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Intents and Insights (and some small talk too)

Intents training

Flip the switch. Keeping every advanced feature that we already have, Activechat is now one of the easiest-to-use platforms for smart natural language bots.

If you’ve ever been confused by the advanced features of our visual chatbot builder, it’s time to relax. With our recent “Intents and Insights” release, your smart AI agent is ready in minutes and keeps improving forever. Watch the video for a short (10 min) demo or keep reading!

Watch the 10-minute demo of Intents and Insights


The intent is something that your customer wants to achieve. It can be a question, issue description, request, order, or any other action that requires your business to respond. In Activechat, you can define thousands of different intents, and each of them will be performing one of these three actions:

  • Simple response – to provide an instant answer that does not require any further action (like in “What’s your opening times?”)
  • Trigger skill – launch a sophisticated sequence of actions that may include additional questions to customer, accessing your CRM or database, processing data, etc. Fits best for tasks like appointment setting, lead generation, checking order statuses, accessing balance, and so on. 
  • Start live chat – choose this option to handle the conversation to a human agent for complex requests which are difficult to automate.

To define your intents, open “Automation – Intents” in the bot menu. This is where you list phrases that your customers may be using when messaging your business. Once you seed each intent with 5-10 phrases that your customers may use to describe it, the natural language understanding engine will start guessing similar phrases and trigger the intent even if the customer re-phrased it or mistyped.

Intents can be organized into groups and sub-groups. For example, in the banking domain, you may have an “Account actions” group with “Checkings” and “Savings” subgroups for different account types.

👉 Read more about Intents in our manuals.

Small talk

For some bot languages, we’ve introduced a set of “small talk” intents into your agent template. These intents keep the conversation human-like, with phrases like “How are you?”, “Are you a bot?”, “Can you help me?”, “I’m feeling sad”, etc. To edit these intents (or remove completely if you don’t need it), open the “Small talk” category in the intents tree.

Please note that when you start building up your intents, some phrases from the “Small talk” section may be conflicting with phrases that you use in other intents’ definitions. If this happens, consider removing some of your Smalltalk intents.


Intents are good, but how do you know which phrases your customers use? Most conversational designers will be guessing that or digging into individual chat transcripts message by message. We simplify that process by grouping all messages sent by your customers within a specific time period into “topics”. Each of these topics will contain messages that seem similar to our AI. All that’s left to do is tick some checkboxes and add these phrases to the definition of specific intent.

Go to “Automation – Insights” in the bot menu and choose the source of your Insights. It can be either of:

  • Chat history – for conversations that are already happening on your website (if you have our chat widget installed)
  • Zendesk chat transcripts – to import messages from your Zendesk account
  • Text file – to import messages from plain text files (one message per line)
Just tick the boxes to add new phrases to intents

👉 Read more about Insights in our manuals

These tools, combined, can make the process of building your smart AI agent and automating your routine customer care tasks easy as never before. Just flip the switch in the bot settings to change the default NLP engine from “Dialogflow” to “Intents and Insights”.

If you want to use “Intents and Insights” engine in your existing bot, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the “default” skill, delete everything except the “CATCH” block and connect NLP block to the CATCH (don’t mind the error message)
  2. Add the “_default_fallback” skill that will be triggered if none of the intents was detected.
  3. Add the “_start_live_chat” skill for human escalation intent.
  4. Go to bot settings and flip NLP engine from Dialogflow to “Intents and Insights”
  5. Run the bot.
  6. Add any other intents you may need…
  7. Enjoy!

Again, these steps are required only if you’re converting an existing bot. When creating new bots from scratch, you’re good to go instantly!

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