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WhatsApp Automation: 4 Benefits, 3 Examples & How to Do It [June 2024]

Román Filgueira
June 21, 2024

One of the biggest advantages of using WhatsApp as a customer communication channel is the possibility of automating repetitive or time-consuming tasks through WhatsApp automation. But for beginners, the idea might sound a bit daunting. In this guide, we’ll explain WhatsApp Business automation benefits, automation options for different business sizes and how to build your own WhatsApp automation bot.

What is WhatsApp Automation?

In simple terms, WhatsApp automation is the automation of conversations on the WhatsApp Business App or WhatsApp Business API. Thanks to it, businesses can save time and resources, improve response times and increase customer satisfaction.

Micro and small businesses can set up basic automation on the WhatsApp Business App from their phone or desktop. This includes welcome and away messages, for example.

This image shows a visual example of WhatsApp for business automation. Read this article to find out what is the best WhatsApp automation tool.
An overview of WhatsApp chat automation

This gets trickier for medium and large companies looking to automate repetitive or complex business tasks like chat routing and agent assignment. In the past, this wasn’t possible due to the app’s limitations. But in 2018, WhatsApp API was launched, putting an end to this issue.

How Does WhatsApp Automation Work?

WhatsApp automation offers various methods for businesses to streamline their operations. As we’ll cover later, most of these methods require using WhatsApp API.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the role of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in WhatsApp automation. APIs enable businesses to integrate their software or systems with the WhatsApp platform, allowing developers to create custom solutions for automating WhatsApp interactions in several ways.

Let’s explore some of the ways businesses can utilize WhatsApp automation.


These automated conversational agents can understand user commands and queries. By leveraging machine learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing (NLP), chatbots can instantly provide predefined or AI-generated responses to customers on WhatsApp.


By utilizing customer data and sales engagement tools, businesses can send tailored messages, offering a more engaging and customized experience for their customers.

Automated Workflows

Businesses can set up workflows on WhatsApp to automate specific tasks and processes. This involves defining rules and triggers that initiate automated actions based on user interactions or other predetermined conditions. For example, an automated workflow can be created to send order confirmations or appointment reminders to customers automatically.

Updates and Notifications

Businesses can send updates and notifications to customers automatically. This includes critical alerts, event reminders, and order status updates, ensuring real-time communication with customers about important information.

Due to the increasing popularity of conversational sales and support, more and more companies are using automation to facilitate customer communication over WhatsApp. WhatsApp automation is on the rise. But why?

4 Benefits of WhatsApp Automation

Every now and then, we hear someone complaining because when reaching out to a company, they could only “talk to a robot.” When poorly executed, automation can indeed lead to a deficient customer experience.

This image shows the benefits of WhatsApp automation via WhatsApp. Whereas WhatsApp Business app offers a free WhatsApp automation tool, WhatsApp Business API automation costs money and comes with plenty of extra functionalities.
Benefits of WhatsApp Business automation

1. Decrease Response Times

Automated welcome and away messages improve response times by instantly acknowledging inbound messages. This ensures customers feel their message has been received and are reassured of a forthcoming response.

2. Reduce Agent Load

Automation can handle certain customer inquiries, such as providing automatic responses to common questions through an interactive FAQ menu. This frees up agents to focus on more urgent matters, thus reducing their workload.

3. Increase Sales Conversions

By guiding customers down the sales funnel with minimal agent input, WhatsApp automation ensures that only qualified leads reach agents. This saves time and allows agents to concentrate on genuine sales opportunities.

4. Increase Customer Satisfaction

Automation helps route conversations to the right team faster by using pre-chat survey forms to collect customer data and determine conversation purposes. This prompt attention improves overall customer satisfaction.

3 Examples of WhatsApp Automation

1. WhatsApp Business Automation for Healthcare

Healthcare businesses can significantly enhance their operations with WhatsApp automation. Virtual waiting rooms keep patients informed and reduce physical overcrowding.

Automating pre-consultation data collection ensures healthcare providers are well-prepared, improving efficiency. Simple cases can be resolved quickly, freeing up time for more complex issues. Complex cases can be escalated seamlessly to specialists, ensuring patients receive the best care.

Additionally, automating patient routing and agent assignment allows for effective tracking and follow-ups, ensuring adherence to treatment plans and appointments.

2. WhatsApp Business Automation for Education

WhatsApp automation can greatly enhance the efficiency of educational institutions. Quickly responding to impatient leads during admissions season ensures no lead is lost due to delays.

Using Respond AI, the leading chatbot for education, institutions can provide instant replies to inquiries and collect data 24/7 before a human agent steps in. Automation can also filter spam, allowing agents to focus on meaningful interactions.

Simplifying processes from event sign-ups to enrollment is seamless with integration into student management systems, CRMs, and ERPs. Additionally, sending event details, reminders, and automated student satisfaction surveys ensures effective communication and continuous improvement.

3. WhatsApp Business Automation for Retail

Here’s how WhatsApp automation can significantly enhance retail operations. For a start, integrating your ERP or sales CRMs allows real-time data retrieval and deal generation during conversations.

Automating the sales pipeline, from qualification to abandoned cart recovery, boosts efficiency. For example, creating VIP routes provides dedicated service for high-value clients and enhances customer satisfaction. Also, offering 24/7 support through automated FAQs and human agent access ensures continuous assistance.

Integrating your support CRM facilitates ticket creation during conversations. Additionally, automating processes like support escalation and sending NPS or CSAT surveys streamlines operations and improves the overall customer experience.

How to Automate WhatsApp Messages

Automating WhatsApp messages depends on the solution you are using, as the process is not the same for WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API.

When deciding between the WhatsApp Business app and the WhatsApp API for automation, it’s crucial to understand the differences in features and capabilities of each platform. Next, we’ll provide a detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.

WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API

This image shows the differences between automation on the WhatsApp Business app vs WhatsApp API. When deciding between the WhatsApp Business app and the WhatsApp API for automation, it’s crucial to understand the differences in features and capabilities of each platform.
WhatsApp automation for business: Which platform to choose?

Response Automation

The WhatsApp Business app rovides basic response automation, suitable for simple automated replies. In contrast, WhatsApp API offers advanced response automation, enabling more complex and sophisticated automated interactions.

Conversation Performance Tracking

The WhatsApp Business app does not offer features for tracking conversation performance, making it difficult to measure and analyze interaction effectiveness. WhatsApp API, however, includes conversation performance tracking, allowing businesses to monitor and optimize their customer interactions.

Chatbot Integration

The WhatsApp Business app lacks integration with chatbots, limiting its ability to handle automated customer support. Conversely, WhatsApp API supports chatbot integration, providing a more robust solution for automated customer service.

Interactive Menus

The WhatsApp Business app does not support interactive menus, reducing the potential for engaging customer interactions. On the other hand, WhatsApp API allows for customizable interactive menus, enhancing the user experience with more interactive and guided communication.

Automated Workflows

Although the WhatsApp Business app does not support automated workflows, WhatsApp API does, enabling businesses to automate specific tasks and processes for improved efficiency.

With this understanding, let's explore how to create WhatsApp automation using the WhatsApp Business app.

WhatsApp Automation with WhatsApp Business App

The WhatsApp Business app has some basic automation features that are free to use: Greeting messages and away messages. Let’s see what they look like.

Greeting Messages

Greeting messages are one of the most basic features businesses use. Customers appreciate a warm welcome message, and there are several business benefits to using WhatsApp greeting messages.

When enabled, these greeting messages are sent to customers who message you for the first time or after 14 days of inactivity. Greeting messages are customizable, and you can select who receives them from your address book.

This image shows an example of automation WhatsApp used to greet customers.
WhatsApp automation bot on the WhatsApp Business app: Greeting message

Setting up greeting messages in the WhatsApp Business App is quite easy. You can tailor your WhatsApp greeting message to suit specific purposes and apply recommended best practices to make the most of the message.

Away Messages

Unless your business can guarantee immediate responses to all inbound messages, you should have a way to manage wait time expectations.

When enabled, WhatsApp away messages are sent to customers who contact your business outside of office hours or when you’re unavailable. In the WhatsApp Business App, you can define your availability by setting your schedule.

This image shows WhatsAp automation free with the WhatsApp Business app. One of the things you can do is building a WhatsApp away message like the one in the image.
WhatsApp automation bot on the WhatsApp Business app: Away message

Limitations of WhatsApp Automation with WhatsApp Business App

With only two types of auto replies, the WhatsApp Business App is only suitable for small businesses. Let’s recall some of its other limitations.

  • Basic Response Automation
  • No Conversation Performance Tracking
  • No Integration with Chatbots
  • No Interactive Menus
  • No Automated Workflows

Medium to large-size businesses will benefit from a more powerful WhatsApp automation tool like WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp Business API Automation

Businesses looking to implement advanced WhatsApp API automation with need to fulfill two requirements:

  1. Sign up for a account
  2. Connect WhatsApp API to

For users, the Workflows Module is the place to build a WhatsApp automation bot. This module is available in all the plans.

First, you’ll first need to acquire some basic knowledge of inbound conversation Workflows. If you are already familiar with this, here are some of the WhatsApp automation you can build from the Workflows Module.

WhatsApp Business Automation: Greeting Messages

Greeting messages for WhatsApp can be created from scratch or from a Workflow template such as the Welcome Message or Welcome Message & Ask for Email templates.

By choosing the latter, customer email addresses are saved as Contact Fields for future reference. Email requests will only be sent to customers whose email addresses haven't been recorded previously to avoid asking repetitive questions and annoying them.

This image shows WhatsApp automations built with Workflows. With this setup, you can automatically greet customers who contact your business via WhatsApp
WhatsApp automation bot: Greeting message

To implement greeting messages exclusively for WhatsApp, replace the Last Interacted Channel in the Send a Message Step with your WhatsApp API channel.

In addition, you can customize WhatsApp welcome messages using Dynamic Variables. For example, use the dynamic variable $contact.firstname to greet customers personally and create a friendly first impression.

Greeting customers is important, but so is managing their expectations. Next, we’ll explain how to use Workflows to build a WhatsApp away message.

WhatsApp Business Automation: Away Messages

To create a WhatsApp away message with, build one from scratch or choose a Workflow template.

Choose the Away Message template to automatically send a notification every time a customer starts a conversation. The Workflow needs to be switched on and off manually, so it is suitable for businesses that offer 24/7 support and are seldom unavailable.

This image shows WhatsApp bot automation built with's Workflows. With this setup, you can send and away message when WhatsApp customers contact you outside business hours.
WhatsApp automation bot: Away message

Conversely, use the Away Message with Business Hours template to automatically send a WhatsApp away message outside of operating hours. You just need to enter your business hours in the Date & Time Step to define when away messages will be sent.

So far, we’ve explained how to greet WhatsApp customers that open a conversation with you. Let’s take it one step further by creating a question bot to ask customers questions automatically.

WhatsApp Business Automation: Ask a Question

The simplest way to build a question bot with Workflows is through the Ask a Question Step. This Step has several subcategories to formulate different question types, such as those with multiple choice answers, text or ratings from 1-5 as responses.

There are multiple reasons why a business might ask customers questions when they reach out over WhatsApp. Some businesses like to have a fallback contact method to reach customers after the conversation is closed, so they might ask for an email address.

This image shows reasons why businesses use WhatsApp Business API automation to send automated questions to customers.
WhatsApp automation software: When to ask an automated question

Although open-ended questions are difficult to categorize and tabulate, businesses may use them to collect qualitative data and insights into customer behavior. For example, a business may ask customers What were the main reasons you chose our service?

To resolve recurring customer queries on the spot, businesses can build automated FAQs using the Multiple Choice question type. This can provide instant answers to common inquiries about pricing, terms and conditions or shipping costs.

This image shows how to send an automated question to customers who contact you via WhatsApp. This is possible with WhatsApp automation API and's Workflows.
WhatsApp automation bot: Ask a question

CSAT surveys are used to gauge the level of satisfaction a customer experiences after a specific interaction with a company. You can build a simple Workflow to create CSAT surveys and save the answers to Google Sheets or a data warehouse.

Lastly, an Ask a Question Step can be used to route customers to the right team and auto-assign them to available agents based on the responses provided. Let’s see how it’s done.

WhatsApp Business Automation: Chat Routing and Agent Assignment

Enterprises with many daily conversations can’t simply rely on agents to manually pick and resolve them. They need a business solution to route conversations and assign them to agents automatically.

With, you can build your own routing Workflows from scratch or choose a Workflow template like Multi-team Routing: Shifts, which is ideal for companies with different teams working round the clock that want to assign conversations by shift.

Multi-Team Routing: Multiple Choice by Contact is a Workflow template made for businesses that prefer to route customers based on team functions such as sales inquiries or support requests.

This image shows chat routing and agent assignment with's Workflows
WhatsApp automation bot: Chat routing and agent assignment

When it comes to automatic agent assignment, Workflow templates will help you get started with two logics to choose from: Round-robin to assign conversations equally among agents or by least open contacts for faster service by agents.

Every company has its own routing and auto-assignment logic. While Workflow templates are a good way to start, they only scratch the surface of what’s possible with's Workflows.

As a medium or large-size business, you probably use other software for marketing, sales and support. We’ll cover the types of WhatsApp Business API automation you can apply to them in the following section.

WhatsApp Business Automation: HTTP Request

The HTTP Request Step is a Workflow Step only available for Business and Enterprise plans. With it, businesses can execute callbacks to third-party applications to transfer data between them and These are some common use cases:

But there’s more: Connecting to Zapier will give you access to more than 5,000 app integrations. Analytics tools, calendar apps, databases… you name it. And just like's Workflows, Zapier automation does not require code.

WhatsApp Automation FAQs

How to send automated WhatsApp messages?

  1. Open the WhatsApp Business app.
  2. Tap More options. > Business tools > Away message.
  3. Turn on Send away message.
  4. Under Away message, tap the message to edit it, then tap OK.
  5. Tap Schedule to schedule your away message. ...
  6. Tap Recipients to determine who should receive your away message. ...
  7. Tap SAVE.

Is it possible to send bulk messages through WhatsApp automation?

Yes. While this is not possible with the WhatsApp Business app, you can automate bulk messages with WhatsApp Business API — also known as the WhatsApp Business Platform.

How can I integrate WhatsApp with my CRM?

  1. Choose the right CRM platform. Ensure that your CRM platform supports WhatsApp integration. ...
  2. Set up the WhatsApp Business API. ...
  3. Define communication workflows. ...
  4. Train your team. ...
  5. Monitor and analyze performance.

Can WhatsApp automation handle complex customer queries?

WhatsApp chatbots can certainly solve many customer inquiries quicker and more effectively than human agents. However, some complex customer queries require sensitivity and critical thinking. That’s why you should always offer customers a human agent escalation pathway.

What tools are available for WhatsApp automation?

In the last few years, chatbot and automation solutions for WhatsApp have multiplied. From the wide array of choices, we recommend using Designed and priced for businesses of all sizes, it offers advanced WhatsApp automation capabilities and much more!

How do I get started with WhatsApp Business API?

To get started with WhatsApp Business API, have a look at our one-stop guide: How to Get WhatsApp API.

Get Started with WhatsApp Business API Automation Today

We’ve explained the differences between WhatsApp Business App automation and WhatsApp API automation. If you are a micro or small business using the WhatsApp Business App for customer communication, the free in-app automation features may suffice.

However, as a medium or large-size business, you probably need to connect WhatsApp API to an omnichannel messaging platform with a powerful workflow builder to systematize time-consuming tasks and handle large numbers of messages efficiently.

To get started with WhatsApp automation, try for free and connect your WhatsApp API account to

Further Reading

Did you find this reading interesting? If so, we suggest you have a look at the following articles.

Román Filgueira
Content Writer
Román Filgueira, a University of Vigo graduate holding a Bachelor's in Foreign Languages, joined the team as a Content Writer in 2021. Román offers expert insights on best practices for using messaging apps to drive business growth.
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