Get Started with Flow XO

Flow XO offers numerous features to build, host, and manage chatbots for social platforms. This tutorial will help you with some of the basics of Flow XO. You’ll learn how to ask your user a question, then respond depending on the answer. You’ll also learn how to test your chatbot in Facebook Messenger.

If you don’t already have a free Flow XO account, get yours now.

Let’s say you offer a prepaid phone service. Your customers usually have questions about billing or tech support. You can create a chatbot in Flow XO that will direct your customers to the type of product support they need.

Create a Bot for Facebook Messenger

First, you’ll need to create a bot and add it to Facebook Messenger. In Flow XO, a bot is what users interact with. Later, you’ll create a flow that tells your bot how to respond to user input.

Before you create a bot:

  1. Sign in to Facebook. If you don’t have an account, create one.
  2. Create a Facebook Page. This Page is where users can access your chatbot.

Next, create a bot in Flow XO.

  1. Sign into Flow XO. Open the editor to the Bots page.
  2. Click + New Bot, and select Messenger in the Choose a Platform window.
  3. Give your bot a descriptive Name.
  4. Leave the Welcome Text blank for now.
  5. Click Login to Facebook, and let Flow XO view your Pages.
  6. The Create a Bot window should now have a Facebook Page menu. Select your page in the drop-down list.
  7. The window should look something like this. Click Next to continue.

Now, test your bot. Click Message Us in the Test & Distribute window. This will take you to Facebook Messenger where you can try your new chatbot.

At this point, you’ll see a greeting, and nothing else. To interact with users, your bot needs a flow.

Create a New Flow

In Flow XO, a flow is a message or action that your chatbot responds to. In this tutorial, you’ll create a flow that asks the user a question and responds depending on their answer.

You can create your own flow or install the shared Product Support flow.

To set up a new flow:

  1. Open the Flow XO editor to the Flows page.
  2. Click + New Flow.
  3. Select Blank Flow in the Templates window.
  4. Give your flow a descriptive title.

Set Up a Trigger

Every flow starts with a trigger. A trigger tells the chatbot what user input to listen for. Your flow will begin when the user’s input matches the trigger.

For example, a user could type, “I have a question about my bill”. If this matches the trigger, your bot will start the flow. Or, you could give the user a button to press that will trigger the flow.

To set up a trigger for your flow:

  1. Click + to create a trigger.
  2. Select Bot in the Choose a Service window.
  3. Select New Message as your Trigger.

The New Message window displays options for your trigger. Here, you can tell your bot when to start the flow.

  • Which bots should listen?: Select which active bots should listen for the trigger. For now, select All bots should listen.
  • Words or Phrases: Enter some text that a user can type to trigger a flow. Add one word or phrase per line.
  • Message Types: This tells your bot which messages to listen to.
  • Show a Shortcut Button?: Create an optional button that will trigger the flow. For this tutorial, select Yes. The first line under Words or Phrases will be your button text.
  • Additional Welcome Text: An optional field. Type some text to help users get started.

When you’re done with the New Message form:

  1. Click Next at the bottom of the New Message window.
  2. Click Next again in the Filter window. There’s no need to add a filter yet.
  3. Give your trigger a descriptive Name.
  4. Click Save to finish the trigger. You can edit it later if you need to.
Note: It’s a good idea give every action in your flow a clear name so that you find it later. The name you choose will display on the Flows page. It will also help you when you need to refer back to it from other actions.

Ask a Question

Now that you have initiated a flow, your bot can ask a question.

  1. On the Flow page, click + to add a task.
  2. Click Bot in the Choose a Service window.
  3. For your action, select Ask a Question.

The Ask a Question window has several options:

  • Response Path: Select your trigger. If you didn’t name your trigger, it will display as New Message in the drop-down.
  • Question Type: The type of question you’re asking. For this tutorial, select Choice to give the user a list of options.
  • Question: Ask the user a question.
  • Choices: Enter choices that the user can select. Click + Add to add more choices. Leave the Value field empty.
  • Set Reminder: Set this to Yes.
  • Notify on Expiry: Set this to Yes.
  • Skip Question: Set this to No.

When you’re done with the Ask a Question form:

  1. Click Next at the bottom of the Ask a Question window.
  2. Click Next again in the Filter window.
  3. Give your question a descriptive Name.
  4. Click Save to finish the question.

Respond to an Answer

Next, respond to the user’s choice. Once again, set up your flow:

  1. On the Flow page, click + to add a task.
  2. Click Bot in the Choose a Service window.
  3. For your action, select Send a Message.

Complete the Send a Message window and click Next.

Add a Filter

Next, set up a Filter to tell your bot which choice will activate the response. In this case, we want “tech support” to activate the response, “I can help you with your tech support question!”

Click + Add a Filter in the Filter window, and enter your conditions.

Tell your bot which message to look in and what conditions to check for:

  1. In the Output field, type {{ for a drop-down list. Find your question, and select Choice below it. This inserts the path to your question in the Output field.
  2. Set Condition to Equals.
  3. Set the Value to “tech support”.

This response will only display when the user selects “tech support”.

Click Next when your filter is done. This response will display in your flow.

Copy a Response

Now you need a similar response to the second option, in this case, “billing”. Instead of creating an entirely new message, you can copy the previous response and edit it. This is a quick way to build flows with several similar actions.

To copy the previous response:

  1. In your flow, find the response to “tech support” that you just created.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to Edit, and select Copy. This will copy the entire message, including the filter.

Now you can edit the flow. This second response should correspond to the second choice, “billing”. So, edit the Message and Filter accordingly.

You now have a functional flow. Set your new flow to On.

Test Your Finished Bot

Now that your flow is done, you can interact with it in Facebook Messenger. To do this:

  1. Go to the Bots page in the Flow XO editor.
  2. Click the bot you created earlier.
  3. If you need to, click Login to Facebook, and select your Facebook Page. Click Next.
  4. Click Message Us to test your bot. You should be able to interact with it.

Your basic chatbot is done. You can use more features in Flow XO to build on your bot. It can ask text questions, respond to variable answers, and even send the chat to a human. You can also put your flow on multiple platforms to answer user questions wherever they look for you.

Want to find out more? We have full documentation for all the features in Flow XO over at our Help Center, or get help & advice from other Flow XO users on the Community Site.