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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

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
Head of Community & Digital Support

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!

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