What's New: Apply for the Chatbot Beta!
With our last release, we've added chatbot features to Unified Messaging.
These features are currently still in beta and are available from the Business plan onwards. To join the beta phase, apply here .
Compared to our old chatbot API for the live chat product, our new chatbot features offer two main benefits:
- Improved options. As you’ll read below, our new chatbot features offer a few modern messaging options that weren't possible with our old product.
- Chatbots across channels. Our older chatbot options were limited to website chat. With Unified Messaging, your chatbots can work across channels: your Website Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and even SMS.
Let's get a bird's-eye view of the new chatbot features.
1Two ways to use a chatbot in Userlike
You have two options for setting up your chatbots: through the Logic Chatbot or through the Chatbot API. Both require developer experience.
The Logic Chatbot
This is your option if you don’t have a chatbot yet and want to build one from scratch. The Logic Chatbot is based on the Userlike Bot Language (UBL). UBL allows you to do this by writing bot scripts that can be used in your Widget and channels using a simple, minimal syntax.
Find the tutorial here.
This is your option if you already have a chatbot (infrastructure).
The chatbot API allows you to connect an existing chatbot via an HTTP API to Userlike. The Chatbot API offers the potential of creating a highly advanced chatbot. It would even be possible to connect IBM's Watson with it, for example.
Find the tutorial here .
2Bot behavior modes
For both the Logic Chatbot and the Chatbot API, there are four different behavior modes that you can configure your chatbot in. These modes decide in which situations your contacts will be connected to the chatbot, or whether your human operators are the preferred choice.
- Service Time. The bot is online only outside of the service time defined on the Widget. During service time, all chats go to your human operators.
- Failover. The bot is always online but only takes chats when no other operators are available.
- Human. The bot is always online and takes chats exactly like a normal human operator.
- Firewall. The bot is always online and takes all chats (e.g. to pre-categorize and forward them).
3Ways of interacting
There are roughly two modes in which a chatbot and a human can interact: multiple-choice options and/or through free-flowing text. A good chatbot can work in both ways.
Multiple-choice options offer guidance to the customer and can cover a large part of customer requests. But they cannot cover all, which is why it should still be possible for the customer to interact with a chatbot on a free-flowing text basis.
Here are the ways of interacting you can define with our chatbot options:
- Messages. You can define regular chat messages to send to the customer when they open the chat.
- Text. With both the Logic Bot and the Chatbot API, your customer can send your chatbot regular text messages. With the Logic Bot, this is mostly useful for collecting information points like an email address, order number, etc. Basic input validation is possible to, say, check whether the entered email address is valid (pre-defined formats or RegExp). It’s also possible to connect the Logic Bot to an external API to, for example, request the status of a tracking ID that was entered (“When will my order arrive?”). With the Chatbot API, you can also connect more advanced chatbots that deploy Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI technologies to chat with a customer.
- Bubbles. These are simple multiple-choice options that you can define for your chatbot to send to your customers. When your customer selects an option, the chatbot can either produce an answer or take an action, such as forwarding to a specific operator group. For channels that don't support displaying bubbles, you can define a text fallback to be displayed instead.
- Carousel. Like the bubble input node, this mode allows you to present a variety of choices that can be clicked by the contact. But instead of only presenting bubbles that can be clicked, the carousel node allows you to add an image and to add a headline and description to each option. This is powerful for offering the contact with a selection of items, for example in an online store.
Get in touch
This should have given you a rough idea of what you can do with our new chatbot features.
These are our first chatbot steps with Unified Messaging, and we realize that currently it's only limited to those with developer experience. However, the modes we offer in beta today do offer much more flexibility to tailor your chatbot to your specific business needs than any out-of-the-box solution ever could.
If you’re on the Business or any higher plan and you’re interested in joining the Chatbot beta testing group, get in touch with us through this form . We're looking forward to hearing from you!