The Complete Guide to Creating Chatbots in Line Messenger
The Complete Guide to Creating Line Chatbots
Line, a fast-growing globally successful social network, provides a great way for developers to build their own customer bot, or bolt on a commercial bot into an existing Line account. Either way, there is lots to discuss when it comes to making a Line bot that can have global appeal and reach all types of customer, client or fan.
Chatbots increasingly represent a key part of any brand or business social media and online presence. Line (which the company spells out as LINE) focuses on messaging and chat, with stickers and themes to make for a more attractive environment. This makes it more useful for many businesses to communicate with clients, than the post- or micro-post-focused world of Facebook and Twitter.
Line, and the Line@ business-to-customer focused apps are fast becoming the go-to service for pure messaging communications, as the 7th most popular messaging service with 203 million monthly users and over 700 million total users. Line has a strong developer hub to offer advice and support, with SDKs and APIs to get coders up and running.
It regularly pushes new developments to keep up with and ahead of other channels. Most recently, Line added Things support for a range of Bluetooth and smart home devices to widen the opportunities for interaction.
Line offers chats in groups, and conversations can be augmented with video and voice calls to maximise the opportunities for communications. But, if your business can’t be there all day every day, a chatbot can take over to manage your Line service and engage with fans or customers.
Global brands like the NBA have 2 million followers on Line, Spanish football giant FC Barcelona has 17 million, with many entertainment, news and information brands along with many regular businesses having created Line accounts to reach around the world.
Bots are a popular feature on the service, already offering instant translations between many languages, highlighting the multilingual nature of the service. To drive further interest in bots, Line ran a 10 million yen bot contest ($100,000) last year.
It encourages many brands and businesses to offer bots alongside their usual stickers and other features to drive engagement, like Thailand’s Major Cineplex cinema chain that offers chatbot-based ticketing while Dominos pizza in Japan gained millions of in orders through its bot within months of launching.
Line, originally launched in Japan and South Korea, is huge in Asia. It very popular in Japan where payment and taxi services, among others, help make it more practical, and the service continues to grow in popularity globally. The company also recently teamed up with China’s Tencent, creating huge opportunities for payments across the region. In 2016, it unveiled its chatbot messaging API for developers, including ways to create more visual chats, including buttons and carousel options for answers.
Line chatbot developer guidelines
Chatbots, automated conversation holders for your brand or business, will create a 24/7 multilingual presence for your services and product on Line. They can be added using Line’s native services, created with a third-party bot development tool our SnatchBot, or written from scratch with the likes of Python or NodeJS.
Developers can grab the SDK for the Line Messaging API for PHP from Github, where you can also find code for some example bots.
Line is also developing its own ClovaAI technology that it plans to share with developers in 2019, enabling machine and deep learning technology for smarter chatbots and more natural interactions with consumers. Clova Chatbot Builder is one of the upcoming features, to create bots that understand the intent of user’s question and give the right answer. “The powerful dialog engine based on natural language processing technology and machine learning algorithm supports Japanese, English and Korean among other languages. It can be applied to a variety of services such as customer inquiry, ordering, and reservation. Currently, Clova Chatbot Builder is used in various services such as Line, Naver and LG U+.”
How to add or make a Line chatbot
With hundreds of thousands of bots already in use across many platforms, there’s a good chance your business already has one. A bot can help with customer service issues, provide information or other detail, using natural language processing (NLP) or natural language understanding (NLU) to better understand what people are asking it, allowing the bot to do more than just run through a pre-ordained script.
Line can import or embed them from a range of services. SnatchBot has a simple set of guidelines to add our bots to Line.
There’s already a useful developer guide to adding a bot to Line among the many guides and tutorials, but that’s just the beginning. Anyone business or brand looking to build a Line chatbot can follow a basic few steps to add an existing bot.
- Create a Line developer account and log into their site.
- Add the new chatbot provider you wish to use to the Provider List.
- Create a new channel using the Messenger API and app.
- Fill in the details about the bot, such as market type and subtype.
- Link the credentials from your bot to the Line API, including channel access tokens.
- Enable the Webhooks in Line to your bot.
There are a series of Webhook events that developers can use to interact with users, including sending reply or push messages, receiving content sent by users and getting their user profile information.
Push messages are a key benefit to the business, as you can send a message to all your followers (using multicast) at any time, highlighting new products or services, an event or something else that your followers will find important.
Additional benefits of a Line chatbot include group chats, allowing the bot to join a number of users. Rich menus help users discover how they can interact with your bot, and for those with physical stores or locations, Line Beacon alerts let the bot send messages to users whenever they are within range of a beacon.
Line bot building for non-developers
As Line offers many services including chat rooms, games, payments and a growing range of fintech services, bots can play a key role in interacting with customers. Not everyone, however, wants to invest in costly development time to a access the Line community. That’s why SnatchBot’s platform has to be the best for those wanting to build chatbots for Line. SnatchBot provides the easiest way to build a chatbot directly for the service, not only that, but because our philosophy always has been to provide the tools to allow bot-building with no coding, there is no compromise with a SnatchBot chatbot.
Whether it is deploying NLP, using our Machine Learning algorithms, or arithmetic and logic functions, our voice-to-text feature or data extraction interactions, it’s all beautifully intuitive. Our platform also allows users to build up a chat using simple steps, test it, refine and improve the chat. You can see how the chat will look on various devices (and on a whole range of channels other than Line, such as Messenger, Telegram, Slack, Skype, etc.) and test the body of the chat on real users, to see if it meets their needs.
Before developing the chat, builders (and developers) need to establish exactly what the benefit of the chatbot will be for both the business (gaining users, marketing, saving worker time) and the customer (providing information, giving out-of-hours support) and so on.
The questions and answers need to be refined down to a simple conversation that can be handled quickly and efficiently within a bot. Check out some banking or hotel chatbots to see how fast and efficient professional-level bots can be, and what information they can provide.
The elements of a great Line chatbot
Creating or coding the bot, either in the Line Bot Designer, or with SnatchBot’s cloud designer, or hand-crafted in Python or another language, will require extensive testing to ensure it delivers positive outcomes.
Here, a bespoke service like ours, with analytics and dashboards, has distinct advantages, as you can see where the bots succeed and where people struggle to get over a sticking point. Being able to add our powerful NLP features also improves the level of information a bot will provide, and while some developers or businesses may worry about using AIs, the technology is proving itself in many use cases.
Designers need to ensure the bot has a strong welcoming message, clearly highlights what it can do for the user, and also have a set of exit paths that put the user in touch with someone who can help if the bot can’t provide an answer.
If the bot is providing information, then the user needs to be able to find it quickly without wading through options or long lists of choices. There are plenty of good and bad design examples for chatbots, and the bot market is mature enough to have its own good practices for anyone to follow.
Bots also can do more than just represent your business, they can provide useful or fun features, as in this list of Line bots. Thinking about how to add value to the bot for the customer is a key part of winning and maintaining their engagement.
Chatbots are fast becoming a key part of any business for customer support, marketing and engagement. Line provides a way to stay in touch with a fast-growing audience, and as the likes of Facebook and others have faced many social media backlashes, having bots across other services may prove a useful backstop.
As chatbots become an expected part of any company’s online presence, ensuring you can communicate with customers at any time, in the app or platform of their choice will be a key part of remaining relevant, and developers will be only too pleased to work in an ecosystem that encourages and respects creativity.
Whatever your business, chatbots are now a key part of the engagement ritual, and Line is a great place to start experimenting. While there’s plenty of competition for mobile and messaging apps, Line stacks up pretty well against competition like WhatsApp and others, making it a useful took to support.
Create your Line chatbot with SnatchBot: the practical steps
Let’s assume you’ve created your chatbot. Under Settings you open Channels the second option in the blue, left hand column). On the right panel, you will see a ‘Line Messenger’ channel:
Next click on the ‘Plus’ button corresponding to Line Messenger.
Naturally, have to have a LINE account to place your bot on that channel. It’s very simple to get one and once you have your account, you can access the LINE developers console using the email address and password you used to create your account.
You only have to register as a developer once, on your first login. Again, you just need your email address and to accept the developers’ user agreement:
Now you need to create a ‘provider’, which is simply the name under which your chatbot is being offered. You can be an individual or use a company or brand name:
Next, select the ‘Create Channel’ button on the Messaging API:
A form will open and you fill in the details. You’ll want an icon ready to upload that conveys the spirit of your bot:
Line offers a free plan and a developer trial. The Developer Trial allows your bot to ‘push’, i.e. start conversations, with up to 50 people.
Next, indicate the Category and Subcategory of your bot’s activity and give an email address to which Line will send you notifications.
In the ‘Channel access token (long-lived)’ menu, click the ‘Issue’ button, and from the drop-down menu choose 0 hours.
Set the Webhooks option to enable and paste the URL in the ‘Webhook URL’ field provided by SnatchBot. In the image below, the id number at the end of the URL will be the id of your bot.
Finally under Using Line@ features, switch off ‘Auto-reply messages’ and ‘Greeting messages’:
Make a copy of the Channel access token (long-lived) and Channel secret values then in step five of our ‘Add Line’ module, place them in the respective fields:
You are given a QR code which you can use to add your bot to a contact list and to share it.
That’s it! No coding needed and you can build a Line chatbot with all the powerful features of our platform.