How To Set Up Auto-Reply For WhatsApp (+ Message Samples)

No need to worry when you are away or out of the office. In this article, we share more about WhatsApp’s auto-reply feature and simple steps to set it up!
Angga Fernandi
Angga Fernandi

Customer Success Executive

Reading time: 5 minutes

Having more than 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is an extremely popular messaging platform. Due to its immense popularity, many companies capitalize on WhatsApp Business to engage with customers and market their business

With the WhatsApp Business app, businesses can enjoy several marketing tools such as broadcast messaging, template messaging, and WhatsApp automation.

However, among all the amazing features offered, many aren’t aware of the WhatsApp auto-reply feature or how to use it properly. 

In this article, we’ll discuss two ways you can set it up and share some message samples that you can just copy and paste. Continue reading to learn more! 

Get your WhatsApp messages across faster 👋

Start your 7-day free trial now to start broadcasting messages to your customers on WhatsApp — completely free of charge.


What is the WhatsApp auto-reply feature?

As its name implies, the WhatsApp auto-reply feature allows you to set automatic responses when you’re not online. This feature is designed for businesses that have fixed working hours (i.e. 9 AM – 5 PM) to allow them to still respond to customers outside of these timings.

With this feature, you can set up an ‘away’ or ‘greeting’ message for every customer that reaches out to you during certain periods and conditions. 

An example of the WhatsApp auto-reply feature
An example of the WhatsApp auto-reply feature

The auto-reply feature is currently only available on the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API. It won’t work for the regular WhatsApp app that we all have.

Setting up auto-reply on WhatsApp Business

Besides showcasing products through catalogs and setting up business profiles on WhatsApp Business, businesses are able to set up an auto-reply to notify customers when they reach out outside working hours. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating WhatsApp business auto-replies:

Step 1 - Navigate to Business Tools

Go to your WhatsApp Business app and click the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.

Next, click ‘Settings’ and tap on ‘Business Tools’ and you’ll be brought to the page where you can do the setting for auto-reply. It’s under the ‘Messaging Tools’ section.

Step 2 - Choose and edit the Auto-reply Message

Basically, there are two options for WhatsApp Business auto-reply.

Automated Away Messages

This option lets you send a message to customers when your business or shop is closed. The purpose is to inform them that you’ve received their messages and will get back to them within office hours. 

To set it up, tap on the ‘Away Message’ and switch on the toggle button. Then, click the pencil icon to create your own ‘Away Message’ to send to customers. Once you’re done, do not forget to tap the ‘OK’ button. 

An example of an automated WhatsApp away message
An example of an automated WhatsApp away message

Automated Greeting Message

This type of auto-reply sends welcome messages to new incoming chats or engage in conversations that have been inactive for more than 2 weeks. 

To set it up, tap on the ‘Greeting Message’ and turn on the toggle. Next, tap the pencil icon to customize the welcoming message and hit ‘OK’ to save the changes.

An example of an automated WhatsApp Greeting Message
An example of an automated WhatsApp Greeting Message

Step 3 - Schedule Away Message

This setting is only for the Away Message auto-reply. You can choose one of the options regarding your Away Message’s schedule:

Always Send: Your customers will get the auto-reply message regularly until you are back online. You can choose this option if you will be away for quite a long time i.e. on a vacation or on sick leave.  

Custom Schedule: An Away Message will be triggered when customers contact you within a specific timeframe. You can specify the time for the message to send i.e. when you’re having lunch or in a meeting. 

Outside of business hours: This schedule means that an auto-reply will be sent outside of working hours. 

Step 4 - Select your recipients

After setting up your Away and Greeting Messages, the final step is to determine the recipients of your auto-replies. 

There are four options:

Everyone: This option will send Away Messages to every single person who texts your business after office hours. 

Everyone not in the address book: This option applies to customers that are not yet included in your contact list. 

Everyone except: Choose this option to exclude some people to get the auto-reply. 

Only send to: Choose this option to send a message to particular contacts.

Do keep in mind that the auto-reply feature in the WhatsApp Business app will only work with an internet connection. Therefore, it won’t be possible to send any automated messages if your mobile phone is offline. 

Setting up auto-reply using WhatsApp Business API

While WhatsApp Business allows you to create standard messages for auto-reply, WhatsApp Business API offers more advanced features such as automated responses via chatbots.

With a chatbot, you can set up more specific auto-replies like FAQs, pricing, and other customer support-related solutions regardless of the customer’s time zone. That way, customers will receive a real-time response. 

Let’s take a look at how you can set up auto-reply using WhatsApp Business API.

Step 1 - Facebook Business Manager registration

The initial step you should do is to register your business on Facebook Business Manager. Some required documents to prepare include your business profile, business email, website, business permit license, or Taxpayer Identification Number. 

Step 2 - Getting access to WhatsApp API

There are two ways to get access. 

The first method is easier and quicker, though the pricing of WhatsApp API can be costly. You would have to go through a third-party intermediary, known as a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP), to get an API account. 

Your chosen BSP will do the tough work of registering your number, so all you have to do is sign up to any of their plans that suit your needs. This entire process can be done within 4 weeks.

The second method, which we don’t recommend, would be for you to request access to WhatsApp through an application form. However, submitting a self-request will take more time and it can take approximately 6 months.

Step 3 - Number activation

Once you have access to WhatsApp API, all you need to do is activate the number that you’ll be using for business purposes. Then, complete your business profile by including your business details, product catalog, and business hours. 

The rest of the things will be done by your BSP, such as getting a WhatsApp Business green tick and integrating with other apps like CRM, email marketing apps, and more.

Step 4 - Start setting up your auto-replies and templates

The final step will be creating your own auto-replies with your WhatsApp BSP. Depending on which BSP you go for, they might offer pre-built message templates that you can just copy and paste, or you can create templates that have to be approved by WhatsApp (your provider should help with this as well).

You can also build your own chatbot, autoresponder, and other various workflows that your BSP offers. 

Limitations of using WhatsApp’s auto-reply feature


WhatsApp Business is built for SMEs who have a moderate volume of messages to engage and communicate with customers. 

However, do remember that the auto-reply feature is only limited to 2 types — Away and Greeting messages. This limits the types of automated messages you can send, such as more specific use cases like customer support or promotional material.  

Furthermore, you can’t fully automate support and communication through WhatsApp Business. 


Only one person with your business phone can have access to the WhatsApp platform. This means that at any one time, only one rep can answer incoming chats, set up an auto-reply, or make changes. Furthermore, you need an internet connection to make it work. 

This can be a problem if you have many employees working in different locations. 


When using the auto-reply feature on the WhatsApp Business app, you can only use very specific templates that are not customizable. This can be a hassle if you have many different scenarios where you need to use the auto-reply feature.

Third-party apps

WhatsApp Business has no API interface and integration to third-party apps or CRM systems. You should use it via the native app to leverage and activate the auto-reply feature. Hence, customer engagement solely occurs via phone. 

Auto-reply message samples

Now that you’re familiar with how to set up a WhatsApp auto-reply, it’s time to get down to crafting your message content!

Luckily for you, we’ve crafted some that you can just copy and paste! 👇

For out-of-office replies

Use this message template for out-of-office auto-replies


Hey there! Thanks for your message. We are currently out of office and will respond to you within 24 hours. In the meantime, kindly head to our Help Centre for possible solutions. Have a nice day!

Use this message template for out-of-office auto-replies


Good evening {contact name}. You reached {Business/Office name} support. We’re unavailable right now, but we’ll get back to you in the next couple hours. Meanwhile, you can check our knowledge base for help articles here. {inserted link}

Use this message template for out-of-office auto-replies


Hello there! We’re sorry that we could not respond to your message right now. Our business hours are from {time} to {time}. We will get back to you tomorrow! Meanwhile, please visit our Help Centre to find the related guide articles and FAQs here: {insert link}

For general replies

Use this message template for general auto-replies


Hey {contact name}. Thanks for getting in touch with us! We’re a bit busy right now and we’ll get back to you shortly. Feel free to check out our FAQ and Knowledge Base for possible answers regarding your inquiries.

For urgent matters, kindly contact our support/sales/product team via {email address} or {phone number}.

Thank you!

Use this message template for general auto-replies


Hi there! We’re unavailable to respond to your inquiries at the moment. Kindly fill in the form below about your inquiries and our team will reach out to you in 24 hours. Thank you!

{link to the form}

Use this message template for general auto-replies


Hi {contact name}! Welcome to {business name} support.

I am {name} from {which department}

How can I help you today?

For holiday replies

Use this message template for holiday auto-replies


Hi {contact name}. Thank you for reaching out to us. We are currently out of office due to {Public Holiday’s Name}. We’ll get back to you in (number of days/hours). We hope you have a great holiday!

Use this message template for holiday auto-replies


Hello {contact name}. Thanks for reaching {office/business name}. Our office is closed till {specified date} to celebrate {PH name}, please visit our FAQ and Help Centre for the time being. We will get back to you soon to provide a possible workaround.

Use this message template for holiday auto-replies


Hi {contact name}. Welcome to {business name} and Happy Easter!/ Eid Mubarak!/ Merry Christmas! We have received your message and will be in touch on (specified date). Have a nice holiday! 

For on leave replies

Use this message template for on-leave auto-replies


Hello {contact name}. Thanks for your message. I will be out of office on vacation from {date} till {date}. Please reach out to {email address/phone number} if you need immediate assistance. Thank you!

Use this message template for on-leave auto-replies


Hey there! I am currently on leave until {date of return} so I am not able to respond to your message. Please contact {Name – Email} for urgent matters. Thank you.

Use this message template for on-leave auto-replies


Hi. Thank you for your message. I am currently unavailable to provide the fastest response as I am attending a conference in {location} from {date} until {date}. You can still drop me a message regarding inquiries or issues. I would love to help during my free time.

For support/ticket replies

Use this message template for support auto-replies


Thanks for contacting {Business name}. We’re sorry that our response might be delayed due to a lot of messages coming in. Rest assured we will be responding to your message within 48 hours. Meanwhile, please visit our FAQ to get relevant answers.

Use this message template for support auto-replies


Hello there! Thank you for reaching out to the {Business name} support team. We’ve received your message, but we will respond to you within 1 hour. Could you please provide us with the details so we could serve you better? Thanks!

Use this message template for support auto-replies


Hi there! Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. Due to the server issues, our platform might not be working properly. We’ll update you once it’s fixed.

Feel free to write to us if you have another question, we would be happy to help. 

Warm regards, 

{Business name} Team.

Sending WhatsApp auto-replies with NovoChat

We hope that this article has helped you with setting up your WhatsApp auto reply. Using this feature can help businesses maintain a good relationship with customers as you can reply quickly and help them manage expectations.

For a more seamless chat support experience with WhatsApp campaigns and auto-replies, NovoChat’s automation and broadcasting capabilities can help you with that!

NovoChat is a flexible chat marketing platform for e-commerce businesses that allows you to integrate into your own WhatsApp number. Its shared team inbox also allows you to onboard multiple reps to monitor and manage all conversations. 

To learn more about what NovoChat can do for you, sign up for a free trial today! 

Try NovoChat for free! 🚀

An e-commerce chat marketing platform to grow your sales. 

© Novochat

Are you really leaving all these resources behind? 🤔

100+ copy-and-paste message templates for multiple industries and use cases. All these can be yours in a single click.

Drive more sales with chat marketing.

Market your business on WhatsApp with NovoChat.