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WhatsApp chatbots 101: Automating your conversations

Updated on
Nov 30, 202311 min read
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    Table of content

  • Why WhatsApp Chatbot? 
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  • Basics of WhatsApp Chatbots
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  • Creating your First WhatsApp Chatbot
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  • Optimizing Conversations with Chatbot
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  • Understanding and Resolving Common Issues 
  • Conclusion

A chatbot on WhatsApp can reply to messages for you. Indeed, you don't even have to lift a finger.

These chatbots can do many neat things. Say, you run a take-out and people want to place their orders by texting. A chatbot can handle that! It takes down orders, answers common queries, and even gives updates when the food is ready.

Or maybe you manage a big team for work, and there are frequent updates to share. A chatbot can send those messages for you, so you save time and avoid mix-ups. It’s that smart!

Chatbots are rather handy in many ways, and getting them started on WhatsApp is simple too. You don’t need tech whiz skills. Just follow this guide, one step at a time, and you'll have a chatbot, ready to work for you 24/7!

This guide helps you make the most of WhatsApp chatbots. You'll learn why they're good, how to set them up, and ways to keep conversations flowing smoothly. Ready? Let's do this!

Why WhatsApp Chatbot? 

You might be wondering, "Why should I even bother with a WhatsApp chatbot?" Good question. WhatsApp is more than just an app for casual chatting. It offers a simple way to reach out to others. Let's break down why are a big deal for you.

Reach People Where They Are

Here's the thing: about 2 billion people use WhatsApp. Yes, billion with a "B". It's a sea of people who text, share, and talk daily. So, when you use a chatbot here, you meet people right where they always are. It's a no-brainer!

No Extra Apps

Many chatbots need separate applications. But who wants to juggle more apps? WhatsApp chatbots live in WhatsApp itself. You get the fancy chatbot power within an app you already use. That's nifty!

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Cut the Wait

Got customers waiting for replies? That's not cool. With a chatbot, there's no more waiting around. Questions, orders, or updates — your chatbot is on it. It gives instant replies all day, every day.

Always Alert, Always Ready

A chatbot doesn't need coffee breaks. It doesn't sleep. It's up and ready 24/7. It's like having your digital helper always there, ready to handle your chats.

Not a Chatterbox

A chatbot doesn't ramble or go off-topic. It sticks to the point and keeps things straightforward. Just what you want in a fast-paced world.

Learn and Improve

And the best part? Your chatbot learns. It gets better over time, picking up patterns, common questions, and more. It's like training a new team member who never forgets.

So, there you have it! WhatsApp chatbots are about getting things done faster, simpler, and smarter. Switch on a chatbot, and get ready for a smoother ride!

Basics of WhatsApp Chatbots

Before going full steam ahead, let's pause for a sec. Let's understand what a WhatsApp chatbot can do. After all, knowing your tool is half the job done. Ready for a little chatbot basics 101?

Automated Responses

Imagine this: you get a text. The chatbot scans it. Sees some keywords. And boom! It sends a reply. That's the heart of a chatbot — spotting words and giving pre-set replies. You set it up once, and it does it over and over.

Template Messages

Chatbots aren't drab. They use template messages. These have some text, and there's room to plug in names, order details, and more. Like "Hey, [Name], your pizza will be ready in 20 minutes. Enjoy!" See, it's personal, and yet, all automated.

Quick Replies

Worried about boring your chat buddies with long waits? Don’t be! The chatbot can send quick replies. It's like "Fast Forward" for your chats. You define these rapid responses to frequently asked questions. And the chatbot makes them fly.

Fallback Messages

What if someone sends an unusual request, and the chatbot gets puzzled? No worries, it has a fallback message. It's a polite way of saying "Hmm, I didn't get that. Can you try again?" It keeps the conversation going, smooth as butter.

24/7 Availability

The best part? Your chatbot doesn't have office hours. It doesn't do weekends or holidays. It's there every minute, every day. It's like your digital helper, tirelessly taking care of your conversations.

These are the basics of a WhatsApp chatbot. Once you make friends with these, you'll be in the driver's seat. The chatbot will do the rest. Easy-peasy.

BotPenguin provides chatbots for different platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Website, and Squarespace:

Creating your First WhatsApp Chatbot

Ever built a robot? No? Well, think of creating a chatbot like building a friendly robot that talks. It sounds complicated, but it's actually easy and fun when you break it down. So, let's do this together, step-by-basic-step.

Step 1
Choose a Platform

First things first: you need a platform to create your chatbot. It's like the workshop for your chatbot. Many platforms are available like Twilio API for WhatsApp, or Chatfuel, but the best one’s always BotPenguin. It’s user-friendly and helpful and has ChatGPT Integration support.

Step 2
Connect the Chatbot to WhatsApp

Like puzzle pieces, your chatbot and WhatsApp need to connect. The trick is WhatsApp Business API. It's a magic portal that lets your chatbot enter WhatsApp Land. Each platform has its way of doing this, but they'll guide you.

Step 3
Make a Bot Flow

The chatbot needs a playbook, a guide on who says what. It's called a bot flow. A good bot flow is pleasant and sounds human. Prepare a list of tentative user inputs and chatbot responses.

Step 4
Set Up Automated Messages

Remember those automated responses we spoke about? Now's the time to set them up. Consider common questions your customers will ask, and set up responses. Like, "What's your opening hours?" could get an automatic reply of, "We are open from 9 am to 9 pm every day."

Step 5
Personalize with Templates

Now, let’s sprinkle your chats with a personal touch. Using templates, add in custom information like names, order details, or dates. It helps the chats sound friendly and human.

Step 6
Ready Quick Replies

Imagine the questions you get asked a lot. You can pre-set quick replies to these. For example, any message with the word "pricing" could get an automatic list of your prices.

Step 7
Build Fallback Messages

Sometimes, your chatbot might get puzzled. That's when you use a fallback message. It's a polite way of saying, "I didn’t understand that. Could you try again?" So, frame a courteous fallback message, just in case.

Step 8
Test Your Chatbot

Alright, you've built your chatbot. Time to test it out. Check if it's catching keywords, giving the right replies, and generally, if it's sounding friendly and helpful.

Step 9
Go Live

Ready for the big, bright world? Flip the switch, and your chatbot goes live! Texts will keep coming, and your chatty robot friend will handle them all.

Step 10
Keep an Eye

A chatbot isn't a fix-it-and-forget-it thing. Keep an eye on it. What's it doing well? Where can it do better? Use these insights to keep making your bot smoother and smarter.

And there you are! In ten steps, you've created your very own WhatsApp chatbot. It'll juggle your chats for you, leaving you free to focus on what you do best. You're not just playing the game, you're changing it. Get ready for big things to come!

Optimizing Conversations with Chatbot

Alright, now that your chatbot is up and running, let's not stop there. Let's take your chats from just 'good' to 'wow, that's brilliant!'.

Optimizing your chatbot is all about tweaking the gears to make it even better. So, how exactly do you go about making your conversational companion the best it can be? Here are a few pointers.

Step 1
Understand Your Users

Deep dive into what your users want. Which questions do they ask most? Which replies make them happy? Use this to train your chatbot better.

Step 2
Keep It Simple

Straightforward is super. Short sentences win the race. Keep the bot's language clear and easy. Nobody likes a chatterbot.

Step 3
Use a Friendly Tone

Robots don't need to sound robotic. Your bot can be friendly, cheerful, and warm. It's all in the words you pick.

Step 4
Personalize Messages

Templates are your secret spice. Turn your 'Happy Birthday' into 'Happy Birthday, Sam!' It's about making people feel special.

Step 5
Offer Options

Sometimes, people don't know what to ask. Help them along. Offer options to quicken the chat. Like, "Press 1 for Office hours, Press 2 for the menu."

Step 6
Test Regularly

The secret sauce to optimization? Test. Then test again. And then, yes, you guessed right, test some more. Each test will take you closer to perfect.

Step 7
Gather Feedback

Ask your users how they feel about their chat experience. Feedback is your friend. Use it to grow better and smarter.

These steps can optimize your conversions, and make your chatbot a joy to talk to. Remember, the aim is friendly, fast, and fantastic. All the way!

Understanding and Resolving Common Issues 

So you've got your chatbot running - congratulations! But as with everything, some hiccups might come up. That's okay. Let's talk about how to understand and resolve common issues.

Problem 1
Not Understanding User Input

This is a common speed bump. Why is it happening? Mostly, it's because the bot hasn't been taught that specific input. The solution? Keep teaching your bot. Regularly update your bot flow with new user inputs and responses.

Problem 2
Sending Wrong Replies

Your chatbot might sometimes reply wrong. This could be because, in bot flow, a user input may be linked to an incorrect response. Check and correct your bot flow.

Problem 3
Repetitive Fallback Messages

Getting too many fallbacks? It usually means that the bot is facing a lot of unknown inputs. Train your bot with more inputs to help it understand better.

Problem 4
Bot Seems Unfriendly

Personality matters, even for bots. If your bot comes off as mechanical, try infusing some warmth in messages. Use emojis, informal language, whatever works.

No bot is perfect at the start. And that's okay. Patience and regular tweaks will make your bot better and smarter. Bumpy rides can lead to smooth roads!

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In conclusion, you can think of chatbots as your friendly robot aides for managing conversations on WhatsApp. With just a few steps, you can create your first WhatsApp chatbot, connect it to the platform, and optimize it for seamless user interactions.

Always begin by choosing the right platform (like BotPenguin) that fits your needs. Create and connect your chatbot, set up automated messages, and add personalized templates and quick replies. Don't forget to include fallback messages for occasions when the chatbot might need help.

Optimizing conversations is essential to ensure that your chatbot delivers an impressive experience. Understand your users, simplify the language, use a friendly tone, provide options, gather feedback, and keep testing your chatbot for improvements.

Moreover, recognizing and resolving common issues is vital for a smooth operation. Addressing problems like not understanding user input, sending incorrect replies, repetitive fallback messages, or the bot being unfriendly can be resolved by constantly refining your chatbot.

In short, creating and maintaining a successful chatbot might appear daunting, but with a methodical approach, patience, and constant improvements, you can make your chatbot an invaluable companion for your customers. Embrace the future of communication and provide an exceptional chatting experience to your users with a well-designed, warm, and efficient chatbot.

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