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 UI 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.