It’s easy to criticize what other people do, so in this article, I’m going to show you a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of the somewhat clunky Landbot chatbot design platform.
Collecting User Input
Most of Landbot’s customers are businesses that want to accomplish a business objective, which quite often includes “capturing” information from a visitor such as their name, email address, and company.
Understanding how to insert these blocks isn’t difficult. But when to use them — and in what context — in order to entice the user to hand over their information can be a little tricky.
Don’t be the KGB
First of all, try to avoid asking for contact information right away. Your chatbot isn’t working at passport control, nor do you want it to come across as some kind of authoritarian goon.
👨🎓 Lesson: Do NOT ask for contact info right away.
The last thing you want is for the customer to be turned away from wanting to further interact with your chatbot.
Three Cups of Tea
Imagine walking up to someone at a conference or networking and sticking your hand out and saying, “Hi, my name is X. What’s your phone number?” It would be very weird and off-putting.
But…. if you talked to the person for a while, and then asked them for their phone number, they’d probably be a lot more amenable to giving it to you. Because now they know who you are (a little).
👩🎓 Lesson: A chatbot should be good at chatting, so chat with the user for a while BEFORE asking for their personal information.
I’ve designed chatbots that engage with the user for a while and then say something like “Oops, where are my manners? My name is X. What’s your name?” followed by “Nice to meet you, $name.”
This is just one of many more natural-sounding ways to ask for the user’s information after the chatbot and user have sufficiently gotten familiar with one another to start asking personal questions.
Always Tell the User WHY You’re Asking
Straight-up asking the user to tell the chatbot their name, etc, can be a little offputting, especially if the user isn’t sure why the chatbot is asking for it or how that information will be used.
Is it because the user wants a demo of your product? Is it because the user wants to sign up for a newsletter? Whatever the reason, the user should always know why the chatbot wants their (i.e. the user’s) personal information.
👨🎓 Lesson: By the time you ask the user for their contact information, the user should always know why you’re asking for it.
Dialog such as “Hey, if you provide me your name and contact information, one of our salespeople will get right back to you” tells the user exactly why the chatbot is asking for their information.
I’ve always been a big fan of A/B testing, and Landbot’s platform comes with that functionality built-in (for paid users).
Even when you’re not doing it for marketing and/or analytical purposes, A/B flows let you add more “randomness” to the user experience and thus improve engagement.
3, 4 or Even More Randomized Flows
Landbot only lets you split a flow in two (“A” or “B”), but you can efficiently create three, four, or even more randomized flows using the same A/B block function.
Creating four flows is rather simple to design:
But three flows isn’t much more difficult:
In this case, the first A/B block splits 2/3rds one way (option A) and 1/3rd to the other path (option B). This gives all three flow paths an even 33% chance (more or less) of being selected.
🤖 🤔 🤖
Use “Multiple Chatbots” for a Simpler Design Process
A really engaging design technique that I like to use is to create two (or more) different variations of the same chatbot.
In Landbot, this can be done by first creating a Version A chatbot and then copying it (from the main dashboard) and customizing it to make your Version B chatbot.
I sometimes like to create a “serious persona” for the 👔 Version A chatbot and a more laid-back, friendly persona for the 🏄♂️ Version B chatbot. I do this both to see which one is more engaging to the users but also because it adds an element of novelty for repeat visitors.
Whatever your design objective, it’s far simpler to create ONE version (Version A) of your chatbot and then use the A/B split block to “jump” to the Version B of your chatbot (which is considered a separate chatbot in the Landbot dashboard) rather than designing both (or all other) versions as part of the same chatbot.
Note: The user will have no idea they’re interacting with a “different” chatbot. To the user, it’ll look like one chatbot experience.
Also, Landbot gets really laggy and difficult to work with if there are too many blocks in your chatbot.
Separating different flows into different Landbot chatbots and then tweaking them is a lot faster and easier than trying to cram everything into one master chatbot.
GIFs for Fun and Profit
I’ve often recommended against using GIFs, but the folks at Landbot are heavily prejudiced in their favor, so don’t be surprised if your Landbot-using clients request that you include GIFs in your design.
Landbot makes it pretty easy to search for and use GIFs (powered by Giphy). Unfortunately, most of the GIFs on Giphy are very short in duration, making them very distracting. And sometimes, you may just not be able to find what you’re looking for.
The good news is that it only takes a couple of minutes to make an original GIF from scratch.
I created this GIF myself for use in a customer’s Landbot chatbot because I couldn’t find what I wanted on Giphy.
First, I went to YouTube to find a relevant video (such as this one). Due to Giphy’s limitations, any video you choose must be less than 15 minutes in length.
I then pasted the URL of the YouTube video into Giphy’s GIF creator. I then fiddled around with the start and end time until I was happy with the results. I then clicked “create” and had my awesome bucking bronco GIF in less than a minute.
Best of all, you don’t even need an account on Giphy (or YouTube) to create your own GIFs.
You won’t be able to download the GIF unless you do have a Giphy account, but you can still get a usable link to your GIF that can be used with your Landbot chatbot even if you don’t have a Giphy account.
You can also use Giphy’s built-in text captioning and sticker decoration options for more versatility, where appropriate.
Hot tip: If your client has some videos on their YouTube channel, it can be very impressive if you create GIFs from their very own media. 🔥🔥🔥
Since it’s so easy to create and use your own GIFs, why limit your chatbot to just the unprofessional “meme-style” ones that you find on Giphy?
Use Variables Intelligently
When you capture user input information (such as their name, phone number, etc), Landbot stores this as a variable. If you’ve got a paid account, you can do some pretty cool things with variables by using the conditional logic function.
I always like to take first-time users on an exploratory journey when they first start interacting with the chatbot and then take them to a “main menu” where they can navigate with a little more agency.
But the fun introduction isn’t quite so fun if you have to go through it a second time.
The way to get around this is by using conditional logic:
First, you’ll need to have the “fun introduction” block save the user’s choice in a variable.
In this case, I’ve named the variable @introduction (Landbot will prompt you to create a new variable if you’re not using one of the pre-scripted ones).
Next, put a “conditions” block before the “fun introduction” block. Click on “set variable” and make it activate if the variable @introduction IS SET.
The red dot connects to the path taken when the @introduction variable hasn’t been set (because the user hasn’t yet clicked a button in the “fun introduction” block and thus “set” the @introduction variable).
But if the @introduction variable has been set (because the user has already interacted with the “fun introduction” block), then the chatbot follows the green dot path and takes the user directly to the “main menu.”
Use the conditional logic function in Landbot to provide a more rewarding experience for your chatbot’s heaviest users, i.e. the most engaged prospects/customers/fans.