To get started, you need access to a phone number that can receive either SMS or calls. You'll also need to be a legally registered company with proof of incorporation and address, as well as a website.
For example, spam messages or messages whose content isn't clear on why you're messaging someone or if there were an opt-in step are very likely to be rejected.
When you're opening a conversation with a customer, WhatsApp requires that message to be a previously approved template, and they decide whether it's approved or not, not Hilos.
Keep in mind that if the promotional messages you send are not relevant to the customer or they didn't opt-in, they're more likely to block your number. This limits how many messages you can send per day through WhatsApp.
To start you will need a phone number, either by getting a SIM card or via Twilio. If you need help, message us and we'll be happy to give you the rundown.
Then choose your API provider. We currently support 360Dialog but are working on adding support for Meta's Cloud API in the near future. Once you've chosen your provider, the next step is getting approval from Meta / WhatsApp. They ask for several documents to verify your business, and that you comply with WhatsApp's and Twilio's policies. The whole verification step is done with an automated onboarding site, and while Meta and WhatsApp review your application you can begin sending messages and testing.
At this time we only officially support 360Dialog, though we'll soon support Meta's Cloud API.
360Dialog provides access to the WhatsApp API but doesn't handle buying a phone number to use with it. So the complete solution that we recommend is to buy a virtual phone number with Twilio, Vonage, etc. and then connect it to the WhatsApp API with 360Dialog.
Currently using 360Dialog is equivalent to using Meta's Cloud API for WhatsApp, there are the same features and you also get access to a sandbox period in which you can test every feature of the API (and Hilos) while your business verification gets approved by Meta.
While on this sandbox step, you can open up to 50 outbound conversations per day, while inbound conversations are unlimited.
We also support creating and managing your WhatsApp templates from Hilos.
WhatsApp allows you to send pre-approved message templates if it's been over 24 hours since the user's last message, or any type of message if it's not yet been 24 hours.
Usually companies use WhatsApp as a channel to send notifications of any actions or events happening in their platform, like order confirmations, shipment details, scheduling messages, etc. You can also use WhatsApp as a marketing channel, using pre-approved templates.
Once a user has contacted you (initiated the conversation) you can respond with anything you want, as long as it complies with WhatsApp's Legal and Business policies.
Any WhatsApp number that receives a message sent through an Hilos flow (inbound or outbound) or message broadcast in a given month is considered a Monthly Active Customer. If they don't pass through an automation in the following month, they will not be considered a MAC for that following month.
Excluded from this are contacts that go through your WhatsApp API but do not interact with automations (such as interacting directly with customer support in our Inbox). Once a WhatsApp number is a MAC, there is no limit on the amount of automations the user can pass through without additional fees.
No, they're different services. The WhatsApp Business service is meant for small companies that can handle all their messaging through one phone + WhatsApp Web. As such, if you want to open your WhatsApp number to your team, you need to scan a QR code everytime you want to connect, just like using WhatsApp Web for personal use.
The WhatsApp Business API is meant for companies that want to easily send messages programmatically, and so is meant for companies looking to automate messaging or that have medium to large teams and they need high availability and an always-on connection to WhatsApp. There's no need to scan QR codes to connect and start sending messages.
Hilos uses the WhatsApp Business API to be able to automate messaging and offer advanced features not available for the basic WhatsApp Business service, like interactive messages, 24/7 messaging, etc.
Yes, you can switch providers to 360Dialog. Note that you can only use one provider at a time for a given phone number.
Yes. If you buy your number with Twilio, you can set up IVRs, voice calls, etc with them or other services (Aircall, etc). That same number can be connected to the WhatsApp API via Twilio or a different API provider (360Dialog, for example).