How To Create a Chatbot Step-By-Step

How To Create a Chatbot Step-By-Step
17 April, 2024 • ... • 26 views
Dmitry Teckel
by Dmitry Teckel

Chatbots are commonplace now. It’s rare to see a website that doesn’t have a pop-up window with a friendly assistant, or a business that doesn’t redirect users to its Telegram bot. Their presence is inescapable.

So why not join the trend? Chatbots are here for a reason, and having one has many benefits. But what exactly are they and how to get one? In this article, you’ll learn how to make a chatbot and implement it into your workflow, even if you have no coding experience at all.

Reasons to make a chatbot for your business

Seems like every company uses a chatbot nowadays — but what is a chatbot in the first place? To put it simply, it is an automated assistant that can help customers find answers to their questions, place an order, or send feedback in an easy and interactive way. The chatbots are built through dedicated platforms that allow bot owners to fine-tune their functionality and use them in different marketing channels, such as a website or a messenger.

But even before you learn how to create a chatbot and implement it into your business, you must have a clear idea of why you want to have it at all. There are several benefits that you can achieve by setting up a chatbot. It all comes down to two general ideas — improved interaction with the customers and optimization of your own resources. Let’s take a closer look at what you gain when you create a chatbot.

Improve customer service

It’s hard to maintain round-the-clock service, especially when you deal with lots of customers. Luckily, some queries can be automated. Chatbots can easily guide your clients through placing and tracking orders, they can troubleshoot issues and act as intelligent and personalized assistants. Building a chatbot means minimizing the wait for a response and making the customer journey faster and more comfortable.

Generate more leads

Don’t limit your chatbot to the role of a glorified FAQ — make it a star of your marketing and lead generation campaigns. Give your customers something nice and useful in return for their phone number or email address. Program the chatbot to offer a promo code, free PDF, or early access to new products if the visitor gives the chatbot their contacts during the conversation. This way you can effortlessly gather new leads to use in your email campaigns and on other marketing platforms — just create the chatbot and wait!

Reduce costs

Running a 24/7 support team is a big investment of budget and people resources. Chatbot integrations can both save your funds and allow your employees to move their efforts to other tasks. If you host your chatbots in Telegram, the messenger doesn’t charge you anything for its Bot API. And most of the chatbot building platforms have affordable and flexible pricing.

Boost engagement

A conversational chatbot can become a part of your brand identity and motivate clients to use it or visit your website more often. Establish a memorable personality for your chatbot, include a wide variety of interactions, and don’t forget about regular updates to boost engagement. It’s all about creating a companion that will help people keep in touch with your business and return for more.

How to make a chatbot from scratch step-by-step

Building chatbots is not as complicated as it may look. There’s no need to learn to code or hire a specialist, just a suitable platform. There are accessible tools that will make this process quick and straightforward, such as Selzy chatbot builder. With this platform, you’ll be able to create, test, and launch your first Telegram chatbot in under an hour! Why Telegram? This messenger is gradually growing in popularity with 800 million monthly active users worldwide as of July 2023, and its API makes it one of the most accessible platforms to host easy-to-use chatbots.

Here’s the step-by-step process of creating a chatbot with our dedicated platform. And if you need further information, be sure to check out our Help Center to learn all there is to know about chatbots!

  1. Define the purpose and use cases

You need to establish the purpose of your chatbot in the very beginning, as it defines the next development steps. Think of the possible reasons why your clients would need to chat with the bot. Provide help, collect customer’s personal data, give out promo codes, or gather feedback — these are just a few options for the chatbot functionality. You should plan a unique communication scenario for each one of them.

In some cases, it’s better to have separate bots for different situations. For example, Telegram chatbots are a great way to offer customer support to your clients, so you should invest your time into creating a chatbot that can provide help and answer questions. You may also want to use Telegram as a platform to host some form of creative interaction with your audience, such as a quiz or a competition. It may be better to create another chatbot specifically for that, so you don’t overwhelm the user with a cluttered interface.

  1. Get the chatbot token from Telegram

When you are ready to start building the chatbot on Selzy’s platform, your first step is getting a token from the Telegram Bot API platform. This will create a new account within the messenger — the virtual real estate that you will use to host your bot.

To get a token and register a new chatbot, go to @BotFather, open the dialogue, and type in or click /newbot in the menu. Follow the prompts to enter the chatbot name (the one your visitors will see) and username (this will act as the chatbot link).

The first thing to do in making a bot is go to @BotFather, type in /newbot, and give it a name

You will then receive a confirmation message containing your chatbot token, highlighted in red letters. This is the code you should use in your chatbot platform to connect it to Telegram’s Bot API. Copy it and go to the Selzy builder.

After you name the bot, @BotFather will give you an API token to use in the builder
  1. Connect the bot to Selzy

Once you’re logged in to the Selzy platform, choose Chatbots in the left menu, and then click Add scenario in the middle of the screen. In the opened scenario, click on the Merge button in the upper right:

In Selzy builder, create a new scenario, and then hit the Merge button to start making a bot with your token

It will open a window with a three-step instruction. Enter your chatbot token into the field and click Connect chatbot:

In the merge window, input the token into a white field to connect the chatbot to the Selzy platform

The builder is now linked to the Bot API. You are ready to create your first chatbot in Selzy!

  1. Create the conversation flow

Now that everything is set up, it’s time to start building the chatbot. The process is pretty straightforward. Think of it as a puzzle game that tests your logic. You have a starting point that triggers the conversation. Your aim is to create a natural and clear path for the user to achieve the end goal —  the information or action they came for.

The conversation flow in Selzy and other platforms is created by connecting building blocks

You create flows by moving, editing, and connecting building blocks that represent user choices and your chatbot’s responses. The blocks allow you to create menus, show messages, collect data, and so on. The best thing is that there’s absolutely no coding involved, so the Selzy platform is suitable even for beginners.

Here’s a simple flow that offers users to share their emails to subscribe to a newsletter:

An example of a chatbot that can collect user’s email data for newsletter subscription

Try to keep the tone of the interaction conversational and engaging. Even though it’s not an AI-based chatbot capable of response generation, it’s always better to maintain the human-like dialogue flow. You can even give your chatbot a character and personality to boost the user experience even more.

  1. Test conversation flows

Once your work on the flow is done, you can save and sync it to your Telegram chatbot by clicking Publish in the upper right corner. Then you can test everything from the user’s side and ask your colleagues to do the same. This stage is your opportunity to fine-tune your chatbots before you start to promote them.

The builder won’t let you publish the bot if there are any crucial mistakes, such as missing filter conditions or broken logic between blocks. So don’t worry — there is little to no chance to launch a non-working chatbot.

  1. Launch and iterate

When you are happy with the chatbot, tell your customers about it and share the link. The bot will run according to the established script. Whenever you receive text messages from customers, they will appear on the Online chats screen in the Chatbots section.

You can see all of your conversations in the Online chats tab within the Selzy chatbot platform

Don’t be shy to ask for feedback. It will help you make your chatbots better and improve their usability. Your customers can give you fresh ideas on what to develop next and how you can enrich the experience of using the chatbot.

Tips on how to build a chatbot and make the most of it

Need some guidance in your chatbot building? Here are some concepts that will help you create top-notch chatbots and win people over.

Focus on solving a real user need

Put yourself into your customers’ shoes. When people encounter issues or want to learn something new, they need clear and straightforward information. You or your developers should always check that your chatbot has a conversation flow that leads to real solutions.

It doesn’t matter if you are creating automated support or plan to make direct sales through the chatbot — the same principle works for any type of bot. Use analytics to narrow down cases that your audience might need help with the most. Then try to condense as much user benefit into the bot as possible to ensure the most user-friendly experience. If you are building the chatbot solely to hunt for leads but fail to make it useful to the customer, this might lead to frustration.

Keep the conversations short and concise

One of the main ideas behind chatbots is the illusion of natural conversation. People use them to get what they need and do it fast. When you engage in a natural dialogue, you expect your companion to directly reply to your questions, not cite the user manual. That’s why it is not the greatest idea to put walls of text into the chatbot.

Skeddy is a Telegram bot that offers great functionality but relies on lengthy explanatory messages.
Skeddy is a popular bot that sets reminders for you, so here’s one from us — optimize your flow to avoid lengthy tutorials like this one
Skeddy is a Telegram bot that offers great functionality but relies on lengthy explanatory messages.
Skeddy is a popular bot that sets reminders for you, so here’s one from us — optimize your flow to avoid lengthy tutorials like this one

Real people keep their replies short. When building the script, keep the length of initial greetings and clarifying questions to one or two sentences. Use longer messages to give important information such as instructions and confirmations. This way the chatbot will serve its purpose while being fast and pleasant to use.

Give the bot a personality

Speaking of fun, why not make your chatbot feel like a person? This will make the experience of using it more akin to having a real conversation and not just pressing buttons in a robotized box.

HelloFresh uses a personified chatbot that can answer technical queries and help navigate through menu options.
Here’s some inspiration: Brie from HelloFresh handles customer service in a way that a real employee would

Personified assistants tend to be more likable and memorable. They can even boost your brand image and open new possibilities for communication with your audience. Professionals argue that it is crucial to give your chatbots some sort of human traits to stand out on the market. But be sure to make the personality align with the tone and feel of your business. For example, building a playful child-friendly mascot for a law firm would be counterintuitive, to say the least.

Integrate with other channels

Don’t treat chatbots as the ultimate solution to all your business needs. There are situations when the algorithm is just not enough — cases where only human interaction can solve your client’s issue. This is where your customer support comes in, taking over the scripted chatbot.

And there are always marketing opportunities for integrating your chatbot with other channels. Invite people from your website to interact with the chatbot, gather their information through prompts, and use it to send out personalized newsletters through email marketing automation tools. Pick topics and offers based on what you learn from their interactions with the bot and approach clients with what’s important to them. The omnichannel approach is the real deal, and the chatbots can easily be the centerpiece of it.

Update the bot continuously

Don’t stop at the 1.0 release. Just as any other product that you deal with, chatbots need to grow and evolve. As your business develops, the chatbot should reflect the changes and improvements. When you introduce new products, widen your area of operations, or run a sale, be sure to add it to the bot as well.

And don’t neglect what’s already there. You might want to change, update, or improve older information to make it more relevant. Or you can iterate between different versions of certain responses to see what works best. Once again, your chatbot should feel somewhat close to a real human being, and it’s only natural for a person to grow and become more efficient at what they do.

Gather user feedback

Customers are the most important part of your business. When you roll out a new product or feature, you should at least get to know what they think about it. Chatbots are no exception. Offer your users to write back about their experiences and what they would want to improve in the chatbot. They may point you towards a direction you didn’t think about or deemed unimportant.

This is just another way of making the interaction between your brand and your clients feel like a proper dialogue. Let people see that you really listen, and build relations based on mutual trust and loyalty.

Track performance

Keep up with the conversations and use analytics to see what happens when people use your bot. Selzy’s bot platform lets you see the number of interactions and clicks for each separate block that you’ve added to your scenario. This way you can see what your customers really use the bot for and how their conversations are going.

You can see the number of interactions with each block on the bot scenario page

These analytics can tell you a lot not only about the chatbot but about your business as well. If a lot of people click on the same issue in the FAQ section of the bot, that may signal that some part of your product doesn’t work as intended. Or you may see some interest towards features that you never deemed important. That’s the power of keeping in touch with your audience, and chatbots offer yet another way to do so.

Final thoughts

Having a chatbot may seem like a secondary thing to do, but it opens up a number of possibilities. Getting to know your customers a little bit better, having another way to speak directly to them and get their feedback — these are just a few of the benefits that you can have by using chatbots. Add an improved brand image and integrations with other channels and you have a stellar new tool for your marketing arsenal.

Using chatbot builders is easy and doesn’t involve any coding at all. Just follow the few easy steps:

  • Think of the purpose and use cases
  • Pick the best chatbot platform that works for you 
  • Get the API and connect your bot
  • Create the conversation flow and build anything you’d like
  • Publish the bot and keep updating it

When all is down, invite people into your bot and let it speak for you, quite literally!

17 April, 2024
Article by
Dmitry Teckel
I got into digital marketing 5 years ago. When writing, I combine this experience with my background in journalsim. My passion is to research complex marketing stuff and turn it into a gripping, easy-to-read story. Writer by day, by night I play in a band and carve wood.
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