of companies today rely on the features of WhatsApp Business app for auto-replies. It’s easy to set up and use. And its basic features can be enough for businesses that do not need to handle huge volumes of inquiries.

Automation on the WhatsApp Business app is a good choice for some simple cases.  For example, you can automatically send Greeting messages when clients start a conversation with your company. Or you can set up Away messages. Users will receive them when they will contact you outside working hours.

Nevertheless, this approach has some limitations in more complex scenarios:

  • Absence of customization for specific inquiries;

  • Limited scheduling flexibility;

  • Miscommunication risks;

  • No interactive communication in real time;

  • Limited branding possibilities;

  • Lack of advanced features and comprehensive analytics.

  1. WhatsApp Business API

For advanced automation, you can use WhatsApp Business API. This method can offer you all the functionality available on the WhatsApp Business in combination with CRM features.

In this case, you can make your automated interaction with customers much more personalized. Now you can customize and diversify your communication with them. In addition to simple greetings or away messages, you can automatically send:

  • Happy birthday messages;

  • Abandoned cart reminders;

  • Price-drop notifications;

  • Again-in-stock information;

  • Order confirmations;

  • Loyalty rewards;

  • Delivery status updates, etc.

This option provides you with more freedom when it comes to customization and possible scenarios. With it, you can design practically any WhatsApp automated messages you wish.

However, all settings of WhatsApp Business API traditionally turn out to be a more complicated task than just using an app. As a result, very often, it’s required to work with a vendor that provides relevant solutions for facilitating this process.

  1. Third-party tools

Today you have access to a wide choice of ready-made suites for WhatsApp automation.

Their use doesn’t require any specific knowledge or skills from your side. Given the competition in this aspect, providers need to continuously support and regularly update their solutions to keep market positions. Such solutions offer various features addressing the needs of absolutely different users. Let’s explore a couple of tools and their functionality.


  • Automated welcome & away messages;

  • WhatsApp API campaigns for automated notifications of orders, delivery, payments & more.


  • Broadcast messages sent at specific time;

  • Out-of-office messages;

  • Custom notifications;

  • No-code chatbot.


  • Autonomous AI agent Fuely AI featuring various skills;

  • Auto reply;

  • Upsell and cross-sell capabilities;

  • Abandoned carts recovery;

  • Personalized communication and promos;

  • Lead generation and qualification;

  • Product recommendation;

  • Feedback collection and analysis.

As a Meta-approved tech provider, Chatfuel directly integrates with WhatsApp Business API’s latest version. It also integrates with various third-party tools like Stripe, Shopify, Zapier, Calendly, and others, allowing for omnichannel automation and streamlined workflows.

Claim your free trial to explore Chatfuel’s capabilities in WhatsApp automation.

use case 4 — customer support.gif

When to automate WhatsApp messages: key use cases

Customer service

WhatsApp automated response can be provided for addressing basic issues, answering frequently asked questions, gathering general feedback, etc. For more complex cases, human participation may be needed.

Marketing and sales

Automation can be of great use for informing customers about special deals and promotions, reminding them of their abandoned carts, as well as for lead generation and nurturing.

Notifications and order updates

You can use WhatsApp automation for sending order confirmation and real-time delivery statuses.


Not only retailers can benefit from WhatsApp automated messages. Wellness centers, clinics, and beauty shops are also among those that can use this feature to send booking confirmations and reminders.

Setting up WhatsApp message automation

First of all, you need to choose a method that will address your needs better than others.

  1. If you do not work with a lot of inquiries at the moment, automation via the WhatsApp Business app will be enough. There are restrictions in the scenarios when messages can be automated. However, the most basic needs can be covered with in-built WhatsApp features.

  2. For more sophisticated tasks, you can use WhatsApp Business API. Here, you have practically unlimited space for imagination. You can implement various scenarios and design different messages for each of them. Moreover, your automated responses can be highly personalized. Nevertheless, the work with WhatsApp API can be a rather complicated task if you do not rely on third-party tools.

  3. When you are interested in comprehensive automation of your communication with customers, ready-made solutions can be a good choice. The best tools today have a rather wide range of features that can solve a lot of tasks at the same time.

Let’s take Chatfuel as an example.

After signing up, you will need to connect your WhatsApp Business account and number.

connect your WhatsApp Business number.png
Source: Chatfuel

Then, you can proceed to create your first bot. No coding skills are required. If you don’t want to create your bot from scratch, an extensive library of pre-made bot templates will come in handy—use them as is or customize to tailor to your needs.

To cover different scenarios, you need to create different flows inside one bot. For example, one of them will be for reminding about abandoned carts, another one for recommending special offers, etc.

create different flows inside one bot.png
Source: Chatfuel

Learn more about creating flows here.

Or watch the video explaining how to create a simple WhatsApp flow.

How to enhance WhatsApp message automation: best practices


Do not try to hide the fact that customers will communicate with a WhatsApp chatbot. Let them know about it at the very beginning of the interaction.

Manager support

Make it possible for customer service managers to seamlessly join the communication with clients when it’s required.


Address customers by name or add other relevant details to make each WhatsApp automated message more personal.

Quit option

Offer customers the possibility of unsubscribing from automated messages. They should be also allowed to subscribe back if they change their minds.

3 reasons to automate WhatsApp messages

  1. Better customer experience

By setting up auto-replies, you reduce response times by ensuring the possibility for people to get the required information even outside your business hours. As automated replies are available in a 24/7 regime, your existing and potential customers won’t need to wait till the beginning of your work day.

  1. Higher efficiency

As WhatsApp automated message delivery takes place without any participation of your customer support managers, their workload can be significantly reduced. Thanks to this, they will have more time to concentrate on more complicated tasks and demonstrate better efficiency in addressing pressing issues.

  1. Insights and data-driven decisions

With automation tools, you can successfully track the performance of your messages. This approach not only helps to optimize your strategy in communication with clients but also enhances customer service in general.

It may not seem obvious but WhatsApp automated messages can help you greatly scale your business. And the more tasks will be efficiently automated, the better the final results can be. With automation, you can increase the quality of your customer service and drive your sales, while optimizing your resources allocated for this.