Using chatbots with Front Chat
Edited

Overview

Front chatbots are a powerful tool to ensure your team is focused on answering the most important conversations. Chatbots can help you gather information about a customer’s inquiry. From there, the chatbot can either directly resolve the inquiry, or can pass it along to an agent to handle.

Take a Front Academy course here to learn more about leveraging chatbots to achieve your goals.

Have questions? Ask them in our AMA in Front Community!


When to use chatbots

Collecting information about a chat visitor’s request

Use chatbots to collect more information about a topic, product, or issue your chat visitors are reaching out on before your team hops into the chat. You can also collect contact details using the chatbot.

Deflecting commonly asked questions from your team

Chatbots are a great tool for directly responding to commonly asked questions to ensure your team can remain focused on those complex issues that require a human touch.

Qualifying sales leads

Use chatbots to collect contact and account information to qualify leads passing through your website. 


Prerequisites

You must have Front company admin access OR the default workspace admin role to create and edit chatbots.


Creating a chatbot

You will need to have a Front Chat channel set up in order to use chatbots. Instructions for configuring a Front Chat channel can be found here.

Step 1

Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and into the Company settings tab.

Step 2

Click Channels on the left menu.

Step 3

Within Channels, click the Chatbots tab.

Step 4

From here, you can create a new chatbot by clicking the Create a chatbot button on the top right.

Step 5

Set a name for your chatbot and select the Front Chat channel that will be connected to this chatbot. You can also optionally provide a description for the chatbot.

Step 6

After clicking Continue, you can now build your chatbot flow in the visual bot flow builder. Click on the blue “+” button within any arrow linking chatbot steps to add a new step to your flow. 

Step 7

To save changes to your chatbot, click the Save button on the bottom right corner.

Step 8

Once you’re finished configuring your chatbot flow, toggle on the Chatbot is inactive setting in the top right corner. Once active, the chatbot will be visible in the chat widget on your website.


Chatbot step types

There are two different categories of step types you can use in your chatbot flow.

  • Visitor-facing steps: Visitor-facing steps allow you to send messages / collect information from your chat visitor, and will be interactions that are visible in the chat window on your website.

  • Internal action steps: Internal action steps affect the structure of your chatbot flow (i.e., any paths that are created) and will also impact any attributes on the conversation that’s created in Front once the chatbot flow ends (i.e., tags).

Step name

Step type

Step description

Limitations

Collect contact details

Visitor-facing

Collect contact fields such as name, email, phone number, and custom contact fields from the chat visitor. If an existing contact matches the information provided, the conversation will be associated with that contact. Otherwise, a new contact will be created with the information provided.

If the chat visitor’s identity is already being verified via the Front Chat SDK, chat visitors will not have to fill out this step.

Maximum of 3 contact fields in the collect contact details step. 

Open-ended question

Visitor-facing

Ask an open-ended question that you’d like chat visitors to respond to. Unlike Message, chat visitors are able to respond to open-ended questions.

Character limit of 5,000

Message

Visitor-facing

Configure a message that you’d like to send to chat visitors from your bot. Chat visitors cannot respond to messages sent by the bot.

Character limit of 5,000

Multiple choice question

Visitor-facing

Configure a question with pre-set answer options. Chat visitors can only respond by selecting one of the multiple-choice options.

Maximum of 8 multiple-choice options.


Character limit of 5,000 per question


Character limit of 40 per multiple-choice option

Branch by keywords

Internal action

Branch your chatbot flow into different paths based on keywords identified in a chat visitor’s response to an open-ended question. Each set of keywords you configure will always result in a new path.  


You can set a priority order for the different keywords. If a chat visitor’s message matches multiple keywords, the chatbot flow will follow the first keyword path it matches based on the priority you set.

Maximum of 40 characters for a single keyword. Maximum of 60 keywords per path.

This step can only be added if there’s an open-ended question step earlier in the path.

Note that keywords are not case-sensitive.

Tag

Internal action

Add a tag to the resulting chat conversation for different paths in your chatbot flow.


You can choose from existing Company or workspace tags and create new Company or workspace tags directly in the chatbot builder. You can only access company tags if you are a company admin.

Maximum of 10 tags per tag step. 

End of path

Internal action

This step signifies the end of each path within the chatbot flow. It is automatically added to the end of a path every time a new bot path is created.


For each end of path step, you can choose whether the resulting chat conversation will be automatically archived by the chatbot, or whether it will remain open for an agent to handle once the chatbot flow ends.

N/A


Saved flows

Saved flows make it much easier to quickly build and manage your chatbot flow. If you have a series of steps used multiple times throughout your chatbot flow, consider creating a saved flow with these steps instead.

You can build your saved flow once and add it anywhere you want in your main flow. Any edits you make to your saved flow will automatically apply wherever it appears in your chatbot.

This feature is available on the Growth plan or above.

Creating a saved flow

There are two ways to create a saved flow:

  1. Click the Saved flow button on the bottom left of the chatbot flow builder, then click the “+” button in the menu.

  2. Select Saved flow in the “Add a new step” menu, then click the “+” button in the resulting menu.

Editing a saved flow

You can edit a saved flow by clicking on the saved flow step in your chatbot flow and selecting Edit saved flow in the right sidebar, or by clicking on the saved flow you want to edit in the Saved flows button on the bottom left corner of the chatbot builder.

Important to know

  • Saved flows are currently chatbot-specific. You cannot use the same saved flow across multiple different chatbots.

  • There can only be one path coming out of a saved flow. If your saved flow ends in multiple paths (for example, if you have a multiple-choice question in your saved flow), these paths will automatically merge into one path at the end of the saved flow. See screenshot below.


Chatbot settings

Settings page

For each chatbot, you can adjust the following settings:

  • Chatbot name: Customize the name which will be used internally to label your chatbot. This name will not display in the chat widget on your website. 

  • Channel: Select which Front Chat channel the chatbot will be associated with. You can only have one chatbot per Front Chat channel at this time.

  • Chatbot display name and avatar: Customize the name and avatar for the chatbot your customers see in the chat widget.

    • By default, the chatbot name will be displayed as your team name (configured in Front Chat channel settings) + “bot”, and your chatbot avatar will be the default chatbot icon. 

    • We highly recommend choosing the default display option to make it clear to your chat visitors that they’re interacting with a chatbot, not a live human agent. Certain local regulations may require disclosure when your chat visitors are conversing with bots.

  • Chatbot description (optional): Enter a description for the chatbot.


Passing a chatbot conversation to your chat agents

After a chat visitor reaches the “End of Path” step for any given path in your chatbot flow, a chat conversation will automatically be created within the default inbox configured for your Front Chat channel. The conversation will contain a transcript of the chatbot conversation, and will contain any tags you configured for that chatbot path.

If you’ve configured the chatbot to automatically archive the conversation at the end of the chatbot path, the conversation will be created with “Archived” status and your team will not be notified or need to respond. In the chat widget, the conversation will end and your chat visitor will be prompted to start a new conversation. Otherwise, the conversation will be created with an “Open” status, so an agent can easily hop in and continue the chat thread.

Important to know

  • Any inbox rules you have configured will apply to your chatbot conversation.

  • A chatbot flow will never start again after a conversation has been created within Front. It will only run for new chat conversations.

  • If your chatbot auto-archives the chat conversation, make sure you add the Conversation currently open condition to your assignment rule. This ensures that your inbox assignment rules won’t trigger and assign that conversation to your agents.


Analytics

Use the Chatbots report in Front Analytics to track your chatbot performance.


FAQ

What does the chatbot flow look like for my customer on my website?

On your website, the chatbot flow will start when chat visitors open the chat widget. Customers will have to go through the entire flow before they can be connected to a live chat agent on your team.

What does my customer see in the chat widget when the chatbot auto-archives the conversation?

Your customer will see that the conversation has ended, and they will be asked to start a new conversation (which will restart the chatbot flow) if they have another inquiry.

Can my customer restart the chatbot flow?

Yes. Customers can restart the chatbot flow by clicking the restart icon on the top right of the widget. This makes it easier for customers to restart if they accidentally clicked the wrong option or went down the wrong path in the chatbot flow.

The chatbot restart icon is only present during the chatbot flow. Once the chatbot flow ends and your customer is connected to a chat agent, this icon will no longer be accessible and your customer will not be able to use this to restart the conversation. They must wait for 6 hours to elapse after the chat first started to see the Start new conversation button.

Are chatbots available on channels besides Front Chat?

No. Chatbots are only available for Front Chat at this time.

How many chatbots can I configure?

You can configure 1 chatbot for each Front Chat channel.

Is there a limit to the number of steps I can build for my chatbot?

Yes. You can add up to 400 steps in a chatbot.

Can I build rules based on chat visitor responses to my chatbot questions?

Yes you can build rules based on chat visitor responses to your chatbot questions by leveraging tags! You can add a tag anywhere in your chatbot flow (for example, right after each multiple choice option), and then you can build routing, assignment, and more rules that include that tag as a condition.

In the example below, you can configure a rule set to route the conversation to either the Support or Sales inbox by leveraging the “Support” or “Sales” tag in your routing rule.

How can my customers start a new chat conversation with me on my website?

See here.

What happened to my Welcome Message and Pre-Chat Form?

Any previous Welcome Message and Pre-Chat Forms you’ve configured have been automatically migrated to the chatbot experience. You can continue to make changes to these from within the chatbot builder. 


Pricing

Chatbots are available on all plans. See additional details about pricing of certain chatbot features below:

  • Saved flows: Growth plan or above

  • Chatbot analytics: Growth plan or above

  • Chatbot steps: See table below

Chatbot step

Plan availability

Collect contact details

Available on all plans, with restrictions below

  • Starter plan: 1 collect contact details step only (Pre-Chat Form). Can only collect name and email contact fields

  • Legacy Growth plans: 1 collect contact details step only (Pre-Chat Form). Can collect up to 3 contact fields (incl. custom contact fields)

  • Latest Growth plan or above: No limit on # of collect contact details steps or the type of contact fields used

Open-ended question

Available on all plans, with restrictions below

  • Starter plan & legacy Growth plans: 1 open-ended question step only

  • Latest Growth plan or above: No limit on # of open-ended question steps

Message

Available on all plans, with restrictions below

  • Starter plan & legacy Growth plans: 1 message step only (Welcome Message)

  • Latest Growth plan or above: No limit on # of message steps

Multiple choice question

Available on latest Growth plan or above

Branch by keywords

Available on latest Growth plan or above

Tag

Available on latest Growth plan or above