Trigger a Custom Bot when a customer opens the Messenger and accelerate your support by automating these initial interactions.

When a customer starts a conversation with you in the Messenger, they’ll be able to choose from suggested replies that you’ve defined. They can clarify why they’re getting in touch, and provide extra info without needing to wait for a response, or take up your team’s time.

Note: If your suggested replies don't match a customer's issue, you can still give them the option to write a reply in the composer.

For example, if you know most of your conversations are support requests, feature requests, and bug reports you could create quick replies for these three options. Your bot will then collect any extra info you need and route them to the right team.

Get started

Go to Operator > Custom Bots and add a new bot "When a customer opens the Messenger".

Custom Bots come with a few templates. You can start from scratch with a new Custom Bot, duplicate an existing bot, or use a template and customize it to meet your needs.

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

Add a title

Your title should accurately describe your bot’s function, so your teammates can easily understand its purpose.

Design your bot on the canvas

Go to the Content section to build your bot.

Start your first path with a clear question explaining the options your customers will see:

Then add reply buttons your customers can select from.

Note: You don’t need to cover every possible scenario, as customers can still write a reply in the composer if none of your suggested replies cover their question.

If you'd like to prevent customers from replying directly, you can choose to "Disable customer reply".

Note: This option will only apply in your mobile app with mobile SDKs v6.1.0 and higher.

Add new paths

Now, you can direct users down new paths based on their replies. Each path lets you collect all the right information to help your customers.

Just click on an arrow beside each reply button to add a new path.

You can easily access and edit your new paths from the "List of paths" at the bottom of the canvas.

These paths can ask for more information, or even provide quick answers to common questions, like this example which directs your customer to a path with specific steps to export their data:

When asking for more information you can allow your customers to type freely (or attach images), or collect data as a standard or custom attribute. Just click the "+" icon below the message:

Important: Attributes can only be added once by your customer. If a value already exists for the attribute, only a teammate can change it.

Build customized follow up actions

At the end of each path, you can choose to continue bot with more reply buttons to direct users onto a new path, or end bot with follow up actions. Just click the "+" icon below the bot messages, and select from the list of actions:

You can add as many follow up actions as you like. For example, if a user selects 'I'd like to report a bug', and has gone down a path to provide details, you could:

  • Assign the conversation to your support engineers,

  • Mark the conversation as priority,

  • And add a ‘Bug report’ tag.

Note: You’ll need Intercom Support, Engage or Convert to use follow-up actions.

Tip: You can also add conditional follow up actions based on the data your Custom Bot collects. Check out this guide to find out more about conditional follow up rules.

Check for errors

When you've finished, check and fix any path errors. These will be highlighted in red on the canvas and you can easily get to them from the "List of paths".

Choose a channel

If you'd like to show different Custom Bots to your users based on where they write in, you can scroll down and choose from Web, iOS or Android under "Channel".

Important: To use Custom Bots for mobile, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest iOS and Android SDKs.

Set up rules and scheduling

Choose when to trigger your bot

You can add page rules to only trigger a bot if a user is visiting a certain page. This allows you to give your users the most relevant options, in any context.

For example, if you choose "Web" as your channel, you can add a page rule so your bot only triggers on conversations started from the pricing page:

Note: If you use "Current page URL" rule your Custom Bot might not trigger for users using your mobile (iOS/Android) app if their last visited URL does not match the rule you set up.

For example, if your user never visited your website but only interacted via your mobile app, they will not have a "Current page URL" value set and hence won't match the rules to receive the Custom Bot.

Choose your audience

You can target users based on any data you track about them. For example, you could add an audience rule that targets free users and then include replies to help with signing up:

Note: This example uses a custom attribute, which you would need to add to Intercom.

Pro tip: You can add multiple rules to ensure you’re giving customers the right options when they write in. For example:

  • ‘Signed up’ less than 30 days ago - Include common options for brand new users.

  • ‘Browser language’ lets you create bots for support in multiple languages.

The more targeted you make your audience, the more effective your bot will be. You can also combine 'And' with 'Or' filters if you need more specific audience targeting.

Important: To ensure your customers see the right bot, make sure your filters are mutually exclusive, i.e. each user can only match the audience for one bot.

Schedule your bot

Control when customers see your Custom Bots by setting up a Schedule.

This will help your team manage conversation volume during busy periods. Or, you could show bots outside of office hours so customers help themselves while you’re away.

You can also select "Custom times" to show your bots. Click the start time, then hold 'Shift' key and click the end time. Your bot will then show for customers during the selected period.

Note: Trigger times are based on your workspace’s timezone.

Pro Tip: To find your busiest times, check out the Conversations report. Then set up a Custom Bot to help your team, when they need it most.

Set it live

When you're ready, scroll back to the top where you can preview your bot, save and close the bot builder, or set it live. 🎉

How do Custom Bots work with Resolution Bot, assignment rules and Inbox?

Resolution Bot and Suggested help articles

If you use Resolution Bot, or the ‘Suggest help articles’ task bot, they will only send if your customer skips the quick replies you’ve defined and writes a new message in the composer.

Assignment rules

If you use an assignment rule in your bot’s follow up actions, this will take precedence over any Inbox assignment rules you’ve set up.

If you don’t end your Custom Bot paths with an assignment rule, or if a user starts a new conversation, your Inbox assignment rules will apply to the conversation. If you have none, then the default inbox assignment rule will apply.

Conversation ratings

If you have conversation ratings enabled for users, Custom Bot messages are included in the word count required to trigger conversation ratings. If the conversation matches all the minimum requirements, then a conversation rating will send when it’s closed.

Service level agreements (SLAs) and First response time

Your team’s first response time, and SLA calculations will include the time that users spend interacting with Custom Bots by default. You can exclude time spent interacting with a bot from your SLAs by enabling the dedicated bot inbox. Learn how to enable the bot inbox here.

Best practices

Custom Bots are perfect for triaging support questions, but there are more situations where you can use bots to give your customers the best possible experience:

High-level categorization

If your company offers multiple products or services, a Custom Bot can help your customers self-select which product they need help with. That way, the teammate who picks up the conversation will already have this context.

Surface contextual information about an event, update, or outage

There are many things that can cause a surge in certain questions, like changes to your product’s layout, time sensitive events, or even an outage. With a Custom Bot you can proactively address these questions and share the answers up front.

What's next?

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