How to Make a Chatbot for Free

by Apr 30, 2021Websites & SEO

For many businesses, chatbots are the most efficient way to manage customer support. They automate manual tasks and keep staff focused on the parts of their jobs that require human interaction.

Tidio is a free chatbot-building platform with pre-built integrations for popular services like Facebook Messenger and Slack. We’ll show you how to get started making your own chatbot without coding!

Chatbots are quickly becoming a staple in businesses – they’re a great way to automate day-to-day tasks without having to rely on staff or as part of an otherwise automated workflow. Today, we’ll show you a free tool for building your own chatbot on Facebook Messenger, Slack, and other messaging platforms.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are automated programs that run inside messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, usually powered by artificial intelligence. Some of them are simple order-takers; others can handle more complex tasks like making restaurant reservations or keeping customer service operators busy with simple questions. Chatbots normally require some programming to make, but Tidio has created a tool for non-technical end-users to build bots using pre-built integrations with popular services like Slack.

Getting started

Go to and register for the free plan. Once you’ve signed up, you can log in and head to the dashboard, where you can either start building a bot from scratch or selecting from pre-made templates. First, we’ll be building a bot from scratch to get used to the interface – later, we’ll show how to build it using different parts in Tidio’s library instead of having to code every step.

From the dashboard, choose “New bot” and then click “Create” on the following page. Fill in a name and description for your bot (the bot’s name will show the name on Messenger). Then, you’ll need to choose a template for your bot – we’ll be using the “BigCommerce” integration, but you can read more about all of Tidio’s integrations here.

Once you’ve decided on a template, you’ll arrive at a list of each step. You can expand each step and add different actions to it; this is where the real power of Tidio comes out. We’ll be explaining how to use and edit these steps in the next sections.

Chatbot builder interface

When we get into building our chatbot, the first thing is defining what kind of responses we want it to have. We’ll start with the first step – when we receive a message.

This is where you’ll set up what kind of response it gives. We’ll give the bot a welcome message to our friends, so it doesn’t seem like we’ve lost our minds, and then make it respond to any other messages with the help command.

Click on “Send Message” and then add a welcome message and a help command. Now that we’ve got our welcome message let’s make our bot actually do something! Click on “Add Step” and “BigCommerce” again to continue to the next step: Product Search.

This step is pretty cool – it searches for a product through your BigCommerce store. It will ask you for a product keyword to search with and then two additional parameters to define the sort of product you’re looking for (you can set this as either “name” or “category,” depending on whether you’re making the bot search by name or category). Once you’ve got that setup, click Save Step.

Handle payments

Now that we’ve got our BigCommerce search step let’s add the PayPal button to handle payments. This step will scan a message for URL payments and then allow users to pay you through PayPal. Here, we’ll be using the “PayPal” integration, but there are other integrations like Stripe and FastSpring that you can also use.

We’ll make this step work by adding a field for our payment information, and we’ll copy the code from the example shown at the top of this page. Once that’s done, click Save Step.

Now, let’s add the shipping notification step. This will let us send a message to the user, letting them know when their orders have shipped.

We’ll set it up by giving the bot a title and then sending a message through Facebook Messenger. Just like before, we’ll be using the “Messenger” integration.

For this step, we’re going to be setting up simply automated responses. We’ll choose a title for our bot and fill in the text of our message. The last thing we want to add for this step is a shipping notification template. We’ll choose “Standard Message” as the filter, and followed by filling in the template:

{sender} your order has been shipped! {order_id} {title}

Our bot’s finished! As soon as we save it, it will come to life and start speaking through Facebook Messenger. You can test it out by clicking on “Send A Message,” filling in some text and sending a message back to your chatbot. It will then send you a response and tell you it has finished talking to you.

How to customize our bot without programming

Let’s take a look at how to customize our bot without programming. First, we’ll be going back to the Welcome Step. There, we’ll change the text of the welcome message:

And then, we’ll go into each step and customize their responses as well. For example, the BigCommerce search step will now be more informative:

Now that everything’s ready let’s go back to our chatbot and test it out! We can send a message with any products we’re looking for and fill our order information into the PayPal button step. We’ll override the shipping notifications with the information from our search results, and our BigCommerce search step will do the rest of the work for us. If we want to add additional products, we can easily do that by adding new fields to each step.

And there you have it! You can find a more in-depth tutorial here, as well as additional customization options. We hope you enjoy building your bot! Happy chatting!

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