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Inbound Conversation Workflows: A How-To Guide

Chris Lai
Content Writer, Respond.io
November 29, 2021

A well-designed Inbound Conversation Workflow allows your business to handle inbound messages efficiently. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the basics of Inbound Conversations, from why are conversations important in an inbound strategy to why customers start a Conversation to how to set up an Inbound Conversation Workflow on respond.io. Plus, you’ll learn how an Inbound Conversation Workflow works and what role each Workflow component plays in handling Inbound Conversations.

The Fundamentals of Inbound Conversations

Most conversations are inbound in nature, which means they are started by customers. This is because the majority of messaging apps require customers to send the first message.

Why Customers Start a Conversation with Businesses

To design a good Inbound Conversation Workflow that addresses customer needs, you need to understand why customers start a Conversation.

This is an image that shows why customers start a Conversation with businesses. Customers may reach out to your business for various reasons. They may want to request additional information about your company or product, or perform actions like make a purchase or ask for a refund.
Why Customers Start a Conversation with Businesses

Customers may reach out to your business for various reasons. They may want to request additional information about your company or product, or perform actions like make a purchase or ask for a refund.

What is a Conversation on respond.io

Before building an Inbound Conversation Workflow, you need to understand what a Conversation is. On respond.io, a Conversation refers to any interaction between your business and a Contact from the time a Conversation is opened until it is closed.

How a Conversation Looks on respond.io

Keep in mind, a Contact can only have a single ongoing Conversation at a time. A Conversation will open if two criteria are fulfilled - a Contact sends a message and the Contact has no existing Conversation open.

When a new Conversation opens, the platform will create the Conversation Opened by Contact event which serves as a Trigger for an Inbound Conversation Workflow. Read on to learn how to set up the Trigger using the Conversation Opened by Contact event.

How to Set Up the Trigger of an Inbound Conversation Workflow

Triggers are events that initiate advanced automation called Workflows. You can set up the Trigger for Inbound Conversation Workflows in the Workflow Builder. To access the Workflow builder, navigate to the Workflows module. Then, click on Add Workflow.

This is an image showing how to access the Workflow Builder on it.respond.io. Triggers are events that initiate advanced automation called Workflows. You can set up the Trigger for Inbound Conversation Workflows in the Workflow Builder. To access the Workflow builder, navigate to the Workflows module. Then, click on Add Workflow. Next, name the Workflow and add an optional description. Click on Create when done, and you’ll be redirected to the Workflow Builder.
Accessing the Workflow Builder

Next, name the Workflow and add an optional description. Click on Create when done, and you’ll be redirected to the Workflow Builder.

Now you are ready to configure the Trigger for the Inbound Conversation Workflow. In the Workflow Builder, select Conversation Opened as the Trigger so that the Workflow runs every time a Conversation opens.

This is an image showing how to set up a Trigger for an Inbound Conversation Workflow. To set up the trigger for Inbound Conversation Workflows, navigate to the Workflow Builder. Then, select Conversation Opened as the Trigger so that the Workflow runs every time a Conversation is opened.
Setting Up the Trigger for an Inbound Conversation Workflow

Next, set the Workflow to run only when the Conversation is inbound. To do so, simply select the Trigger Condition as Source is Equal to Contact. Now that you have created a Trigger that starts the Workflow for every inbound Conversation, let's explore other parts of an Inbound Conversation Workflow.

Handling Inbound Conversations on respond.io

Inbound Conversation Workflows help you handle a high volume of inbound messages effortlessly. Here, you'll learn how an Inbound Conversation Workflow collects more data about Contacts, uses that data to route Conversations to the right team and assigns them to an available agent.

How Does an Inbound Conversation Workflow Work

An Inbound Conversation Workflow automatically processes Contacts from the moment they send the first message until they are assigned to an available agent to continue the Conversation.

This is an image that shows how an Inbound Conversation Workflow works. An Inbound Conversation Workflow typically consists of three components, which play different roles in handling inbound messages. Here’s what you need to know about each component - Data Enrichment obtains data about a Contact or Conversation to discover the purpose of the Conversation. Routing determines which Team will be responsible for handling the Conversation. Alternatively, it can direct the Contact to a Dedicated Agent if there is one assigned, and Auto Assignment assigns the Contact to an available agent. It can be configured based on the needs and priorities of a specific team.
How Does an Inbound Conversation Workflow Work

An Inbound Conversation Workflow typically consists of three components, which play different roles in handling inbound messages. Here’s what you need to know about each component:

  • Data Enrichment obtains data about a Contact or Conversation to discover the purpose of the Conversation.
  • Routing determines which Team will be responsible for handling the Conversation. Alternatively, it can direct the Contact to a Dedicated Agent if there is one assigned.
  • Auto Assignment assigns the Contact to an available agent. It can be configured based on the needs and priorities of a specific team.

The Inbound Conversation Workflow ends when an agent is assigned to the Contact, but the conversation will continue on the platform with the agent and Contact chatting in the Messages module.

Agents have to close a Conversation once it's resolved so that a new cycle of the Workflow can start when the Contact sends a new message. Remember, a new Conversation will only open if there’s no existing Conversation.

When you create an Inbound Conversation Workflow, you need to decide the best Auto Assignment strategy based on your use case. Learn the different ways to configure Auto Assignment for Inbound Conversations.

Further Reading

And that’s everything you need to know about Inbound Conversation Workflows. If you would like to learn more about Workflows, check out these articles:

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