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Using Chatbot / AI in communities

Hi All,


A similar discussion today led me to post this question here.

It's about the recent development with (chat) bots and community integration.

I am convinced there are opportunities to simplify certain forum tasks, create opportunity for education, achieving business/community goals through the use of bots.


For example, and this is what the discussion was focused on, registering in a community today is passive and often considered a tedious task for users. And, why should I have to register to a forum. Users often don't even know "what's in it for them" until they click on something and then get the notification to register. No surprise exit rate on the registration process/page is quite high and conversion from previous page into registration page is very low.
Summary, not an ideal experience for user and not great for community managers and the business because ultimately we all want to convert traffic into registrations into posts/solutions and in the end into returning and active users.


What if a chatbot could turn around the page? Turning something very passive and unattractive (registration example still) into something more personal, guided, simple and fun.


And if you have successfully guided the user through registration it's a great moment for some education and expectation setting and ask the customer what they want to do next (if not asked through the process). Want to post, let forumbot guide you on how to make a great post (Perhaps great to give it a label while on the go) 


Want to fly solo. Great, chat bot will leave you to your business and wait patiently on the page until you need chatbot again (Some AI to recognize where the customer is, which page, which process step would be great) and help you with your next step.


Or, what about increasing engagement by connecting a new user who register to an expert that and match type of question to the expertise profile. A solution could be to allow the user to @mention certain users that have the skills (and Lithium has a tool for this, right?) This would make community quite personal again.


it's a lot to fit pieces into the puzzle but I think beautiful puzzles can be designed with this philosophy.


Long story short. 

- Is anyone using bots/ai today in their community? Would love to hear your story

- Do you a chatbot could be useful in communities?
- What do you think bots could be most useful for, what would you do?

Wendy's (attempt to a) little friendly forum bot 🙂



Learning from others and helping where I can!
Community Passionista!
21 Replies 21

It's an excellent idea and where we'll probably all end up eventually. I'm not sure the technology is there today to make this viable now.


It will be very interesting to see how Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Bixby are going to address the first part of the chain, which is handling a search query and landing people on your community as a starting point. It also begs the question about what that experience looks like from a handoff perspective. If I use Siri to search and find the page, will I then switch over to the community-based bot to handle the rest? Or does Siri just have the capability some day (via APIs or other) to take me all of the way through?


Fascinating stuff.

Love this @Wendy_S. It does seem like a natural, smart evolution of something like the simple registration pop-up that we've just created. 


One thing I'm sure we can all agree on is that community visitors absolutely hate going to the help section and very few do it. Holding their hand during their initial few steps on the community and encouraging them to sign up and participate is going to go a long way towards establishing them as an active community member.




Really exciting and i agree it's a clear next step! Nuance do a product called Nina which when used to the max along with voice biometrics is one of the most powerful bot/assistants demos I've seen.

I actually had a bit on my support site about 4 years ago, it wasn't great but the tech has evolved and I'm sure we'll see more of this in the next few years.

If only we had the budget and freedom to deliver all our dreams, we'd have the best digital experience period!


Checkout some of the stuff i've built using the platform:
Community l Ideation l Blog l Product Hubs l Check & Report l Service Status 

My latest Ideas: Vanity URL Manager l @mention Roles l  LSW Password Policy


We have considered having a lead 'tutorial' phase for new users where we show them how posting, kudos and solutions work and get them to setup basic profile. Not sure how it could be implemented, just pie in the sky thinking on our part really.

Hi everyone,


Great topic here ! Do you already know about Otto from Autodesk ?? In @GrigorK's own words : "Autodesk does it, with Otto, a #chatbot designed to provide the information you need to first posts (not replies) to get up and running with Autodesk products—any time, day or night. Check Otto's profile here, it has a Response time in the community within a minute!"


Profile :

Screenshot 2017-04-04 18.32.28.png


So yes, as you can already see, community bots are clearly on the radar these days Smiley Very Happy

Arnaud Lerondeau
Principal Solutions Consultant

ArnaudL wrote:


Do you already know about Otto from Autodesk ?? In @GrigorK's own words : "Autodesk does it, with Otto, a #chatbot designed to provide the information you need to first posts (not replies) to get up and running with Autodesk products—any time, day or night. Check Otto's profile here, it has a Response time in the community within a minute!"




Very interesting, imagine the possibilities if the chatbot designed for Community is the same, or connected to, the chatbot used in Messaging/Chat. In terms of flawless synergy that would be optimal. 


@ArnaudL Any plans on Lithium's side to build something similar, as an additional module or maybe even core feature? 

Hey @Jochen, nice to see you around here !


I won't reveal any part of the roadmap here of course, but 2 things are clear :

- Your usecase with the same bot serving community + social is a perfect one

- There are multiple already existing prototypes heading this way


Hope to see you at LiNC London at the latest. There you will see more about this Smiley Happy 

Arnaud Lerondeau
Principal Solutions Consultant

Hi there

It is a an exiting topic and it will happen sooner than later,  but I also feel that at the moment everyone thinks AI and Chat Bots will solve all the problems out there Smiley Wink


We currently work on an onboarding "wizard" (we further developed our hackathon 2016 prototype) that helps user (especially those who visit the community via search engine) to easy onboard to the community. We also try now to change it from a simple "click" interaction to a "conversational" interaction aka a bot interaction...There is only "A" but no "I" involved 😉 as it is a simple algorithm, no learning involved but we'll track all the interactions that a user does so we have data to optimize here.


I'll give you an update if it works out or not and hope that the topic will be further discussed here...





Great idea Wendy and all, I've also been thinking about this, and yes while it should be used with some strict criteria (like #1 transparency that it is a bot and not human and #2 only to be used in certain basic use cases) I think it could be quite useful. I'm also interesting in the idea of using "AI" (although I hate calling it that, is not really intelligent or self-aware now is it?) to mine community threads for sentiment, also for insights on content creation, themes, etc. I know they were working on it when I was at Autodesk, great to see they launched Otto!

Brian Kling
Associate Director, Community at Align Technology

Hi there 


A little update on our "experiment" 


We played arround a little with some tools. Most promising was


Screenshot 2017-09-01 11.09.10.png


We where able to program a very simple "on boarding" chatbot that is able to 


1. Give a quick intro

2. Guide to the relevant areas of the community

3. Help users to "solve their problem" by providing the "next best activity" such as "search", "post" 


Currently working on our DEV environment to play around hoping to make it a little more public soon 😉




Great discussion, personally I feel the best place for AI is linking customers to the information they are after. I'm not yet sold on a bot/agent directly answering questions. However improving search results and content recommendation using machine learning to provide "casual intelligence" would be cool. There are systems now detecting online fraud and providing product recommendations and not to mention targetted advertising.  There is a great article on this here -



Founder @hinterlands

We also developed one chat bot integrated Live Chat Widget `Messengerify` which can be used for any websites. We are at intial phase so guys review our widget and help us to improve ourselves.

I'm actively exploring adding a chatbot to our community as part of a wider digital service rollout.

  • Has anyone actually integrated a chatbot i.e. Nuance, 24/7, IBM Watson with Lithium?
  • Can anyone point me in the right direction to have this conversation with Lithium direct, or should I just contact my local rep?
  • My goals are to increase deflection into self-service for the suitable queries, improve our customer effort score and improve the quality of conversation in the Community with many simplex queries being directed off to pre-existing solutions or answers elsewhere in our digital service. Does this ring true or would anyone add more to these very high-level KPIs?


Hi @VF_MikeHales


We did a few custom integrations with Lithium and have a "Chatbot Prototype" running on our Dev. environment. 

Our main goal for the first version of the chatbot in the community was "onboarding" that means point users to the right direction and action within the community but it is of course extendable to the entire self-service sphere.


I understand that the main goal is deflection so you have to think about if you try to solve the case on the community entirely or if you want to guide the user to other valueable self-service sources (e.g. by offering the Top 10 self-service questions in a conversational chatbot interface in the community) 





Thanks for the reply.

Any dos or don'ts you'd highlight and what chatbot platform did you use? We're still evaluating.



Hi @VF_MikeHales


We played around with a few. (was bought by Hubspot, so not usable independent anymore)


But there are hundreds out there and we continue to test out more of them. 


Do's and Dont's:

I think we did not learned enough (and we did not launch the bot yet) to really have some Do's and Dont's.

We currently have a widget running in one of our production communities that shows users a "next best activity". Here we see that it is really critical when (we currently only display it if a user is in a thread and scrolls down) and how (currently it is only a question mark that appears and not a call to action like "search over") you show that content. We'll continue to play around with this (A/B tests) and see if we se changes in conversion and bounce rate. Also we already learned what activity most users go for, it is search over followed by "post a message". After all users who click do not bounce much but only a small part of users really starts to use the widget. A chatbot for example could be a lot more "proactive" by offering a open window conversation...not sure if users will accept but we'll try this out and compare. 


What chatbot tools are on your shortlist?



Am going to start work on this very thing in the next few weeks. Will report back on progress/blockers etc.




Thanks for that. We've moved onto IBM Watson as the Chatbot solution and now exploring how to use that chatbot as a concierge into Lithium Community - possibly through integrating/replacing the search with a Watson Cognitive Search that feeds back self-serve content incl solutions, otherwise ushers folks to create a new post as required. Will probably impact the volume of posts (down) but improve CX (up)!

That's the plan anyhow!

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

All -

With Lithium release of Brand Messaging and our next-generation BOT / Automation integration architecture (in Early Access), Lithium offers the ability to deploy a persistent-chat in your community thus allowing your bot to interact with customers. We also have a perspective that with an interaction style like this, there should probably always be a path to a human (agent or perhaps super-user). 

The use case @Wendy_S describes at the very beginning from a few years ago is totally possible today. What is also cool is that the bot could pass back meta-data to the community that automatically does something within the community itself (for example, a bot response could cause the community to navigate somewhere else or guide the your through a process).

Lithium (including @JustinF , @NickH,  myself (and others)) are very interested in partner with Communities wanting to experiment with us. Although Lithium doesn't provide a bot or automation platform yet,  we can create prototypes of said automation and decide how to proceed as we learn more.

If there is interest, we could organize an informal webinar to give you insight into the first paragraph (see'ing it might be most efficient), and we can go from there. Pls comment below.

Disclaimer - beyond an experimentation and prototype phase, there might be some cost associated with a solution like this, and our goal would be to align the cost with the value delivered. We don't have those details yet.

Very excited by this, have built chatbot on IBM Watson and looking to integrate as concierge host and ideally supplement search etc

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