Project Wheelie: Replacing Drift on my companies website

Hello fellow bot makers, my first post here so I’ll try and be brief…

I am currently running Drift on my companies website, and the cost is, in a word, ridiculous. As a small startup, it’s really hard for us to justify, but the alternatives are slim when you look to compare apples with apples.

So I decided to try and build the flows I had already built in drift, starting with my ‘Get More Sales Meetings’ bot. I found I could match almost every part of the Driftbot in Tars, save for one last thing (and likely this is a discussion topic or feature request elsewhere, so please excuse my newness!)…that is the handover to a live human being.

I’d like to know if anyone has worked out how to do this in a reasonably clean fashion? Ideally, I’d like to be able to handover to a human in a live chat - we use Help Scout and are about to run the beta of their live chat, so that would be ideal, but any platform or ideas to point me in the right direction would be marvellous.

Lastly, it’d be nice to office hours the bot, so then even if I could not do a handover, I could just run the bot when the office is closed. Trying not to make this a feature request topic, but couldn’t help myself there :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hi Paul - this is something quite a few people ask us on a weekly basis, so it’s good that you posted here.

You are right - you can do everything that you can do in Drift chatbot with Tars. Actually you can do a lot lot more with Tars once you start using our advanced features like API integration, conditional jump etc.

But what we do not allow is the live chat option and this is because of a couple of reasons :

  • Once a user switches from bot to live chat, there is an inconsistency in experience which leads to a bad UX. On the live chat, you might not answer user’s questions for even 5 minutes while the bot was responding in seconds.
  • There might not be any agent on the live chat which will just mean a hard stop on the conversation.

And that’s why, this is what our users have been doing instead : Have a button which says “I have another query” or “I want to talk to someone in the team” or “Talk to human” which then asks the user for their email and detailed query. Once the user completes this chat, you will get an email notification or you can create a ticket in your help desk software like Helpscout.

Now you can get back to this user via email and the conversation would continue.

This is how it looks like in our own bot :

And here is another bot being used by a client for customer support where they follow the same thing :


Also, I am trying to understand what you mean by office hours.

Do you mean that if you operate from 9am to 6pm, you can define these timings and bot would be visible on your site only from 6pm to 9am?

Here’s how I see it. It could be done. But it would be convoluted and the UX/UI for the customer would be an issue; however, you could have a landing page that’s sole responsibility is running live chat with a service like Drift on their free account. Your automated bot would simply auto-redirect the customers to this landing page with the live chat service. It would be weird for your users with the UX/UI break, but functioning. For all the reasons Ish mentioned above, live chat can be more of a hindrance than a solution, but if you are confident you can respond to the inquires (or staff enough people to do so), then it may be worth the effort.

I’m sure there is a way to use conditional jump logic to route users to an alternate interaction outside of your business hours that just collects their information and sends you an email notification. I’m sure there is an API that could do this for you or some other trick to define the parameters of your business hours. In the parameters? Then the user is auto-redirected to the landing page with live chat. Outside of the parameters? Then the user is directed to gambit explaining that it is no longer business hours, and they can return or leave their information with their inquiry and you will get in touch as soon as possible.

Hey @ish

Thanks for the replies. Going to tackle this one first.

What I mean by ‘office hours’ is the ability to select a time period per day, and then select days per week that our business is open. Case in point: our company, is open 8AM to 6PM, Mon to Fri.

If I could set office hours within the Tars bot, then it would allow me to marry live chat and bots together, without the UX issues you describe above. As during office hours you get Help Scout (live chat) and after hours you get the bot.