Getting Started With a Helper Chat Bot

chat bot helper header image

The Formilla Helper Bot responds to commonly asked visitor questions 24/7.  It uses A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) to determine the correct answer to a minimum confidence level that you specify.  The Helper Bot can be continually trained for better accuracy, and additional questions can even be added as Formilla Live Chat is being used.  Chat bots are available as a paid add-on for any of our current premium packages.

In this tutorial we will cover how to create a helper chat bot that is ready to respond to your website visitors.  We will go over how to train the Helper Bot by adding additional questions and setting the preferred confidence level.  We will also touch on how the bot functions in a conversation with your visitor.

Read more about how to add a chat bot to your own site.

Quickly jump around this post with this index:

Go to video of creating a bot

Go to video of training a bot

Go to video of a bot in use

Creating Your Helper Bot

  1. Inside your Formilla account, mouse over Automation and select Helper Bots from the sub-menu.  Click on the Create Helper Bot button.
    Create Helper Bot Landing Page
  2. Enter a name for your helper bot.  You can select the default language for the bot AI engine as well.  Click on Save & Add Questions when finished.
    Save and Add Variations for the chat bot
  3. Here on the Step 1/Questions tab, an initial hello response message is automatically created.  Your bot will respond with this message to greet a visitor who wants to chat . Click on Add Question to add an additional question that your Helper Bot can answer.  Give your question a name, then click on Save & Add Variations.
    Adding Questions to your bot
  4. Type any variation you would like to add into the field prompting you to enter another way a customer might ask the same question.  In this example, we will ask “How can I update my billing info”.  Press Enter when you have added your additional question.
    Adding multiple variations of your questionNote: While it is recommended to add several variations, it is not necessary to think of every possible variation of the question to start.  You can add more later, and even add questions straight from a chat session after a visitor asks the question in a new way.
  5. In the “Enter a response to this question” field, enter the response that you want the Helper Bot to respond with in chat.   If you want the response to be given over multiple chat sends to avoid a wall of text, click on Add message bubble to add additional lines.  You can also check the bottom box if you do not want this response to be followed with Bot Buttons indicating whether the answer was helpful or if they would prefer to wait for a live person. Click on Save & Exit when finished.
    Adding a response to your question
  6. Click on the Step 2/Settings tab. In the first section you can name your bot (Helper Bot by default), which will be visible to website visitors in the chat window.  You can also set an image for your bot by clicking on Choose File to upload an imageThe default bot graphic will be shown if you choose not to upload an image of your own.
    Customizing your chat bot graphic
  7. The next section is the Bot Feedback section.  Here you can set the text that is on the two chat buttons that appear after each bot response.  The visitor can click on either button, and the button that was clicked on is viewable in chat. If the second option (Wait for a live person by default) is clicked by the visitor, then the bottom text field is fired by the helper bot.  This is also the message that a helper bot will give if is does not believe it knows the correct response to the specified confidence level.  This message can also be customized.
    Chat Bot feedback and confidence settings
  8. In the Chat Widgets section, select the Widget you would like the helper bot to appear on. At least one widget must be selected, and no widget is automatically selected.
  9. In the Confidence Settings section, you can set how confident the helper bot should be that it has the right answer before it gives the stored answer.  You can also set the number of unknown answers the helper bot gives before it deactivates.
    Assigning the bot to a chat widget
  10. Scroll back up to the top and click on the Publish button to publish the bot.  This can take a minute or two to process.  While the bot is being processed, editing options are disabled.  Once publishing has been completed, a banner will appear stating when the bot was published.
    Remember to publish the bot

Training Your Chat Bot

You can also learn how to train your bot in our video tutorial.

The Train my Bot section is where you will want to go to periodically train your Helper Bot.  The more you add questions, variations, and continuously train the smarter the bot will get.  Conversely, without effort put into training the bot will “miss” with answers more frequently over time.  In addition to using the Train My Bot section whenever a common question comes in that you know is asked frequently but has not been added yet, it is a good idea to go through the Train My Bot section at regular intervals.  Every few days is a good starting point, perhaps adjusting up or down depending on your chat volume.  Remember though, you cannot err on the side of too much training!

  1. Access the Train my Bot section by mousing over Automation on the left, then clicking on Helper Bots.  Your bot will now appear with a Train My Bot link under the “Training” column. Click on this link to go to the Training screen.
    Train my bot link
  2. In the Training section, you will see a list of phrases from recently completed chat sessions in the Untrained Message Column.  You will also see a number given in xx% next to some untrained messages.  This number indicates that the bot found the untrained message should be answered by the assigned question to the specified confidence level.
    Untrained questions and confidence levels
  3. You can use the drop-down menu in the Assign To Question Column to select how to train your helper bot to handle this message in the future.  If you do not want the bot to have any response to this exact message in the future, you can choose the “ignore” response. You can also select an existing question to assign this message to from the drop-down menu.
  4. If you need to create a new question based on the untrained message, select the option to create a new question from this message and click on the Save check mark.  Next you will see a message that briefly appears stating that a question has been successfully completed, with a link to go straight to the question editor.
    Create a question from the train section
  5. You can get straight into adding Question Variations to the newly created question by clicking on the link in the previous step, or you can navigate to it by mousing over Automation, clicking on Helper Bots, then clicking on the Pencil/edit icon next to your helper bot.  You will now see your newly created question in the question list here.  Click on the pencil/edit icon next to the new question to go to the Question Variations.
    New question added but missing answer
  6. Add variations on the question here, enter the response you want your helper bot to give to this question, then click on Save & Exit when finished.
    Add variations and response
  7. Click on Publish to make sure your Helper Bot is published again after you are finished.
    Always publish your changes

Your Helper Bot in Action

You can also see the helper bot in action in our video tutorial.

Now that we’ve learned how to setup and continuously train the Helper Bot, let’s see how visitors will interact with the bot through Formilla Live Chat.

When a visitor starts a chat, your bot will greet them with the “Hello” response you have configured for your bot.  The default response is shown below: “Hello, I’m Helper Bot!  I’m here to help you until the team is able to respond!”

Assuming we have trained our bot to answer the Question “what are your business hours?”, when a visitor asks this question the bot will automatically respond with the answer as shown:

Action buttons example

Notice the action buttons beneath the bot’s response are intended to encourage the visitor to select either “That helped!” or “Wait for the team”.

If they choose “That helped!”, your bot just saved the day and you don’t need to engage with the customer (unless you want to, of course).  If the visitor instead selects “Wait for the team”, that’s your cue to respond from the agent dashboard as you do today.

In either case, the visitor’s choice will be sent to the Formilla dashboard and alert you for every bot interaction in case you want to take over the chat conversation at any time.  If the visitor simply doesn’t make a choice, the chat conversation will remain active as the bot stays ready to respond to additional questions.

As mentioned during the setup section of this tutorial, once the bot “misses” (when the bot doesn’t know the correct answer) or when the visitor chooses “Wait for the team”, the following response will be triggered by default:

Bot miss example

Tips and Best Practices

  1. Don’t forget to use the delete function in the Train My Bot section to remove questions that do not apply to anything trained nor deserve a new question to be added/trained.
  2. For extra-long phrases that did contain a question variation you want to add, consider adding a shorter variation to the appropriate question instead.  For example, say a visitor says “I just spent all day on the phone with the bank about my card… I mean it must have been hours!  Anyway I had to cancel my old card and I was wondering where I go to give you my new one”.  You can add this to an existing “How do I change my payment information” question, but you may want to shorten the variation you keep to something like “I had to cancel my card and I was wondering where I go to give you my new one”.  If you add a longer variation then edit it to a shorter version, the longer version will appear in the “Train My Bot” section again.  You can delete the long phrase at this point.
  3. Broken line typing can cause a bot to not hit (if they type half of a question in one chat line, then finish the question in a second line for example).  Don’t forget that you can still manually add a variation if the full question would have made a good new one.
  4. The “Ignore” option is best used for very specific things you want ignored, like common harassing words or gibberish from visitors testing your chat widget.  If there are a lot of questions filed under ignore, future questions may find word matches that cause an incorrect hit on “Ignore” being the best option.  Phrases that just do not apply to any trained question and do not make for a good newly created question are best handled by being deleted.
  5. Consider encouraging questions the bot is more likely able to answer in your greeting, maybe even prompting for a very common question.  For example, consider putting in something like “I can best answer complete and simple questions, such as “Do you have a demo?” in the default greeting response.
  6. Mix in a few variations with greetings like “hello”, “hi there”, “hey team”, etc. in each question.  You can also consider adding in variations that include closers like “please and thank you” as well.  For example, say a visitor types “Hey team, I was wondering if you have a demo.  Thank you very much!”.  If you only have one variation saved anywhere with a similar greeting and closing phrase, the bot may match to the wrong question.  The above line could hit on a saved variation like “Hey team, do you ship overseas? Thanks!” and give the answer to a saved shipping question instead of the proper question about a demo.  Mixing in greetings and closers in a variety of questions will help the bot use other phrases to determine a proper response.
  7. Similarly, sometimes the bot will hit on the incorrect question simply because of a high word match.  For example, while training a bot you may see a question like “I am trying to set up my payments” match to the answer for the question “I’m trying to set up email automation”.  When something like this occurs, simply continue to add the question as a new variation to the proper question.  The more the bot is trained with variations, the more accurate it will be when this happens.
  8. Train as often as possible! Even new terms for a question with several variations already saved can result in a miss.  Say you have a question with several variations like “How do I change my plan” and “How do I choose a different package”.  There’s no accounting for when a visitor will occasionally ask the question in a slightly different way, like “How do I update my plan/package” (and the bot narrowly misses due to not being sure about “plan/package”).  Continue to add new variations like this… practice makes perfect is an adage that definitely applies to your helper bot!

Be sure to check out our video tutorial for additional information in using the chat bot, and to learn how to even give your bot a personality as well!  Don’t hesitate to start a chat with us if you need any help configuring your bot, or with anything else.

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