Building a chatbot is not a difficult task anymore thanks to all of the platforms that allow you to create a bot with no coding. The real challenge bot builders are facing now is user engagement. How can you make your bot interactive? We have answered that question with our successful WSL chatbot. WSL bot is the first chatbot for surfers on the Facebook Messenger platform. In this article I’m going to share how we got over 4 000 active users within a week after the release date and around 140 new users daily with user retention rates at 19.6%.
4 000 active users within a week, 140 new users daily with user retention rate 19.6%
What Are Basic Bot Functions
A chatbot can handle many tasks related to customer service which would normally require a phone call to a live agent. With bots, brands are able to reach customers where they already are: in messenger applications including Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram and many others. Also, chatbots make online communication between brands and their customers more personalized and human-like than ever before.
Read also: Customer Service. What Can Bots Actually Do?
Creating a Chatbot
We tend to use Chatfuel as our bot building platform. It’s an easy bot-building tool founded in 2015 that focuses on helping people build conversational interfaces on the Facebook Messenger platform. Among the 46,000 bots have been created using Chatfuel you will notice some world famous brands including TechCrunch, MTV, Uber Asia and BuzzFeed.
46,000 bots have been created using Chatfuel
Chatfuel is our go-to platform because it has a built-in artificial intelligence that understands and answers user requests, and allows sending various types of content, including:
Delays (up to 20 seconds)
Galleries (with square & horizontal images)
Webview at 100%, 70% and 40% height
It took us 3 weeks and 6 people to build the bot. Chatfuel plugins helped us to make WSL chatbot more extensible.
How Plugins Make a Chatfuel Bot Better and Boost User Engagement
Plugins extend chatbot abilities by allowing users to access more data. In the WSL project we used plugins for embedding video files, gamification, site searching and more.
Discover the WSL bot case study
Go To Block
This plugin makes a chatbot experience more flexible and complex. If you need to segment users to make their experience a lot more personalized, use the Go To Block and you will be able to create separate flows for every cohort of users. As content filters, the Go To Block use User Attributes to route users between specific or random blocks.
We wish that the Go To Block plugin was available when we were building WSL chatbot! It really comes in handy when it is necessary to create several flows. In WSL chatbot users are offered to choose between two language options, English and Portuguese, to be sent to the particular flow.
Go To Block allows you to:
check for multiple values in a user attribute. Use commas to separate them;
avoid dead ends in your chatbot’s conversation even without any filters;
create quiz bots with the essential feature Quiz template by Livebotter™.
Facebook video is a powerful marketing tool and your trusted helper in business promotion. People view 8 billion videos daily on Facebook, meaning that you are certain to gain immediate access to a large audience.
To embed videos right on Facebook Messenger we equipped the WSL bot with a Video Plugin. With the plugin, WSL team sends promo videos and link to live videos to users.
All that is needed is to paste a URL link to the file into the plugin.
Video Plugin features:
Supported formats: MP4
Maximum file size: 20MB
Hosting on Dropbox if you don’t have a hosting of your own
Btw, when using Dropbox, you have to replace “www” by “dl” at the beginning of the file URL. Here is an example of the what you should look like https://dl.dropbox.com/s/sample.mp4
The JSON API
We used one more trick to increase user engagement: gamification. In the game we created, users can check how well they know wave names and where they are from, as well as share results to show friends how advanced they are and challenge them. The sharing option spreads your chatbot all over Facebook.
This approach is successful for user retention rates as it gets people back in the bot to play time and time again.
In our case, the game was implemented with the help of JSON as game logic and the question database are stored on the backend. Also, the plugin allows you to:
Generate dynamic content
Get and set user attributes
Redirect users to another block in the chatbot
Google site search plugin makes it easy to display content from your website in the chatbot. It also crawls your site for new content on a regular basis to keep your bots content updated.
With Google Search, we implemented the Search for Athlete function. Users are able to search for their favorite athletes by entering a search query right in Facebook Messenger. The information is taken from the WSL website.
All that plugin jazz may seem like a long and complicated way to building a cool bot with high user engagement. But the key message is this: make your chatbot fun and easy to use by posting high-quality content and providing quick access to information. That is exactly what plugins help with.
Also published on Medium.