Recently, Zendesk updated the messaging bot-building experience. With this update, you no longer have to maintain a single, long and complex flow for a bot. Instead, you can create separate, standalone answers the bot can use to address individual customer problems. When a customer requests assistance, the bot goes to work by matching and delivering relevant answers to customer questions before an agent gets involved.
The new experience allows you to:
- Easily manage complex bots by creating separate flows that address individual customer problems
- Train your bot to ensure it matches customer questions to the right answer, every time
- Have more control over how you greet your customers by quickly making changes or highlighting seasonal topics
You can continue to use your previously-built flows, without any additional action on your part. If you choose to use these new capabilities, they will give you more flexibility when building a bot, making it easier to automate answers for your customers’ questions.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the changes in the bot building interface and process, as well as how bot flows predating the update will be (minimally) impacted, to help you decide whether you're ready to move to the new experience. It includes the following sections:
For more information on using the new bot-building process, see Building a bot using answers.
The updated bot edit page
Answers are created and managed on the updated bot edit page in Admin Center.
Here, you’ll see the following:
- The Answers tab is where you’ll see all the answers you’ve created for a bot. From here you can add new answers, open answers in Flow Builder for editing, and deactivate or delete an answer from the bot.
- The Standard responses tab is where you configure the initial greeting that customers see when they start a conversation. We’ll talk a bit more about this in Creating greetings, below.
Training your bot
You can teach the bot how to interpret questions asked by the customer during the messaging conversation, so they can match and deliver the most relevant answer for a particular question.
When you create or open an answer in Flow Builder, you'll see the Configuration panel, as usual, which contains two sections:
- Intent, a short description of the answer.
- Other ways to ask, different ways the customer may phrase the question.
Here, you can add up to 100 variations of the question a customer might ask that should result in that answer being offered by the bot. For example, if your answer provides information about getting a refund, alternate questions might include:
- Getting my money back
- Returning items
- Wrong order delivered
…and so on.
You don’t need to add every possible spelling or phrasing of a question, however. The bot learns from each variation, and applies that knowledge to identify similar questions.
The Standard responses tab, as described above, is where you’ll be able to view and design the initial bot flow that greets your customers when they begin a messaging conversation. By default, this greeting flow includes a simple message, to which you can add up to six of your pre-configured answers as options the customer can choose from. It’s the new out-of-the-box flow.
There’s also the option to disable the default greeting message and kick off the conversation by displaying a specific answer.
Again, if you have a working bot that predates the changes, your bot flow design will remain unchanged. Any initial greeting you have configured will be included as part of the answer we create from your existing flow.
These improvements are designed to give you more flexibility when building your bot. Existing users will see the UI changes described in this article, but bot behavior will be minimally impacted. Your bots will still be functional, with no action required on your part.
The new experience also includes changes in how you perform certain tasks, and available functionality.
Conversational Shortcuts will direct the end user to an answer if there is a match. It will no longer jump to another node within the flow.
To help improve the match rate, you can add phrases for the bot to recognise and match to the answer.
Feedback flow (Ask ‘Was this helpful?’)
The feedback flow is now configurable. You can create a new feedback step by adding an Ask if question resolved step type.
Start Over changes
As part of feedback flow changes, the automated "Start over" option is no longer available. If you want to keep this functionality and are not using a greeting message, you can guide end users to navigate to the start by typing in a key phrase.
- Add training phrases for the default flow, such as “I want to start again”. This will allow end users to navigate back to the start by typing in the phrase. You can add multiple phrases.
- Wrap up the end of each branch with a bot message to help end users understand they can start over by typing in a key phrase, for instance “If you want to Start Over let me know."
Publishing a flow
How you publish a flow has changed as well.
- After you edit a flow (now called an answer) in Flow Builder, click Done on the flow canvas. You’ll be taken back to the The updated bot edit page.
- Click Publish.
"If you want to keep this functionality and are not using a greeting message, you can guide end users to navigate to the start by typing in a key phrase."
I am using a greeting message - how do I get the greeting message to trigger again?
With this new experience, if you are using the ootb greetings, we encourage end-users to just ask their question and the bot can find the answer. They no longer need to keep navigating through the entire flow to search for the answer.
very good, it is becoming more and more robust, when we can use step (options) as input parameter for triggers, it will be perfect
This is really great, very welcome changes! I'm sure there are a bunch of things in the works and that it takes plenty of time to roll out such updates on such a massive scale but it would be nice to see some additions be made to the "Choose Step" menu when creating answers and/or step options/fields to make them a bit more robust.
Edit - I guess on this note it would definitely be pretty cool if we were to be able to somehow display media to an end-user via the bot (that's not doable currently is it or am I missing something?)... but I suppose articles already kind of do this in a way. I guess the imagination can really run wild when considering all of the different things that could be done when staring at that answer-builder canvas and the steps menu for a couple hours 😄
We love to hear ideas from our customers, and while you're right it takes time to roll out changes, and there's a lot that goes into the decisions about where to spend our development resources, it'd be great to hear more specifics about what you'd like to see. For the best visibility to our product team, can you post to our.Feedback - Chat and Messaging (Chat) community topic, using this template for format your input? Thanks!
I agree with you all that these changes are very splendid!
I also agree with JP and Andrey on the next request.
I would strongly prefer that the individual flows be displayed not only by keyword, but also by the user selecting an option.
If the Flow builder could offer a new "Connect to another Answer" option in the "Choose step" to connect to an existing Answer,
it would dramatically increase flexibility and improve data management and maintainability.
Is there a way currently (except making api calls to the zendesk instance - but theres no documentation about how to do it) to store data on the ticket based on the starting answer?
It is frustrating that Zendesk removed the Start Over feature from the bottom at the beginning of this month and isn't adding it back until later this month. My team has been incredibly busy this month so we didn't even notice the removal and we didn't have time to replace the bottom of the flow options even after customers were getting stuck at the bottom of the flows.
This removal of an existing feature caused a very poor customer experience for many. In the future for things like this, I'd prefer to wait for the new features until you're able to keep the existing features and so it doesn't break the flowbuilder needing immediate attention.
hi, I found a problem and need your help
when i use a BOT's choose step that "Show Help Center articles"
and i find the language not the preset one
after check it , we guess it cause the system are useing the first language we useing in the help center
we test few articles which preset lauguage are not same and getting the same language
its really make us feel depressed
can you help us checking this logic or not?
(all the articles that 『Show Help Center articles』are first language and can't change it )
For the message it is 4095 characters. While for the option, it is 60 characters.
Hope this helps!
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