Custom Bots work all day every day – they proactively start conversations, ask the right questions, provide clear paths and deliver qualified leads. 

You can design your bot in minutes. Just create simple paths for your leads to follow. Then, let your bot take care of the next steps, like assigning leads to the right teams, adding leads to your CRM, and more. 

Unlike other bots, you can also send apps to encourage leads to take follow-up actions , like booking a meeting, requesting a demo, subscribing to your newsletter and more.

Awesome, how can I get started?  

Watch this video to see how to create a custom bot, or read the text below 👇 

To start creating your first bot, go to: Operator > Custom Bots > New Custom Bot. 

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Tip: You can target visitors, leads, users or a combination of all three with Custom Bots.

To create, edit and set Custom Bots live you must have permission to send messages to more than one person at a time.

Engage potential leads on your site 

The welcome path (path A) is the first message your visitors will get. This is a multiple choice question your visitors can respond to. For example, if you’re creating a sales bot to help you qualify your leads, you could ask something like this: 

Pro tip: For more space and less distraction, click here to build your bot in full screen mode:  

Next, add the reply buttons your visitors can choose from. 

Note: Once a visitor interacts with your bot, they’ll become a lead

Personalize paths, based on who your leads are and what they need

Now, you can direct leads down different paths, based on their replies. A path is a set of customizable questions and replies that help you understand who a lead is, and what they’re looking for.

Just click, ‘Choose a path’, then ‘Add path’ beside each reply button. 

Then, give each path a clear, descriptive name, so it’s easy to identify. 

Pro Tip: To jump quickly to your next path, click this arrow on the right: 

Qualify leads, so you can follow up with them in personalized ways

Next, set up your new paths. 

You can collect important information from your leads to help you qualify them quicker, and get to know them better. 

For example, you should qualify leads who want to ‘chat to sales’, so you can route different types of leads to the right sales teams, and guide each lead toward the perfect next step. 

Just add a bot message, then choose the data field you’d like to collect, like their company name:

Pro tip: Your lead’s attention will fade quickly. So, only ask for a maximum of 5 details. 

You can also ask for your leads’ company size, email address, or whatever works for your own business. 

Note: You can choose from any of the data you’ve defined in your Qualification settings. 

Branch people to the next path based on their replies 

It’s easy to direct people down different paths based on their replies. Just select ‘end path with reply buttons’, then add your question and replies. 

For example, if a lead wants to chat to support, you can ask them if they’re already a customer. This will help you separate your leads from your customers, to help you further accelerate your sales cycle 🙌 

Then, you can create new paths for each of these replies. 

Save customer replies as data attributes

When leads or users choose a reply button, you can store their choice as a data attribute, so it's always available to your team. Just check the box "Save reply values to data attribute", and select the right attribute:

If you don't have an attribute for this value already, you can create a new one from the drop down: 

Note: You can only save replies as text attributes.

Let your bot take care of the best next steps for you and your leads 

After each step in a path, you can trigger any of the following actions:

  • Tag the customer.
  • Tag the conversation.
  • Assign the conversation to a specific inbox.
  • Mark it as priority.
  • Let Resolution Bot respond to any follow up questions.

If you have the Salesforce, HubSpot, or Marketo app installed in your Intercom account, you can also:

  • Create a lead in Salesforce.
  • Create a contact in HubSpot.
  • Enrich a lead in Marketo.

Just click "+ Add" below the bot messages, and select from the list of actions:

Then, at the end of each path, you can set follow up actions, based on who your leads are and how valuable they are to your business. There are two ways you can do this: 

Give every lead in a particular path the same follow up actions

For example, if leads indicate that they’re just browsing, you can end the conversation, then send them the MailChimp Subscribe Messenger app, encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter to continue nurturing them. 

And, you can set your bot to automatically close the conversation, so it doesn’t end up in your open conversations list. 

Note: You’ll need Inbox to use follow up actions. 

Give different types of leads different follow up actions

You can also create conditional follow up actions for specific types of leads, depending on who they are, and how valuable they are to your business. 

For example, you can assign high value leads (like, those with over 100 employees) to your VIP sales team, and invite them to book a call with a member of your team. 

Then, you can assign self serve leads (like, those with less than 100 employees) to your regular sales team, create a lead in Salesforce and add the Content Showcase app to invite them to trial your product for free. 

Tip: There are more apps you can choose from, like Article Search and Shopify

Choose where and how often to send your bot

After creating your Custom Bot, you should choose exactly how you'd like it to send to leads or customers.

First, select when to show the bot until:

Choose from:

  • Seen — Show the bot to customers once, then not again, whether or not they interact with or dismiss it.
  • Any interaction happens — Show the bot to customers consistently, until they engage with it (choose a bot path), open the Messenger, or dismiss the notification.
  • Engaged with — Show the bot to customers consistently until they engage with it by selecting a bot path. If they dismiss the bot or open the Messenger, it will be hidden for the remainder of their session. When they start a new session, the bot will be shown again, until they engage with it.

Read this article to learn more about sending Custom Bots more than once.


Next, choose where to show the bot first:

Select from:

  • Web — This is the ideal setting for engaging with visitors on your website. 👌
  • iOS
  • Android

Measure Custom Bots' effectiveness with A/B testing and Control groups

A/B testing

It's simple to A/B test different content or bot paths so you can see which is most effective at engaging with visitors and generating leads on your site.

First, click 'Run a new test', and select 'A/B test':

You'll then see two versions of your Custom Bot, 'Test A' and 'Test B':

Switch between them to make any changes to the bot's paths, content or follow up actions you'd like to test. 👌

Pro tip: It's a good idea to test one change at a time, so you can accurately identify the cause of any difference in results.

Control groups

To test the effectiveness of a bot overall, you can use a control group instead:

A control group will send your Custom Bot to one half of the audience only, so you can gauge the difference that impact it has on encouraging visitors to hit your bot's goal.

Read this article to learn more about A/B testing and Control groups.

Target the right visitors 

You can target your bot to the right audience. To capture quality leads, you’ll want to target your most engaged visitors on your site. Here, your filters could be: 

  • Time on current page is 5 seconds.
  • Total visits is greater than 3.

Note: You can combine 'And' with 'Or' filters for a more targeted audience.

Trigger your bot to send at a time that works for your business  

Once you’ve finished designing your bot, you can choose when you want your bot to trigger. For example:

  • If you have a sales qualification bot, you can trigger it to send during your office hours, when your team are available to reply. 
  • Or, if you have an out of office bot, you can trigger it to send outside of your office hours, so you can generate leads, even when your team are away.  

Note: This feature is only available on certain Intercom plans. See our plans and pricing here.

Keep your bot organised

As you add more paths to your Custom Bots, you may want to reorder them in the bot builder, or add new paths at certain points. To reorder your paths, just click and drag with this button:

To add a new path at a specific point, click the 'three dots' icon and select "Add path below": 

Prioritize which bots your visitors will see first 

A visitor will only get one bot at a time. To choose which bot we’ll send first, just drag and drop it to the top of the list. 

Pro tip: You should set unique audience targeting for each bot you create. This will help you prevent the same visitors from receiving similar bots. 

Set a goal for your Custom Bot

Before setting your bot live, you should set a goal, so you can accurately measure it's impact. This is the action you'd like your customers to take, or the change that should occur as a result of receiving the Custom Bot.

For example, if you're using a Custom Bot to generate new leads, and collect email addresses you might set the goal 'Email has any value':

You can also define the time limit for this change or action to occur:

Tip: The shorter the time period, the more confidently you can attribute the change to your Custom Bot.

Preview your bot, then set it live 

You can preview your bot privately on any web page, where you’ve installed the Intercom Messenger. 

Just click 'Preview' in the top right corner: 

Then, select a website where you've installed the Messenger:

A new window will open where you can see your bot in action:

Once you’re happy, set your bot live 🚀 

Note: Before you set your bot live, we’ll flag any errors in your ‘Review and set live’ section. 

See how your bot performs 

Once your bot is live, you can easily review its performance.

Here’s what each stat means: 

  • ‘Sent’ is the number of users who received the bot welcome message.
  • ‘Engaged’ is the percentage of users who clicked a reply button on the welcome message. 
  • ‘Completed’ is the percentage of users who reached the end of any path, or if a teammate joined the conversation. 

To understand how often your bot is sending, open the custom bot, and click "Sent" for a graph of sends over time:

To dive deeper into your bot interactions, click on "Engaged" or "Completed" for a full list of conversations started by your bot:

For a detailed look at the paths customers are following through your bot, click on "Path analysis":

Tip: Learn more about path analysis here.

What’s next? 

Go ahead and create your first custom bot.  We’ve also created these 6 templates to help you get started: 

If you'd like to engage logged-in users with Custom Bots, read this article to learn how.

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