For Business API users, WhatsApp has a 24-hour limit on responding to customer queries. The time is counted from the most recent message that is sent to you by the customer.
This period is a WhatsApp session and the messages sent during this period are called “session messages”.
WhatsApp is very particular about how businesses interact with its users. They do not allow businesses to reply after the session is over. The reason for adding this limitation is:
- WhatsApp users get a great customer experience and quick response times so they’re more likely to continue using the app
- Businesses resolve customer queries within the 24-hour session to avoid being blocked from sending any further messages.
- Faster customer support also helps businesses earn credibility with their customers
During the 24-hour period, businesses can interact with the customer without limitations on the number of messages or type of messages sent - without additional WhatsApp fees.
Messages sent after the session are charged on a per message basis and the cost depends on the API provider or business solution provider (BSP) that you use.
By default, WhatsApp allows API users to send messages in the following formats:
- Text messages (with any text formatting)
- Messages with clickable URLs
- Multimedia messages including audio, video, stickers, etc.
- Contact cards
- Map locations
In case a customer messages you on a weekend or during non-working hours, you can send an automated template message. If the customer responds once again after the 24 hours have passed, the session can begin once again and your support team can respond to the customer.