Since our recent update, we have added Delay to our collection of reply actions (also referred to as Delays reply actions) to our platform.
These Delays can be used for letting the bot wait a certain amount of time before sending the next reply message. This is especially useful for flows where the chatbot sends multiple text replies, because the addition of delays between them makes sure the user has the time to actually read the message before the next one is sent.
Deprecating Delay Delivery
The new Delay action works in a similar way to the Delay Delivery setting. You can add Delay Delivery by clicking on the Text Reply and going to the Advanced Settings, as shown below:
We will remove support for this option in the near future and we recommend using the new Delay action instead.
The new Delay actions are better than the old Delay Delivery setting because it is more clearly visible. When adding a Delay Delivery, you will have to manually go to the advanced settings of each Text Reply in order to see its delivery time. This is inefficient, and you are more likely to forget one or two this way.
Delay actions, however, are actually shown in the flow, which gives you a clear overview of all delays, and helps you not to forget to add some.
Delay actions versus Timer Triggers
The way Delay actions work seems similar to Timer Triggers. Timer triggers are still better suited in some use cases.
Delay actions are practically only used for adding delays between text messages, so that the chatbot doesn’t spam multiple messages at once and improve the user experience.
Timer Triggers, however, can be used for waiting for user input and send a reply if no user input is received. For example, if your flow is expecting a customer to provide contact information, or for sending a follow-up message after a few hours of inactivity.
See our blog 3 ways to improve your chatbot by using Timers for more examples of the capabilities of the Timer Trigger.
How to use the Delay action
So in short, use Delay actions for just adding simple delays of a few seconds between your chatbots text messages, and the Timer Triggers should be used for more complex situations or when you want to wait for a longer time period. But how do you actually use these new delays?
- Simply drag them into your flow from your replies section
- Configure the settings
Next, you can click on it to configure its settings. We recommend the amount of seconds according to the length of the first message (the Text Reply above the delay), so the user has just enough time to read the first message before you send the next.
Note: “Send busy typing” is only supported with a few channels, like for example, the web widget.
When using a delay that is too short, the next message will be sent before the user is ready, and when the delay is too long, the user has to wait for the message, which is also not optimal. When the user has to wait too long, they might become inpatient and respond before they receive the new message. That is of course not what you want, so it is important to try to hit the sweet spot when using delays. Testing your bot helps checking if the length of your timers is good enough.
You can change these settings anytime by clicking on the delay icon within your flow.
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