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Featured image for blog post: AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy. Part 4: No code? No problem. Build an AI chatbot using Zapier.

Zapier’s chatbots feature has graduated from its first version into beta, so if you’ve been thinking about creating your own AI chatbot, now’s a great time to take the plunge! In this article, we’ll cover how to create your chatbot and everything else that you need to know to get started. If you’re unsure how a chatbot can help your business, we’ll look at some examples at the end of the article.

 

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that Zapier’s chatbots are priced separately from their regular plans. You can create two chatbots on the ‘Free’ chatbot plan (included with a Zapier plan), but if you’d like to create more, you’ll need to purchase a chatbot plan. Other chatbot features that require a paid plan are choosing the chat model (e.g. GPT 4) that the bot uses, customising the look and feel of the chatbot, and using your own dataset with the bot. Zapier’s Chatbot pricing page has the full details of what is and isn’t included in the three plan levels.

 

 
Note: As the chatbot feature is still in beta, some features may change before it is fully released

 

 

Build and customize your AI chatbot

The video below covers the basics of getting started with a Zapier chatbot. Open the video in Loom to see a full transcript.
 

 

 

When building your chatbot, the most important thing is nailing the directive. It tells your chatbot how to behave, how to think and how to reply to input. When you’re writing it, consider the following points:
  • Role: give the chatbot a role, who are they supposed to represent? A customer service rep? A friend in the marketing business?
  • Objective: what is the main goal of the chatbot? Helping to sell products to users? Being a resource for new team members?
  • Audience: tell the chatbot who it will be talking to. This provides the bot with an understanding of what is relevant for its users.
  • Context: giving the chatbot additional information (for example, your services, a description of your business, etc.) again helps it to find relevant information.
  • Style: consider if it should reply with a specific format, such as bullet points or headers. You can also add information about tone of voice if you haven’t already covered that in the role of the bot.
  • Data source: if you’re using an external data source, give the bot details about the source, what it contains, etc.
  • Additional rules: add anything else the chatbot should consider when replying. Is there anything that it absolutely should or shouldn’t do (that isn’t already covered by the rules of OpenAI).
 
 
Once you’ve put together the bones of your chatbot, you can adjust the look and feel of it to suit your needs. If you pay for the Premium version of Zapier’s chatbots, you can alter the page background colour and button colour. If you’d like to remove Zapier’s logo, you’ll need to upgade to the Advanced chatbot plan.

 

 

Add your own data source to the chatbot

In my opinion, this is one of the most powerful features of Zapier’s chatbots. Uploading your own dataset elevates the bot from a general helper to a subject matter expert. If you choose to add your own dataset for your AI chatbot, you can define how it replies if it can’t find an answer to a user’s questions in that data set. It can either give an answer using the OpenAI source it’s connected to or it can provide a custom message. In other words, the bot can create an answer using ChatGPT or the bot will tell users that an answer couldn’t be found. The custom message option is also a great opportunity to send users to other resources or a contact form.
 
To add your own data source to a chatbot:
  1. From the Chatbots dashboard, click the name of the chatbot to open the bot setup.
  2. Click the “Data” tab.
  3. Click “+ Add source”.
  4. Click “Browse files”.
  5. Find and select the source file you want to use.
  6. Click “Add source”.
 
To change how the chatbot behaves if an answer can’t be found in the data source, click the “When results are not found from the data source” field in the Data tab of your chatbot and select your preferred option.

 

 

Adding actions to an AI chatbot

We’re used to chatbots being relatively passive; we ask a question, and it gives us an answer. With Zapier’s chatbots you can add actions to a chatbot. The first is ‘Copy Response’, which is useful, but not exactly groundbreaking. The second option is to add a button that will trigger a Zap. That’s where things can get really interesting. You’ve now connected the power of an AI chatbot to the automation possibilities of over 5000 apps.
 
You could build chatbots that connect to your CRM, your support team, your internal service desk, your HR team, any area of your business that you can think of!

 

 

Publishing your chatbot

On the Free chatbot plan, you can share the public url of your chatbot with anyone. The url takes users to a simple page showing the bot’s greeting and prompt, as well as the Zapier logo:
A screenshot showing the results of a Zapier chatbot test.

With a paid plan, you can embed a chatbot inline or as a popup anywhere you like. When you are in the chatbot editor, click on the “Embed” button in the top right corner to open a window with your options.

Screenshot of the Zapier Chatbot interface with an arrow pointing to the "Embed" button in the top right corner of the screen.
A screenshot showing the two embed options for Zapier chatbots: "Standard" and "Pop up"
Select the format for your chatbot (standard or pop-up), and Zapier will generate the HTML needed to add your chatbot to a webpage.
 

How can an AI chatbot help you?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the possibilities of creating a chatbot. Below are a few ideas to get you started.

 

Generating content

There are plenty of AI tools that will help you generate content for social media, but if you don’t want to invest in a new tool you could use a Zapier chatbot. It would be accessible to your whole team (no need to share passwords for accounts), and you could add your company’s tone and voice guidelines into the chatbot directive, so you know that all of the output will be on brand.
 

Providing supportive employee feedback

It’s not always easy to frame feedback in a constructive way, especially if you’re new to a management role. Create a chatbot to help mould what you want to say into something that benefits everyone.
 

Creating an interactive internal knowledge base

Many companies have internal knowledge bases, but it can be difficult to know where to look, especially if you’re new to a team. Adding the knowledge base as a source of information to an AI chatbot helps employees find the information they need faster. You can also add the option for your team to add questions or suggest updates if they can’t find what they need!
 

Lead magnet

Create a tool that helps your customers and use it as a lead magnet. A business coach, a marketing helper, or (to get very meta) an AI prompt generator. Ask people to share their email with you for otherwise free access to a useful resource. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to see the conversation history of your bot, so you know the kind of questions that your target audience wants help with.
 
 

Summary

It’s easy to fall into the ‘shiny new toy’ trap with technology, to try anything and everything because it’s ‘cool’. And there’s no denying that creating your own chatbot without using code is cool. As we’ve mentioned, some of the more useful features of Zapier’s chatbots come with a price, so it’s good to think about ways that a chatbot can boost your business before you take the plunge. If you’ve found some inspiration in this post, you should also have a good idea of the benefits and limitations of creating your own AI chatbot using Zapier. If you have a Zapier plan but decide that a paid Zapier chatbot plan isn’t for you, I hope that you at least have a play with the chatbot feature. For anyone interested in no-code tech and AI, it’s a great way to dip a toe in the water.

Reduce your overwhelm with our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to reduce your overwhelm and transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

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