When you need to send information to a contact, but you don’t need to have a back-and-forth conversation, Chain Bots give you a great way to automate the process. Each message you send can have a short time delay or show your contact a “Next” button, and the bot will wait for them to manually proceed.
Note: Chain Bots are only available via Shout-to-Shout (S2S) currently, so any contacts you want to use a Chain will need their own account. They can sign up for one here or you can create a share link for them that will run a bot in their account when they sign in for the first time.
On the Bots page, click the New Bot button at the top of the screen. Choose Chain Bot on the following screen.
On the right side of the screen, you’ll see the structure of your bot. As you Name Questions this sidebar will update help see Bot Flow at a glance. Added Actions will be highlighted here.
Enable your bot by setting it to be Active or Paused here. When Active, your bot will listen for its trigger word, be activated with share links, or started manually in the message composer.
Every good bot needs a name! Bot names are only visible to you and those you share your bot with, so pick a name that will help you remember what the bot is and how to use it.
Trigger words allow contacts to start your bot manually by sending you a message. When activated, the bot will listen to all incoming Shout-to-Shout messages. If you receive a message with just the trigger word, your bot will take over the conversation.
Add multiple triggers words by clicking the Add Trigger Word button. Delete ones you don’t need with the Trash Can icon next to the trigger word.
Remember to keep these simple! The incoming message needs to match exactly for the bot to take over, so make it easy for your customers to get them right.
Actions can take place at any point in the Chain, including before the bot begins or after it’s done. An action can:
Some actions, such as Run Bot or Auto-Mark Done, can only be performed at certain points in the Bot’s flow.
Remove actions by clicking on the three-dot menu next to the action, then clicking Delete.
In Chain Bots, the only type of message available is the Message Chain. You can Name Questions for easier internal reference in the Bot Flow panel.
Reorder messages by clicking the three-dot menu on the message and selecting Move Up or Move Down from the menu.
Delete a message by clicking the three-dot menu and selecting Remove Message.
You can type your message directly into the message composer. Use Quick Responses, attach files, include Short Links, or Share Links.
There are no segment counters on Chain Bot composers because all messages are sent via S2S and do not count towards your monthly segment total. This makes them even more useful for delivering a lot of bite-sized content!
The Next Button allows you to pause your bot’s messages and let your contact take control of the conversation. If no Next Button exists between messages, there will be a three-second pause before the bot moves on. If you check Show Next Button, then the contact will have to click Next to continue the bot.
Use a Next Button to allow a contact to consider a point you made, answer a question, or take an action. Then when they’re ready to continue, they are in control!
Once you’ve started building your bot, you can click Preview at the top of your screen. You’ll see a new window pop-up, and be able to interact with your bot as if you were one of your contacts. Use the Trigger Word that you set up and start chatting with your bot! If you can’t remember your trigger word, just look at the top of this window - it’s there as a reminder.
Restart the conversation by clicking the circular arrow icon at the top of the conversation.
The simulator will never use up your message segments, so this is a great place to test both Conversation Bots and Chain Bots.
Here’s another great way to get someone to interact with your bot: a Share Link. By including your Chain Bot as the Run a Bot action in a share link, you can have someone interact with it in their Shout account just by clicking your link.
If your contact doesn’t have a Shout account, they’ll be prompted to create a free account to use your bot. It’s a great way to invite someone into an onboarding flow and get all the contact info you need from them.