How to Create and Use Conversation Bots

What are Conversation Bots?

Conversation bots interact with contacts and perform automated actions based on your contact responses. They automate back and forth texting for all kinds of things – taking orders, entering a giveaway, registering for an event.

Conversation Bots are available through all Shout services – Shout-to-Shout (S2S), Facebook Business Page integration, or Customer Service and Marketing text numbers. 

How to Create a Conversation Bot

Conversation bots can only be created on a computer, tablet, or from the web browser of your mobile phone at www.shout.app. As you start building, you’ll see an at-a-glance outline of your bot flow on the right side of your screen. 

Step 1: Create a New Bot

  • Click on Automations in the left navigation to show a drop down menu
  • Click Bots 
  • Click the blue button at the top left of the screen 
  • Select Conversation Bot 

Step 2: Name Your Bot

Every good bot needs a name! This will only be visible to you and those you share your bot with, so pick a name that will help you remember what it does and how to use it. 

Step 3: Select Services

Decide which services you want your bot to listen to. Services include:

  • S2S
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Customer Service number
  • Marketing number

Step 4: Create Trigger Words 

Trigger words are what contacts will send to start a bot. Your bot will be listening for exact matches to your trigger word. 

  • Keep these simple! The incoming message needs to match exactly for the bot to take over, so make it easy for your customers to get them right.
  • You can have multiple trigger words by clicking Add Trigger Word. Delete those you don’t need with the Trash Can icon.
  • Trigger words for bots and drip campaigns are not case sensitive, and if you have two of the same trigger word, it won't let you use the bot (ex. VIP and vip).
  • In order to fix this, delete all of the trigger words, save, and then add back one version of the trigger word (ex. vip).

Step 5: Select Question Type

Select the question type you want to include in your bot. You have a variety to choose from:

  • Free Responses send a message, then wait for the contact to reply
  • Multiple Choice questions require a contact to respond with a number or matching word or phrase to move on to the next question
  • Topic Questions function the same way as multiple choice questions but automatically mark the conversation in the inbox with a label that corresponds with the topic 
  • Contact Info can ask a user for name, email, phone, address, or birthday and store it in the contact profile
  • Yes/No questions behave like a multiple choice question but only allow contacts to choose between two options. You can rewrite the questions and options. 
  • Message type questions send a single message, then move on to the next question in the bot
  • If you already have a contact's information, bots will skip those questions so you don't receive redundant contact information.
  • Name questions for easy internal reference in the bot flow on the right side of your screen
  • Reorder messages clicking on ••• and selecting Move Up or Move Down
  • Delete a message clicking on ••• and selecting Remove Message
  • Use the segment counter in each question to keep track of how many segments your bot will use

Step 6: Add Actions

Actions can take place at any point in the conversation, including before the bot begins or after it’s done. An action can:

  • Add or remove a contact from a list
  • Add or remove a tag from a contact
  • Assign or unassign a channel from a contact
  • Mute or unmute a conversation
  • Send a response to a multiple-choice option
  • Assign a topic to identify the conversation at a glance in your inbox
  • Auto-mark done to move the conversation out of your Inbox to the Done folder
  • Run a new bot, ending the current bot and starting a new one
  • Run a drip campaign
  • Assign a recurring event
  • End this bot

If a Drip Campaign is set to run a Bot, that action will be ignored inside of a Drip Campaign running to a Group Chat. 

How to Test Your Conversation Bot

Before activating your bot, take it for a test run. 

  • Click Save & Preview at the top of your screen
  • A new window will open, use the bot trigger word and start chatting
  • Restart the conversation by clicking the ⟲ at the top of the conversation
  • Previews will never use up your message segments

How to Activate Your Bot 

Make sure your bot is set to Active or Pause.  When active, your bot will listen for its trigger words, can be activated with share links, or started manually in the message window. 

Check out Malie's Use Case to see how she was able to streamline Shout support using Bots, and how Amber balances work and home life by using Bots

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