Intercom’s bots - task bots, Custom Bots and Answer Bot - are all powered by Operator, our automation technology. These bots are designed to automate different points in your customers’ journeys, and are triggered by different actions.

Here’s a breakdown of how these different bots work, and which bot to use for different actions.

Introducing Operator

Operator is the automation technology that powers all of Intercom’s bots. Depending on which bot you’re using, Operator will step in to help automate a simple task, answer a question, route customers to the correct inbox, and more. Learn more about how Operator works here.

Note: While some task bots work on the free Intercom Platform, you’ll need specific Intercom products to access certain task bots. Custom Bots and Answer Bot are available as add-ons. Read about how to access these bots here.

Answer Bot answers common customer questions using automation and machine learning.

Custom Bots are used to both proactively and reactively qualify leads, route customers to the correct team, and engage users and visitors on your website. See some Custom Bot templates here:

They all run on Operator - read on to find out more.

Task Bots

Task bots are triggered by actions that customers take on your website or app. Here’s how different task bots are triggered:

  • Operator will share your typical reply time when a user or lead starts a new conversation.
  • Logged-out visitors will be asked if they are an existing customer when they start a new conversation, and then routed to support if they answer yes.
  • Logged-out visitors can also be asked to leave their contact details when they start a new conversation.
  • Operator can automatically qualify new leads that start a conversation.
  • When a lead or user reacts to an article with 😔, Operator will start a new conversation, prompting them to ask for more help.
  • When a conversation is closed, Operator sends a conversation rating request, asking the customer to rate their experience. 
  • When a user starts a new conversation and asks a question, Operator will suggest articles from your Help Center - but only those that are relevant to the question. 
  • If you use our Github integration, Operator will add internal notes when you create or update an issue, and reopen the conversation when the issue is closed.
  • Operator also suggests relevant help articles to teammates working in the Inbox

Custom Bots

Custom Bots start new conversations, ask follow up questions, and route your customers to the correct channels using clear paths. They can be sent as outbound, or reply to inbound conversations, depending on which type you build:

These bots can also be targeted to specific users and leads, using the same audience filters you would use to target Outbound Messages, or segment your users. Here’s how different Custom Bots are triggered.

Custom Bots for users and visitors

Custom Bots for users and visitors are triggered proactively - as soon as a user or visitor is active on your site or in your app and meets the audience filters, the bot will be triggered. Read more about how to get started with Custom Bots for users and visitors here.

Custom Bots from buttons

Custom Bots from buttons are triggered when a user or visitor clicks on a targeted element on your website or app. Use these bots for high-intent users and visitors who engage with calls to action on your site. For example, you could use bots from buttons to replace your contact form, qualify leads for your sales team, or gather email addresses for your newsletter.

You can read more about building Custom Bots from buttons here.

Custom Bots from new conversations

Custom Bots from new conversations are sent when a targeted user or lead starts a new conversation from the Messenger. You can set these inbound custom bots’ filters so that they trigger for everyone, or only people who meet certain criteria, in the same way as Custom Bots for users and visitors.

When a person who matches your audience filters starts a new conversation, your Custom Bot will take over immediately and triage the conversation accordingly:

Use these bots to triage your inbound conversations, gather useful information, and streamline your support team’s workflows. Read more about Custom Bots from new conversations here.

Answer Bot

When a user or visitor asks a question that matches one of the answers you’ve configured, Answer Bot will step in with that answer, offer additional information, or give your customers the option to wait for your support team. 

Answer Bot will only trigger at the start of a conversation - it will never take over an existing conversation between a customer and your support team. You can also configure Answer Bot to answer follow up questions to your Outbound Messages:

Similar to Custom Bots, Answer Bot’s answers can also be targeted to only send to specific users and leads. Learn more about getting started with Answer Bot here.

What’s next?

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