Table of Contents
- Use Cases
- Building Decision Trees
- Step-by-step Example
- Answer Titles & Quick Replies for Decision Trees
- Content Management using Tags & Descriptions
- Searching and Filtering by Tag or Description
- Training for Decision Trees
- Option 1: Top-down only
- Option 2: Skip-ahead
Decision trees are the different ways you can structure Answers and Quick Reply buttons to guide the chatter through a conversational journey. Any response from the bot that includes more than one Answer per chatter question, is considered a type of Decision Tree.
Decision Trees can be thought of visually as flowcharts. These flows can vary in complexity, ranging from simple linear steps to detailed structures with different branches that can be accessed depending on a chatter’s choices. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure for the chatter!
The steps (or branches) of the Decision Tree are individual Answers, represented as Quick Reply (QR) buttons. QR buttons act as links that trigger other Answers in the bot if selected. When multiple QR options are presented to the chatter, the title of the QR button that they select becomes their question, and the other buttons disappear.
There are four main use cases for Decision Trees & Quick Replies:
|Use Case 1: Menu||Chatter's view|
|Grouping related topics that can be accessed by a top-level main menu|
|A chatter asks to “sign up for a new data plan” but there are multiple plan options available. The bot should acknowledge the action that the chatter wants to take, and provide the list of plan options as Quick Reply buttons.|
|Use Case 2: Suggestions|
|Anticipating additional questions and proactively offering topics that the chatter might want to learn about|
|A chatter is asking about setting up a travel notification on their credit card. The bot should Answer their question, but also suggest Answers about:
Note: The difference difference between Menus and Suggestions: Using a Menu Answer, the chatter must select a Quick Reply option in order to receive the full information that they are looking for. Using Quick Replies to offer Suggestions provides the chatter with related information that they didn’t explicitly ask for. In this case, the chatter could choose not to view any QR options because their original question has already been addressed in the Answer presented.
|Use Case 3: Linear steps||Chatter's view|
|Breaking up long pieces of content into more manageable steps||
|A chatter asks how to create an account, but there are many steps to follow. Group a few steps into one Answer at a time. At the end of each Answer, include a QR button that triggers the next Answer in sequence.The chatter indicates when they are ready for the next grouping of instructions by clicking on a quick reply button, often labelled as "Continue."|
|Use Case 4: Differentiation||Chatter's view|
|Funneling chatters who ask a general question towards the specific Answer, based on their responses to disambiguating questions|
|A chatter asks how to download the mobile app, but there are different instructions depending on their phone’s operating system. In order to direct them to the appropriate instructions for their specific device (Apple or Android), have the bot ask them what type of phone they’re using.|
Building Decision Trees
It's best to plan out your Decision Tree structure before you start to build the Answers in the bot. If possible, write a draft first, and then build the Answers from the bottom up. Starting with the Answers at the end of the flow means that they will be ready to link to using Quick Replies when building the Answers above them.
This isn’t a requirement, and you can always build from the top down, just remember to go back and add the Quick Reply links to the Answers earlier in the flow.
The screenshots below show an overview of this process using the Menu example. As a reminder, here is what the chatter would see:
Step 1 - Build the Decision Tree branches first
Step 2 - Build the higher levels or top Menu Answers
Step 3 - In the Menu Answer, link the subsequent Answers in the flow using the Quick Replies section
Step 4 - Search for the titles of the Answers you want to add and select them one at a time to create the Quick Reply buttons that will appear at the bottom of the Answer
Step 5 - Review the default Quick Reply Labels that appear for each Answer selected, and change them if necessary (this will be described in more detail below)
When creating Answers that are part of a Decision Tree, the important elements are:
- Answer Title
- Quick Replies
- Content management (Tags and/or Descriptions)
Answer titles & Quick Replies for Decision Trees
Creating a succinct but descriptive title is essential for Decision Tree management in the Answers view. The more complex a tree, the more detailed “breadcrumbs” are required in the Answer titles to know where they fall within the larger sequence or structure.
These Answer titles can become long (e.g. if deep into a Decision Tree flow) or include details meant for bot management, but not the chatter. Remember to add a Quick Reply Label when creating the Answer, so that it’s descriptive and appropriate for the chatter’s view.
Quick Reply Lables can be assigned in two places:
- In the Answers Settings window (This will set the default label for the Answer.)
- In the Quick Replies section of the full Answers view (Once an Answer is selected, its default label will appear. You can override it by typing in a new label for this particular instance in the bot. It will not affect the default label.)
Note: If you do not set a Quick Reply Label, the default will be the exact Answer title. Keep this in mind if your Answer title isn’t written for the chatter’s view.
There are a couple best practices to follow:
|Use Case: Linear steps||Chatter's view|
|Include: Part X of Y to indicate which step # it is, and how many total steps there are in the tree|
|Example Answer titles and Quick Reply Labels|
|Answer title: Creating account - 1/3
Quick Reply: Creating an account
Answer title: Creating account - 2/3
Quick Reply: Continue
Answer title: Creating account - 3/3
Quick Reply: Continue
|Use Case: Differentiation or Menu||Chatter's view|
|Include the title of the main Answer (and any Answers that come before), separated by the > symbol|
|Example Answer titles and Quick Reply Labels|
|Answer title: Download the app
Quick Reply: none, default to Answer title
Answer title: Download the app > iOs
Quick Reply: iOs (e.g. Apple iPhone)
Answer title: Download the app > Android
Quick Reply: Android (e.g. Google Pixel)
Content management using Tags & Descriptions
Tags allow you to categorize your answers. In the Answers Settings window, you can create a unique Tag or set of Tags for each Decision Tree and apply them consistently to all the Answers in the flow. Once a Tag has been created, it can be selected from the list of existing Tags when creating new Answers. You can create tags yourself, but you will also find that there is a default "Top" tag. This tag will allow you to indicate which answers are the top of a decision tree or answer flow, or put another way, where a chatter begins their journey within a multi-answer flow.
The Description field in the Answers Settings window can also help you manage Decision Trees. Consider naming each Decision Tree (e.g. Journey 1 - Creating an account) and using the Description field to keep track of the name and any other relevant details.
Searching and filtering by Tag or Description
You can search for answers with a particular Tag by either clicking on a Tag in the sidebar, or typing the Tag name into the search bar inside square brackets [ ]. This will filter the Answers in the left sidebar, so that only Answers with the searched Tag appear.
The Description field is part of the search results in the Answers View. You can search for the Decision Tree name that you assigned as the Description or other unique keywords that relate to the Decision Tree you’re looking to isolate using search/filter.
Training for Decision Trees
The top level of a Decision Tree will always require training. The amount and breadth of its training will depend on how you want chatters to work through the flow:
Option 1: Top-down only
If you want to guide chatters through the flow starting from the top, then the branches of the Decision Tree should have no training. Instead, the highest level Answer (e.g. a top level Menu) needs to have training that not only would match chatters to the menu, but also encompases the topics covered in all of the branches. The chatter must move through the Decision Tree flow using the Quick Replies.
This style is most commonly used for Linear steps, where a chatter must go through Answers in order from top to bottom, using the Quick Reply options to proceed.
Example: The 3-part instructions to set up an account
What the chatter sees:
What the training looks like for the top-level:
What no training looks like for the second (and third) level:
Option 2: Skip-ahead
You can allow chatters to skip a Menu or other higher level Answers if their question is detailed enough to match to a more specific Answer. For this to work best, ensure that the Menu/top level Answer has fairly broad/unspecific training and that the training for the branches include all the details.
If the Menu and the branches aren’t unique enough, then the bot might not be able to confidently differentiate between them, and could offer them all as Clarifications. This isn’t a bad thing, as the chatter will still get to their Answer, it just makes it less straightforward for them.
Example: The data plan Menu
What the chatter sees:
What the broad/general training looks like for the Menu:
What the detailed training looks like for the branches:
For any additional questions, contact your ACX Consultant, Account Manager or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org