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The 7 types of Zoho SalesIQ chatbots (and when to use them)

In this article, I will discuss the 7 types of Zoho SalesIQ chatbots and when you should be using them.

Answer Bot

The Answer Bot allows users to ask fairly simple questions and get responses based on a predefined set of FAQs as well as articles that you have written. You can interact with a live demo here.

I recommend using the Zoho Answer Bot when you

a) want your bot to answer simple FAQ type questions

b) don’t expect any follow up questions

Specifically, if you already have a knowledge base of some kind, it will make sense to convert it into a Zoho Answer Bot. Zoho allows you to take the knowledge base articles in their Zoho Desk help desk app and automatically use them in the Answer Bot. But (as of this writing) they don’t have any integrations to do it with other Help Desk software you might be using.

So I would recommend using the Zoho Answer Bot when you have already created a bunch of Help Desk articles inside Zoho Desk.

Codeless bot builder

The code less zobot is a very interesting addition in v2 of Zoho SalesIQ.

The codeless bot builder is actually a pretty sophisticated flow diagram based approach for building scripted bots.

For example, I was able to create a lead generation chatbot and add it to my website in 10 minutes. You can interact with it here.

But this is the interesting caveat: it does not have any NLU. That is, it cannot parse the words typed by the user and understand the user’s intent.

Such bots still have some important uses, but it doesn’t really qualify as a real AI chatbot.

I recommend using the codeless bot builder provided you have a good use case for it – that is, you actually need a scripted bot and think such a bot will be helpful for your users.

Note: You will often be using multiple buttons and asking the user to click one of them to proceed to the next step. If you need more than 5 buttons in a single conversation turn, such a bot will probably not be very user friendly. If you feel you are overwhelming your user with button choices, it is probably not a good candidate for a codeless Zobot.

The GOOD thing about the codeless bot builder is that in those use cases where it does make sense, your users will be really happy to use it.

SalesIQ Script

Zoho created its own scripting language called Deluge to let people customize and extend the entire Zoho app ecosystem.

It is a pretty quirky language with no enumerated for loops, no IDE support and other oddities. But it is also quite useful for making the most out of your Zoho subscription, because you can often write a simple Deluge script as “glue code” to accomplish some tasks automatically.

The SalesIQ script is a good example of this. It is based on the Deluge scripting language and allows you to connect the chat widget and your Zoho account.

But you need to be something of a Deluge expert to use it. For example watch this video by Zoho experts discussing the challenges of using SalesIQ script (you only need to watch for 2 minutes).

I don’t recommend using it unless you want to connect it to a legacy Deluge script based custom code you have already built.

Zia Skills

The Zia Skills based Zobot is an interesting option.

You can even combine an FAQ bot with a scripted bot using Zia Skills.

However, I think using Zia Skills is not very easy because it has many moving parts, and not all of them tie together very well. This is even more true if you are not a programmer.

For example, you need to go to the Zia Skills console to define each skill.

You can add an action in the Zia Skills console.

And for the action, you can choose either to answer an FAQ question, or perform an operation. In either case, you can choose sample invocations.

There are more features, like creating a context handler function, execution logic and followup suggestions.

But the features are disjoint and the UI isn’t intuitive. It is hard to explain this viewpoint, but it will make sense as soon as you compare it with an actual visual dialog builder like Dialogflow ES.

I don’t have any specific recommendation on when to use it. I would say that it makes the most sense if you need simple AI based parsing of user’s messages, combined with simple actions you can execute inside the Execution logic.

If you end up requiring the Context Handler function or the Followup suggestions feature, I would recommend taking a look at Dialogflow ES first.

In any case, both SalesIQ Script and Zia Skills are legacy tools from SalesIQ v1. Maybe the Zoho team disagrees with me on this, but I think you should probably avoid both in 2021.

Dialogflow ES

The nice thing about Zoho SalesIQ, and something I haven’t seen in other live chat tools, is the 1-click integration with Dialogflow ES.

By the way, for the sake of this discussion, we will consider both Watson Assistant and Azure Bot Service as belonging to the same type of Zobot – one which has a 1-click integration with an existing chatbot framework.

Obviously, I am only going to be covering Dialogflow ES here because that is the main focus of my website and my business.

I have already mentioned this many times before, but I do think that Dialogflow ES is the best low code chatbot framework. I have created a small free course explaining its advantages compared to other chatbot frameworks.

Considering you can do all these things when you enable the Dialogflow ES integration with Zobot

  • handle simple and complex FAQ questions
  • instantly generate large FAQ bots using tools
  • create multiturn conversations to handle follow up questions
  • and connect to live operator as and when necessary
  • easily review chat conversation history (even if it involves both bot and operator)
  • get the full set of features provided by a chatbot framework such as Dialogflow
  • get the full set of features provided by a live chat software (such as audio calls and remote assistance)
  • integrate with your CRM pretty easily
  • build sophisticated backend systems using Zoho Creator

I would recommend the Zobot + Dialogflow ES integration for most use cases.

Dialogflow CX (NLU API using webhook)

The Zobot cannot integrate with all chatbot frameworks.

In fact, there is no built-in integration with Dialogflow CX, which is the more advanced version of Dialogflow ES.

If you are new to Dialogflow, check out this comparison between Dialogflow CX and Dialogflow ES

Even for these cases, Zobots still give you an option: webhooks.

In the case of the Webhook based integration, you need to write the code which connects the Zobot and Dialogflow CX. This is usually called a custom integration.

Choosing the Webhook based integration is fairly straight-forward. Use it when you need to integrate with a chatbot framework which does not have an existing 1-click integration with Zobot.

RASA NLU (on premise NLU using webhook)

One of the most interesting options in this list is RASA NLU – which is a chatbot framework which is best suited for programmers.

There are two important reasons to use RASA

  1. you don’t want to send any information about your business to Google and the other cloud providers
  2. you need some custom NLU that cannot be implemented using the cloud based chatbot frameworks

Here again, you can use the Webhook integration and connect your Zobot to RASA NLU. Unlike all the options you have seen before, this will be the most expensive in terms of programmer cost.

Comparison chart

You can use the chart below to compare the capabilities of the different types of Zobots.

FeatureAnswer BotCodeless BuilderSalesIQ ScriptZia SkillsDialogflow ESDialogflow CXRASA NLU
Easy for technical non-programmersYesYesNoNoYesSomewhatNo
Has practical NLU (more sophisticated than keyword matching)YesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Support for simple questionsYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Support for user defined entitiesBasicNoHardBasicYesYesYes
Support for system entitiesNoNoHardNoYesYesYes
Support for using regular expressions for entitiesNoNoHardNoYesYesYes
Support for wildcard entitiesNoNoHardNoYesYesNo
Support for follow up questionsNoNoHardLimitedYesYesSome
Support for “conversation as a state machine”NoNoNoNoNoYesHard
Support for conversation going off trackNoNoNoNoNoYesHard
Support for custom business logicNoYesYesYesYesYesYes
Easy integration with Zoho appsNoYesYesYesNoNoNo
Privacy friendlyYesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Easy to create a scripted botNoYesNoNoSomewhatSomewhatSomewhat

<— End of article —>

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Check out the Learn Dialogflow ES and Learn Dialogflow CX courses if you would like to learn Dialogflow in depth.
"The magic key I needed as a non-programmer"

The custom payload generator was the magic key I needed (as a non-programmer) to build a good demo with rich responses in DialogFlow Messenger. I've only used it for 30 minutes and am thrilled. I've spent hours trying to figure out some of the intricacies of DialogFlow on my own. Over and over, I kept coming back to Aravind's tutorials available on-line. I trust the other functionalities I learn to use in the app will save me additional time and heartburn.

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