A great welcome message is a substantial part of every chatbot experience. This is something that every chatbot user will see first, and remember – you never have a second chance to make the first impression.
When you create a new project, usually there will be some sort of default welcome message pre-programmed.
A welcome message is controlled by the “start” skill that is present in every chatbot. When you create a new chatbot, this skill will contain a default welcome message:
The default template of the bot’s welcome message
Building your “start” skill
Now you have complete control over what will be happening when users start communicating with your chatbot. Use basic message blocks to build engaging welcome message – with galleries, buttons, and quick replies.
Go to the “Automation – Skills” in the menu and choose the “_start” skill in the tabs on top of your screen.
Click here to open the “_start” skill
By default, this skill will send two text messages – one with the greeting, and another with extra details on how to customize the skill.
Default text blocks in the “_start” skill
Feel free to edit any of these blocks by clicking them and changing the text message in the editor. If you want to keep it short, delete the second block by clicking it and hitting DEL.
Building advanced chatbot welcome messages
The “_start” skill (and the welcome message that it sends) are commonly used as a short onboarding for the new users who interact with your agent or website for the first time. It’s a good place to greet your customer and offer him/her some help or describe available self-service options.
As a quick example, let’s use the “start” skill to display a short personalized welcome message and then show a simple chatbot menu with a gallery block.
Example of the “start” skill with a simple chatbot menu
Two things to mention here:
Notice the use of the $_first_namesystem attribute to insert the user’s first name (from his/her Facebook profile) into our welcome message.
Notice the use of another CATCH block listening to the “main_menu” event. It will allow you to display the menu gallery from any part of your chatbot conversation by sending this event with a SEND block. Yes, you can have multiple CATCH blocks in a single skill – just pay attention to proper conversational design to avoid infinite loops and multiple skills running in parallel.
Using galleries for chatbot menus
Using galleries (or “carousels”) for chatbot menus is a common practice among chatbot developers. In this example, we’re using three gallery cards with three buttons each to split our menu into three sections – “About us”, “Services” and “Portfolio”.
Each of the buttons in these cards will trigger a specific skill in the chatbot. This makes complex chatbot conversations easier to manage.
Example of a gallery used to display the chatbot menu with event buttons
Here’s the resulting welcome message in the actual chatbot:
Customized chatbot welcome message with a simple gallery menu