Barring the recent issues with its privacy policies, WhatsApp has been a messenger service app without an equal. Its immense popularity can be attributed to two main things – early user adoption and features. But it is the latter that has kept it ahead of the curve and kept its appeal up amidst growing competition.
One such latest feature is ‘Auto Reply’ that simplifies responding to your contacts when you are away. What is it and how can you set it up? Here’s all.
Related: 3 Ways To Mute Whatsapp Calls
What is the Auto-Reply feature in WhatsApp?
As the name suggests, the auto-reply feature lets you set messages to respond automatically for when you are not available to respond yourself. With it, you can schedule ‘away messages’ and even welcome new customers with greeting messages automatically.
The auto-reply feature is built chiefly to assist small businesses that have clear operating hours. But if you’re not a business owner, you can still use it for your personal use. But if you don’t want to switch to a different version of WhatsApp, you can always utilize third-party apps to auto-reply.
Set Auto Reply in WhatsApp Business
Currently, the auto-reply feature is officially available only on WhatsApp Business – a version of the app made just for businesses. Users can set up their Business profile, catalog their products and services, and set up auto-replies to respond to customers and keep them in the loop.
As related before, there are two main components to the auto-reply feature on WhatsApp Business – ‘away message’ and ‘greeting message’. To access these, tap on the three vertical dots at the top right corner…
and choose Business Tools.
This will bring up the following screen where you’ll be able to access Away message and Greeting message options among others.
Let’s take a look at how to set them up:
This is the main auto-reply option. It lets you reply to customers outside of working hours or when you’re away from the office. In the “Business Tools” screen, tap on Away message.
Here, toggle On Send Away Message.
Then tap on Away message.
Here, type in and customize the message that you’d want to send your customers automatically when you’re unavailable to respond yourself. Then tap OK.
Then, tap on Schedule to set when these away messages are triggered.
Here, you get three options –
1. Always Send – For when you’re away from work for an extended period of time.
2. Custom schedule – To specify exactly when these “away messages” are active. We’re thinking lunch hours and weekends.
After you choose this, enter the “Start time” and “End time”.
3. Outside of business hours – This option activates the away message during your business’ off-hours (based on the timings you provided under “Business profile”).
Lastly, under Recipients, you have the option to choose whom you auto-reply to.
The following four options provide all the possibilities for you to pick and choose exactly which recipient gets the auto reply.
Another message that you can customize and send automatically is the greeting message that lets you welcome new customers or re-engage those who’ve been out of touch for over a fortnight. To customize it, tap on Greeting message in ‘Business tools’.
Then toggle On Send greeting message.
Under it, you can tap on the Greeting message…
… and type in your message.
Then tap on Recipients to choose who gets auto-replied to with a greeting message.
Here, too, you’ll get the same options as in ‘Away Messages’.
Third-Party apps to auto-reply on WhatsApp
So far, we’ve only looked at using the auto-reply feature on WhatsApp Business, mainly because the main WhatsApp app (the one that most of us have) doesn’t have an auto-reply feature. However, there are a few noteworthy third-party apps that let you customize auto-replies for your personal use on WhatsApp. Here they are:
AutoResponder for WhatsApp
This is one of the most popular auto-replying app for WhatsApp. Though a whole lot of its features can only be unlocked with a Pro account, the basic ones get the job done for the most part.
Download: AutoResponder for WhatsApp
Open AutoResponder for WhatsApp and tap on the ‘+‘ icon at the bottom right corner to create a rule.
Rules work on the “if this, then that” principle and help to customize exactly to whom and when your auto-replies go through.
On the Rule screen, under “Received message”, type in the message that will activate autoresponder.
The incoming message can either be an Exact match to what you specified or a Similarity match. More sophisticated pattern matching options are only available for PRO users.
Under the “Reply messsage”, type in the message you want to send automatically.
You can also choose specific contacts to send the autorespond to, or contacts that you’d rather not respond to this way.
Once created, the rule can be paused under the Pause rule for… option for a period of time.
Even without the Pro features, AutoResponder for WhatsApp is one of the best auto-replying apps for WhatsApp.
Watomatic – Auto Reply for WhatsApp & Facebook
Watomatic has a clean and minimalist design and works as autoresponder app for WhatsApp as well as Facebook. But as we’re only concerned with WhatsApp for now, let’s take a look at how to set it up to auto respond to your WhatsApp contacts.
Once downloaded, open the app and toggle on Auto reply and be sure to uncheck Facebook Messenger (if you don’t want to auto reply on Facebook).
Then tap on Auto-reply text to curate an automated reply.
Here, type in the message that you want and hit Save.
Whoever texts you on WhatsApp will receive this message, regardless of who they are or what the message is. Although the lack of flexibility in the auto reply options is a clear disadvantage, it works just fine if your goal is to let others know where else they can contact you.
WhatsAuto – Reply App
The last auto-responding app that you should know about is WhatsAuto. This is a surprisingly efficient autoresponder with a UI that easily lets you access the different customizable options.
Once installed, under the “Home” tab, simply turn on Auto reply.
Then tap on Auto reply text to customize your message.
Here, type in your message. You can also choose from “Reply Tags” to make it seem as though you’re specifically addressing your contact. This will personalize the message just a mite and give it an authentic sound.
Then tap on the tick-mark at the top right corner to confirm.
Under the “Contacts” tab, you will get a screen that is similar to what WhatsApp Business users get when choosing the recipients that get auto replied to.
And that’s about it. Since auto-replying is available only on WhatsApp Business officially, third-party apps do the trick if you’re using WhatsApp as your personal messenger service.
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