DIY: Creating a Facebook Messenger Chatbot

Is it common for your customers to message you via Facebook with basic questions, comments or complaints? Customers expect a lightning fast response to their questions, but it can be hard to have your social media account open 24/7.

Now, this is almost possible with Facebook Messenger’s new feature, Chatbots. This feature provides a way to automate your most common customer interactions and deliver the right answer the moment the customer asks.

Chatbot building used to require coding knowledge, but luckily that is no longer the case. There are several different places to build chatbots, but the two that are used the most with Facebook Messenger are Chatfuel and API.ai. Both are free, simple to use and require no coding.

I decided to use Chatfuel for this guide because it was super easy and will excel for beginners or small businesses wanting to try their hand at chatbot building because of its simple features.

In this blog, you will learn how to set up Facebook Messenger Chatbots and how it can be beneficial to your small business.

 Building a Chatbot

It is fairly simple to build a chatbot. In fact, with this process, you can get it done in about 10 minutes (depending on the depth you go into of course). This step-by-step tutorial will give you all the information you need to successfully answer customers through automated responses.

Step 1: Connect your Facebook account to the Chatfuel chatbot builder

Luckily, the first step is the easiest step. When starting this step, make sure you are logged into Facebook on the browser you are going to connect to Chatfuel in.

Then select the “get started for free” button on Chatfuel. This button will enable Chatfuel to bring up a Facebook connection page that will allow it to access your information on Facebook. Once you authorize it, you will be taken back to Chatfuel chatbot builder where you will choose which Facebook page you want to connect with.

Step 2: Connect to your Facebook business page

Chatbots can only be used on organization Facebook pages, not individual pages. If you haven’t already done so, create a Facebook page for your business, so that you have a page to tie your chatbot to.

If you have a Facebook page created simply click on it, and you’re on your way to having a chatbot.

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Step 3: Create a welcome message and default answer

A welcome message is the first interaction your customers will have with your chatbot, so make sure it’s excellent.

The welcome message should be a short sentence to introduce your chatbot followed by asking, “How can I help?”

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After creating your welcome, it is important to make a default message. This message will be shown if the customer asks a question that you don’t have AI detection set up for. This could be something along the lines of, “I’m not sure what you are asking. Can one of the options below help you?”

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Remember to link your default message to your navigation items (we will discuss this in the next step).

Step 4: Set up your conversation navigation

Now we will build your conversation navigation. This allows an individual to work with your chatbot.

For example, Mary Smith wants to know directions to and the summer hours of your garden center. Sample questions she might ask are:

  • What is your address?
  • Is it in town or out of town?
  • Will the drive be on paved roads?
  • What are your hours in the summer?

In order to set up conversation navigation, you have to create a “block” for each question. Don’t worry; this is super easy! Click on “add block” and choose a title for your block. For the questions above, you could use titles like address, directions, road conditions and summer hours.

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Step 5: Link your blocks to the main navigation

Now, go back to your welcome message page and click “add button” on the message block. Choose a name for your block. This is what your customer will see when selecting what option they want to learn about. Then click on which block you want it to link the customer to for their answer.

However, you don’t always have to link it to a block. The other two options are URL or phone call.

  • URL: Insert a URL that the customer can click on that will take them outside of Facebook Messenger and to a different page. This can be very useful if you want to show the customer something specific you already have online. For example, you could insert a link to a printable map with the location of your garden center.
  • Phone call: Enter what phone number you want your customer to have access to in order to get their questions answered. This will allow the user to have the phone number directly pop- up and call you.

Step 6: Adding your chatbot dialogue

This is the step where you can create the content that is shown when a customer asks a specific question. Click on the block on the left, and it will bring up the block without content. Choose a block type from these different options:

  • Text card: This is the most common block on Chatfuel because it is just text. This is great for quick answers, so type whatever the answer is to that question.
  • Gallery: This allows you to add pictures to better explain your answer. If you customer asks the chatbot, “Can I see some pictures?” it will bring up whatever gallery it has on that topic.

In addition to the pictures, you can add a heading, subtitles, descriptions or URL for the picture.

  • Image: This is another simple block like text card and slightly differs from gallery. Upload an image to your image block and when prompted in the conversation the chatbot will show that image.
  • Quick reply: Building this option into a block allows you to show a reply instead of taking the customer to a new card. This makes it seem like your customer is chatting with a real person instead of a chatbot.
  • Plugin: This option opens your chatbot a whole new level of opportunities. With plugin, you can intergrade other programs to work with your chatbot. For instance, you could link your chatbot with IFTTT, a powerful automation tool that links to a large amount online services like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Chatfuel and many more, and when your customer asks, “Can I see examples of your products?” your chatbot will take them to your Instagram pictures of your items that you used #newproduct for.

Step 7: Creating your artificial intelligence

Once you’ve added all of the content you want into your blocks, on the left side click on “Set up AI”. This step requires a bunch of brainstorming on your part. Think of as many possible questions your customers could ask your chatbot as possible and then add the correct answers. The answers can be direct text you come up with or link back to one of the blocks you have already created.

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There are two different parts to this step:

  • Phrases to watch for: These are different words or phrases you want the chatbot to specifically be on the lookout for.
  • Content to display: After the chatbot has found what words or phrases you were wanting it to watch for, it will bring the specific content that goes along with it. There will be a drop down menu that will give you the options of “text” or “block”. A text you add the new, direct text to and a block will take you back to one you’ve already created.

Step 8: Launch your chatbot… Finally!

I lied when I said the first step was the easiest because honestly, Chatfuel makes the last step way too simple.

Chatfuel is a master at launching your chabot because as you’ve been creating your perfect chatbot, it has been saving everything along the way. This means you don’t have to do anything except promote your new chatbot on your own page and/or website.

On the left side menu, click “Promote” and copy the URL in and share it everywhere.

Building your own chatbot isn’t so scary!

Now that you’ve created your own chatbot, hopefully in record time, your customers will never be left hanging. You will have the perfect automated responses ready to go and boost your business with great customer service through social media.

Still unsure of Facebook Messenger chatbots? Check out the infographic below! It lists the 4 ways chatbots will improve your small business.

Chatbot infographic.jpg

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