Flow Builder allows you to create custom conversation bots for your messaging channels, giving your customers the opportunity to self-serve their support issues before connecting with agents.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to Flow Builder and how it’s used. For information about getting started with bots, see Enhancing messaging with a bot.
This article includes the following topics:
- About Flow Builder
- Creating a new flow for a bot
- Editing an existing bot
- Inserting steps into a bot flow
- Deleting steps and flows
- Publishing bot updates
The following video provides an overview of conversation flows and how they work:
How conversation flows work (1:43)
About Flow Builder
Flow Builder is the tool you use to create each bot’s flow, which controls how it behaves in response to customer input.
There are four components on the Flow Builder page. Each plays an important role in building your bot's conversation flow:
- Flow, your conversation represented in a decision tree format, as a series of connected steps representing the interaction the bot can have with a customer. You can select a step to configure the bot's responses, and add steps to the conversation. The navigation controls at the bottom of the flow allow you to zoom in and out of the flow, or pan to areas in the flow, and you can pinch to zoom using a touchpad or touch screen.
- Configuration panel, where you customize each step in your flow. This panel appears on the side of the screen when you select a step in the flow, or add a new step to a flow. You can select the type of step you want to add to your flow, add and edit automated messages, and build lists of options for your customers to choose from. If you do not see the Configuration panel, click the Preview button in the footer.
- Previewer, for previewing the customer experience created by your flow, before releasing it to your customers. Click the Preview tab in the Configuration panel to view.
- Footer, which appears at the bottom of the screen, under the Flow. On the footer, you'll find a link to bot settings, the Preview and Publish buttons, and the publishing location (Web Widget or mobile SDK) and status (draft or live) of the current flow.
There are five types of steps you can add to your bot in Flow Builder:
- Send message, which displays a piece of text to the customer during a conversation.
- Present options, where the Answer Bot displays up to six preconfigured quick replies that the customer can interact with during a conversation.
- Show help center articles, where Answer Bot presents up to six help center articles to the customer during a conversation.
- Transfer to agent, which escalates the conversation to an agent. Implemented in a Web Widget, Answer Bot can also capture information from the customer through ticket fields.
- Add a business hours condition, which allows you to use your schedule to branch the conversation and respond differently based on whether you are open or closed.
For detailed information on these step types, including its usage and configuration rules, visual examples of the steps in Flow Builder, and how each appears to your customers in a Web Widget, see Understanding flow step types.
Creating a new flow for a bot
Every bot comes with a simple, out-of-the-box bot that includes a customer greeting and transfers them to an agent. While this bot is fully-functional, you may want to delete it and create a new one from the ground up. You can also edit some steps or insert new message steps into the existing bot flow to better meet your needs.
The following video shows the steps involved in building a conversation flow:
To create a new flow for a bot
- In Admin Center, click the Channels icon () in the sidebar, then select Bots and automations > Bots.
- Open the bot you want to update in Flow Builder
- For accounts started after November 2, 2021, click the bot you want to open.
- For older accounts, click Edit flow.
- Delete the current flow.
- In the Flow, click Add the first step.
- In the Configuration panel, use the Select action drop-down to choose the type of step you want to begin the flow and configure the step as needed
- Add the next step by clicking the Add a step icon (), then follow the instructions in step 5, above.
- Repeat until you've added all of the required steps, then click Publish in the footer.
As you are building your flow, don't forget to use the Previewer to test how the conversation will be seen by your end users.
Editing an existing bot
You can edit an existing bot in the following ways:
Editing a flow step in the bot
You can change your flow by editing the configuration details of an existing step. You cannot edit a step's type.
To edit a step in a flow
- Open the bot in Flow Builder.
- Click the step you want to edit. Its details appear in the Configuration panel.
- Edit the elements you want to change:
- Displayed message (all step types): Update the text in the Bot message box.
- Options (Present options step): Update the options in the text box. To delete an option, click the trash can icon. To add an option, click Add an option. To reorder options, click the grip icon to drag-and-drop them into position.
- Suggested articles (Show help center articles step): To delete a suggested article, click … and select Delete. Use the Select article search box to add additional articles.
- Information collecting fields (Handoff steps): To delete a field, click … and select Delete. Use the Fields drop-down to add additional custom fields (text or drop-down field types only).
- Business hours schedule: Click the flow branching icon () to select a new business hours schedule, if available.
- Click Publish when you've finished making your changes.
Copying and pasting steps into the bot flow
You can copy a step, or a step and its subsequent steps, and use it elsewhere in the same bot flow.
To copy a step (or multiple steps) and paste it elsewhere in a bot flow
- Click the step you want to copy.
- At the top of the step details in the Configuration panel, click the Options icon () to open the Options menu:
- Select your option:
- Select Copy this step to copy only the selected step
- Select Copy this and following steps to copy the selected step and all subsequent steps
- Click the Add new icon () at the end of the branch, or the Add a step icon () after an options step.
- Click the Options icon () again, and select Paste step:
The step is added to the bot flow.
- Continue editing the flow as needed, and click Publish when your edits are complete.
Inserting steps into a bot flow
In addition to copying and pasting steps into a bot flow, you can also insert the following step types into a flow, between two existing steps:
- Send message
- Present options
- Show Help Center articles
- Add business hours condition
It's important to note that when you add a branching step, such as a Present options or Add business hours conditions step, the subsequent, pre-existing steps will be included under the new step's initial branch.
- Present options: Existing steps are included under Option 1.
- Add business hours conditions: Existing steps are included under the When open branch.
The Transfer to agent step type cannot be added to a flow before another step. It can only be included as the final step in a flow.
To add a step into a bot flow
- Hover over the line between two steps and click the Add new icon () .
- In the Configuration panel, select the message type you want to insert into the flow, and configure the step as needed.
- Repeat as needed, then Publish your updated flow.
Deleting steps and flows
To delete a step in a flow
- Click the step you want to delete. It opens in the Configuration panel.
- At the top of the Configuration panel, click the Options icon ().
- Select Delete this step. If there are subsequent steps, click Delete steps in the warning box.
- Click Publish when you've finished making your changes.
To delete the entire bot flow, delete the initial flow step, and click Delete steps in the warning box.
Publishing bot updates
Any of the bot changes must be published before they appear in your messaging channel.
To publish a bot update
- Create or update your bot flow in Flow Builder.
- In the Flow Builder footer, click Publish. This makes the changes live in your messaging channels, and updates the publishing information in the footer.
For more information about publishing and how it impacts existing bots, see Publishing a bot to a channel.