How it works – Flow 101

Creating a conversation flow is one of the most essential steps when someone is building their own messaging bot. A flow works like a possible scenario with the users of the bot, delivering important content and collecting necessary information.

The Flow module

The flow module allows the administrator of the bot to simulate conversations (like onboarding of new users), pre-set discussions and gather data from the fans and followers, for example running specific conversation campaigns, one-on-one surveys or public polls directly in the chat interface.

Later on the results can trigger different events through the system, based on the selection of the data from the trigger event. This comes handful when an external service (like a webshop) is integrated with the bot, and various events start flows (and conversations) with the users.

In the Fanbot, we have decided to use a different approach: the flows can be defined and operated without flowcharts. Instead we use branches, which is like pre-defined intersections in the conversations. These intersections have various content types and end points, which could lead the user to a call to action point or move the conversation forward.

How to set up a flow

  1. Creating a new flow starts with defining it’s first question/content
  2. The next step is to decide the type of reply we expect from the user: pre-defined (with buttons) or text that the user can type in
  3. If we decided on the pre-defined options, then all these options could have subsequent steps as well, with new questions and new intersections (we call this the branches).
  4. Flows should be simple and easy to follow.

Flows can be embedded into the Broadcasting, Knowledge and Live chat modules, even as multiple flows next to each other. To add a flow into your broadcast, simple drag the content element into your broadcasting message and select the flow you want to send out to your subscribers. It works in a similar way in Knowledge, where various states (automated triggers from external services or texts that were defined manually) could trigger not only simple replies, but flows as well: for example if you want your users to register to your service, you can set triggers to start your registration flow whenever a user asks for it in your conversation.

What are the best working flows?

There are many different flows that work great. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the flow should fulfill a task, be it simple or complicated (simple ones generally work better).

Do you have a flow in your bot that have great results? Would love to hear about it!

Also published on Medium.