Easily build a Chatbot for Slack

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a robot with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can have a conversation with a human interlocutor. It can be used in many different situations and have various roles like answering customer queries, automating repetitive tasks, and more. You will find more information concerning chatbots in our article, here.

What is a Slackbot?

A Slackbot is a chatbot specifically designed to be deployed on Slack. These bots are integrated into the Slack interface and can deal with a wide range of tasks like answering your team queries, publishing welcome messages, managing your channel, and many more. In a nutshell, Slackbots can act like full fledged tools for your Slack workspace.

How to create a Slackbot ?

Step 1 ー Determine your Slackbot’s purpose:

As previously mentioned, Slackbots can be used in a wide variety of cases. Thus, the first step to creating a Slackbot, and perhaps one of the most important steps, will be to define what roles you would like your chatbot to serve. As written in an article on Slack’s website, Slackbots can be used to:

  • Monitor and help process channel activity (Simple Poll can create polls in seconds, it makes the decision-making process way simpler)
  • Post messages in channels and react to members’ activity (AtSpoke responds automatically to common questions and puts in queue trickier ones)
  • Make channel messages interactive with buttons. (Trello uses boards to organise your work, you can also add tasks directly through Slack and it will update your Trello dashboard)
slack bot tasks
This bot helps you schedule tasks and will remind you when time is up

It will also be important for you to think about the names, profiles and profile pictures of your Slackbot as it will later be acting as a fully integrated co-worker on your Slack workspace.

Once you have a better idea of what you want your Slackbot to do, this is where the fun begins!

Step 2 - Create a chatbot with Ideta

Ideta is a platform which enables its users to create multiple chatbots without needing to learn nor write a single line of code. In fact, Ideta makes it possible for anyone to create their own chatbot in just a few hours. This time range is an indicator and can obviously vary depending on how complex and powerful you want your chatbot to become.

The steps to creating a Slackbot are quite similar to the ones one has to follow to create a ‘classic’ chabot. You can follow our tutorial for making a chatbot. For this example, let’s create a simple slack bot that tells you the weather in the city of your choice.

ideta slackbot
Ideta's Interface. You don't need a single line of code

1- Add your bubbles

Greet your users and tell them what this chatbot was made for. It’s important to clearly define the purpose of the chatbot so users are not confused when they use it.

slackbot text bubble
By defining what the chatbot is for you reduce confusion

2- Save the user city users pick

Once you will have greeted them, ask them which city's weather they would like to know. Save their input as you will have to use this information later to retrieve the weather forecast through an API.

slackbot user input
Clearly ask what you want your users to do

3- Connect to a weather API

You have to connect your chatbot to a weather API to be able to retrieve the information you want. We chose Weather Stack, as it has a clear and simple documentation and is free to use if you have under 1000 calls.

To connect Ideta to an API you have to make a GET request. The API url is given by Weather Stack. After “query=” you put the saved user input. This means, the query for this GET request is equal to the city of the user’s choice.

connect slackbot to API
You can save user's input into variables to use it later on

Step 3 ー Add on some Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Natural Processing Language (NLP) allows you to make your Slackbot even smarter. NLP can process human sentences and give relevant answers and information to users’ questions and queries. It makes your chatbot more effective and human-like. 

At Ideta, we personally recommend you use Dialogflow, as we developed our own interface and made it very easy and intuitive for you to use it. You will be able to add overall NLP so users can ask questions whenever they want. You will also be able to ask many questions, making your Slackbot as complex as you like.

NLP slackbot
You can add more sentences as your chatbot grows

Step 4 ー Integrate your Slackbot on Slack

Once your chatbot is ready to use, you can easily deploy and integrate it on your Slack workspace. Ideta made it really easy to integrate your chatbot on any channel in just a few clicks.

connect chatbot to slack
There are many more channels to wich you can connect your chatbot

You will have to allow Ideta to connect to your Slack Workplace in order to be able to connect your Slackbot.

ideta allow slackbot
You have to allow our app to connect to your workplace

It’s now up and running on your Slack workspace! You can try it and share it with your coworkers.

slackbot weather
Your slackbot is now up and running

Make your Slackbot even better!

Once your Slackbot is deployed, you can still work on it to make it smarter and more efficient. You can either connect it to one of your business’ API or add an analytic tool. It is also possible to directly have a look at your Slackbot’s conversations in order to detect errors and correct them with the Ideta app.

Track data coming from your Slackbot

To go further in the improvement of your Slackbot, you can analyse data coming from your Slackbot by using our Analysis Dashboard

chatbot analytics
Our Analytics Dashboard helps you gather users' data.

Observe and learn

Once your Slackbot is up and running, you just need to slightly tweak it until you find it perfect. 

When your Slackbot is deployed, the Ideta app allows you to have access to a ‘cockpit’. The cockpit allows you to read your chatbot’s conversations so you can identify areas of improvement. You will then be able to keep modifying and improving your Slackbot even when it is deployed!

slackbot cockpit
A conversation between a user and your slackbot

To conclude, Slackbots can be used to do many things. You can check out Slack App Store to find a bunch of awesome Slackbot ready for you to use. Having a chatbot on your slack workplace is like having a virtual assistant, it can help you and your team with a variety of daily tasks and make your life easier.

You can try our Weather Bot, here. What task do you want to automate ? Tell us and we'll help you set it up!

-By Éleonore Laloux

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