Configure a WhatsApp channel through Twilio

Omnichannel for Customer Service offers a suite of capabilities that extend the power of Dynamics 365 Customer Service Enterprise to enable organizations to instantly connect and engage with their customers across digital messaging channels. An additional license is required to access Omnichannel for Customer service. For more information, see the Dynamics 365 Customer Service pricing overview and Dynamics 365 Customer Service pricing plan pages.

Overview of WhatsApp channel through Twilio

Many customers use social messaging channels like WhatsApp for their personal communication needs and prefer to use the WhatsApp channel to engage with businesses also.

The success of social media customer service, like all other customer service, depends on the quality of care provided. Communications from agents should be timely, accurate, sensitive, brief, and friendly, which ultimately improves the customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

The WhatsApp channel feature lets you integrate WhatsApp through Twilio with Omnichannel for Customer Service to engage with customers who prefer the WhatsApp channel.

Prerequisites

WhatsApp message types and 24 hours session rule

  • Template messages: These are the outbound messages that agents send through Twilio using one of the pre-approved templates. They are typically transactional messages, such as delivery alerts and appointment reminders, sent to users who have opted in to receive messages from your organization. For messages requiring localization, you must get the message approved by WhatsApp in each language. For more information about WhatsApp message templates, see WhatsApp documentation.

  • Session messages: According to WhatsApp, session messages are incoming messages from a customer or outgoing replies by an agent to the incoming messages, within 24 hours. A messaging session starts when agents receive a message from a customer. It lasts for 24 hours from the most recently received message. Session messages do not need to follow a template, and can include media attachments.

  • 24 hours session rule: A messaging session starts when an agent receives a message from a customer or replies to the incoming message from the customer. When the customer sends a message, the agent has 24 hours to reply from the time the agent received it. However, after 24 hours, the agent can send a message to customer only by using a predefined and approved template.

End-to-end walk-through

Step 1: Fetch Twilio account details

Step 2: Create a WhatsApp channel

Step 3: Create routing rules

Step 4: Modify settings for a specific WhatsApp phone number

Fetch Twilio account details

To integrate a WhatsApp channel through Twilio with Omnichannel for Customer Service, you need to go to your Twilio account and fetch the ACCOUNT SID and AUTH TOKEN values. Save those safely. These two values are required to create a WhatsApp channel configuration in the Omnichannel Administration app.

Go to your Twilio Console Dashboard > Settings > General to fetch the details.

Create a WhatsApp channel

After you create a work stream for the WhatsApp channel through Twilio, create a WhatsApp channel in the Omnichannel Administrator app.

To create a WhatsApp channel, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Omnichannel Administration app.

  2. Select WhatsApp under Channels.

  3. In the New WhatsApp page, do the following.

    Section Field Description Example value
    Twilio account details Name Specify a name for the WhatsApp channel. WhatsApp channel
    Twilio account details Account SID Fetch the value from your Twilio account and paste it here. AC9a805fb460119c9baabb9b726ce8fc90
    Twilio account details Auth Token Get the value from your Twilio account and paste it here. dd40ed7df8376b1fa959be99c45fbfce

    Create a WhatsApp channel

  4. Select Save. In the Callback information section, the Twilio inbound URL field is generated with a link. Copy the link from the field.

    Copy the Twilio inbound URL

  5. Go to your Twilio console, select Senders and then select the WhatsApp phone number. Under Messaging, paste the link that you copied in step 4 in the Twilio inbound URL field.

  6. In the WhatsApp phone numbers section, select New WhatsApp Number. The New WhatsApp Number page is displayed.

  7. Do the following.

    Section Field Description Example value
    Phone number details Name Specify a name for the WhatsApp channel. WhatsApp phone number
    Phone number details WhatsApp Account The WhatsApp Account field is populated by default. However, you can change the value using the lookup. WhatsApp channel
    Phone number details WhatsApp Number Specify the WhatsApp number. 123456989
    Work distribution Work stream Select the out-of-the-box work stream from the lookup.
    To create a new work stream, see Create work streams.
    WhatsApp channel work stream

    Create a WhatsApp channel phone number

  8. Select Save. The WhatsApp phone number is saved.

  9. Select the back button on the browser to go to the WhatsApp channel page. You can see that the WhatsApp phone number is added in the WhatsApp phone numbers section.

  10. Select Save.

  11. In the Validation section, select Validate to validate the Account SID, Auth token, and phone numbers. After you validate, a toast notification displays with the success or error.

    Validate Account SID, Auth token, and phone number

Integrate a Twilio sandbox account with Omnichannel for Customer Service

  1. In Twilio, go to the Programmable SMS > Programmable Messaging > WhatsApp sandbox.
  2. In the WHEN A MESSAGE COMES IN box, enter the Twilio inbound URL that you generated in Omnichannel for Customer Service, and save the changes.
  3. To test the WhatsApp channel with the Twilio sandbox, you can send a WhatsApp message to the number provided by Twilio with a unique code that is also provided by Twilio. You can also use the sandbox message template provided by Twilio to test sending messages outside of the 24-hour window.

Create routing rules

  1. Go to Work Distribution Management > Work Streams.
  2. Open the out-of-the-box work stream or the one you created.
  3. On the Routing rules items tab, you can create a routing rule to transfer the message to an appropriate agent. Select the entity as WhatsApp Engagement Context. For example, you can create a rule to transfer WhatsApp chat from a customer to the default queue.

When you create conditions for routing rules, the WhatsApp Engagement Context (Conversation) entity enables you to set the Customer Phone Number and Customer First Message attributes. The Customer First Message attribute lets you create a pre-filled message that will automatically appear in the text field of a customer chat, which can be used for routing.

Modify settings for a specific WhatsApp phone number

  1. In the Omnichannel Administration app, go to your WhatsApp application and select the WhatsApp phone number you want to modify.

  2. On the General settings tab, provide the following information:

    • Language: Select the preferred language for your WhatsApp phone number.

    • Work stream: Select an existing work stream or create a new one.

    • Enable file attachments for customers: Set to Yes to allow customers to send file attachments to agents. Otherwise, set No.

    • Enable file attachments for agents: Set to Yes to allow agents to send file attachments to customers. When the agent sends an attachment, the app sends the blob storage URL to the channel. Otherwise, set No.

      To learn more about attachments, see File attachments.

      To learn more about uploading media in WhatsApp, see Twilio support documentation.

  3. On the Automated messages tab, configure automated messages.

  4. On the Message templates tab, you can configure agents' ability to send WhatsApp-approved messages. If 24 hours pass after a customer's last message, agents will only be able to send messages from WhatsApp approved templates until the customer responds.

    Note

    Create your message templates in your Twilio account and have them approved by WhatsApp before you add them in Omnichannel for Customer Service.

    Click New to create a new template and complete the following fields:

    • Name: Label the group of messages that will go in this template.

    • Message trigger: Select the event that will trigger the message to be sent.

    • Message description: Give the message template a description.

    Create WhatsApp message template

    Click Save and the Localization Data (Message template) panel appears. Select New localization and complete the following fields:

    • Language code: Select the language for the message.

    • Localized text: Write the message in the language specified. You must create a new localization for each translation of the message.

    Create WhatsApp message template localized message

  5. On the Surveys tab, configure a post-conversation survey.

See also

Understand and create work streams
Create and manage routing rules
Configure automated messages
Configure a post-conversation survey
Skill-based routing
Create message templates
Templates
Delete a configured channel