In this article, we’ll give you an overview of Answer Bot’s expanded functionality when messaging is enabled on your account. You’ll be introduced to the new Answer Bot features, learn about the out-of-the-box Answer Bot functionality available to you, and understand how your end users experience the Answer Bot interaction through Web Widget and mobile SDKs.
This article includes the following topics:
For more information creating conversation flows, see About Flow Builder and Using Flow Builder to automate customer conversations.
Customizing Answer Bot conversation flows
You can build Answer bot customer interaction flows using Flow Builder. Flow Builder is activated automatically, on every active brand, if Zendesk messaging is enabled.
Through Flow Builder, you can add the following steps to your automated conversations:
- Write a message: Displays a piece of text to the end user during a conversation. It can be a welcome message, useful information about your business, or a response to a commonly-asked question.
- Transfer to agent: Escalates the conversation to an agent. The bot can also capture information from the end user through ticket fields.
- Suggest articles: The bot presents up to six help center articles to the end user during a conversation.
- Create options: Displays up to six preconfigured quick replies that the end user can interact with during a conversation.
- Add a business hours condition: The bot responds differently whether you are open or closed, according to your Support schedule.
This flow is not static, however. Depending on user actions, a number of default, automated Answer Bot behaviors may be activated at any point in the conversation, including feedback prompts and useful responses to customers’ free-text entries. See The end user experience for more information.
You can configure your flows to appear in a specific language, or to be automatically translated, depending on the needs of your customer base. See Managing languages in Flow Builder for more information.
For details on working with Flow Builder, see Using Flow Builder to automate conversations.
The out-of-the-box experience
Flow Builder comes with a simple, working flow for every active brand, so you can begin using Answer Bot through Web Widget and mobile SDKs without making any updates.
In Flow Builder, the out-of-the-box flow looks like this:
By default, this out-of-the-box flow appears in your account's default Support language, if that language is supported in Answer Bot; otherwise, it appears in English. You can also customize the language it appears in by selecting a flow language.
Default flow for end users
The default flow pictured above translates to an automated conversation in any enabled Web Widget. For instance, when a customer opens the Web Widget, they’ll see the following:
Here, the customer can select Talk to a human, which triggers the following response, as well as creating a ticket including the conversation history.
Customers are not confined to the automated conversation flow as designed in Flow Builder. There are additional interactions in a conversation between Answer Bot and the customer, as described below in The end user experience.
The end user experience
In this section, we’ll describe and illustrate each element end users may experience during conversations with Answer Bot.
It includes the following topics:
Quick reply options
In conversations, you can offer preconfigured replies that the end user can select from, rather than typing in a response. These options can be used to represent common responses to questions, branch the conversation, or as a way for your end users to navigate through a conversation flow.
In the example below, a customer is contacting a scooter sales and rental company. Because the company knows that most customers want information on buying, selling, or renting a scooter, after the initial greeting they immediately offer three options:
Quick reply options are configured in the Flow Builder.
Note that as a result of conversational shortcuts, typing the message “I want to buy a scooter” in the example above will have the same effect as clicking the quick reply.
Automated direct replies
Automated direct replies are predefined responses to end user free-text messages and quick reply option selection. In the example below, the customer entered “Receiving error ‘unsupported platform’.” which triggered the automated reply following it.
These replies can be added as message steps in the Flow Builder.
Article recommendations through Flow Builder
In addition to the original Answer Bot article suggestion functionality, with Flow Builder you can add an article step to your flow, which allows you to recommend up to six targeted articles at any point in the flow based on customer responses to options. In the image below, the customer selected a quick reply option, "I want to buy a scooter", and received a specific article recommendation in response:
There may come a time in a conversation when a live agent must be brought in. In the example here, a customer has chosen a quick reply option that indicates they need assistance with upgrading their plan, which requires agent involvement:
This step is configured in Flow Builder, and allows you to request information from the customer (in this case, username and name), and send a customized final message. As part of this step – unseen by the customer – a ticket is created, which includes their conversation history to help the agent address the issue.
Business hours conditional flows
You can configure the bot to respond differently to your customers whether your business is open or closed. This can be helpful to clearly set expectations around business availability and time to reply. When a business hours condition step is added in Flow Builder, it splits the path the bot follows when sending messages to customers. The bot will check if your business is open or closed based on your Support schedule settings and take the appropriate path, continuing the conversation according to your configuration.
In the example below, the agent transfer step is configured differently when open and closed to explain what will happen next in each context.
|End user experience during business hours
|End user experience outside of business hours
Answer Bot automatically prompts for feedback after it has attempted to provide an answer, such as with an article suggestion or a direct reply.
The feedback flow is automatically enabled and cannot be customized. It is, however, displayed in your selected flow language.
After an article has been suggested, the end user receives the following prompt:
If the end user selects Yes, problem solved, they are shown an automated acknowledgement, and given the option to start the conversation over. If the user selects Start over, the conversation flow starts over from the initial step:
If the end user instead selects No, I still need help, they are shown a different automated acknowledgement and given the option to start the conversation over:
Conversational shortcuts and article suggestions
Answer Bot uses AI to assess any free-text message entered into the conversation by a customer and automatically jump to the relevant part of a flow or to an agent escalation. Or, if there isn’t a related response in the existing flow, it will automatically suggest articles from your help center that may address the question.
In the following example, Answer Bot offers three options to a customer: I want to buy a scooter, I want to sell a scooter, and I want to rent a scooter. The customer instead wants to track an order they’ve already placed, and enters "track my order" rather than choosing one of the options:
Because the customer entered text that isn’t matched in the flow, Answer Bot offers help center articles as possible solutions. The customer can view the suggested article(s), and when asked through the feedback flow, indicate whether they self-solved their question or still need assistance:
For information on how Answer Bot selects articles to suggest, see Optimizing your articles for Answer Bot.
If there are no relevant articles, Answer Bot sends a message offering alternative options to continue the conversation:
These automated messages appear in your selected flow language.