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How to use keywords, ignored messages and default replies in your Microsoft Teams bot
How to use keywords, ignored messages and default replies in your Microsoft Teams bot

How to make your bot more intelligent and responsive to a user's messages

Melita Gandham avatar
Written by Melita Gandham
Updated over a week ago

This help doc explains how to use various functions within the Auto Replies section of the platform. This includes creating, editing and deleting keywords, creating and setting up default replies, seeing ignored messages, adding new keywords and archiving/deleting certain user responses.

You will find the Auto Replies section in the grey, left hand menu when you are in your bot:


Keywords are messages that are set-up to automatically respond to a predetermined word or phrase that a user might type in. These could be messages the user has been instructed to type by the bot in order to collect or trigger certain information, or messages that a user is free typing for another reason - for example, asking the bot a question.

Responses that are recognised will receive the relevant reply message as set up in the keywords section of the platform. Keywords can be set in one of two response modes - “Is” means the bot will respond with a particular message if that word or phrase, and only that word or phrase, is used.

For example, with the keywords below the word “idea” is set to an “Is” which means the message “I have an idea - Q1” will be triggered if a user types in “idea” but not if they type in “I have an idea”.

The keyword “start” is set as a “Contains” rule which means the “Welcome Message” will trigger if the word “start” is used at all in a response - eg. “Start, “Let’s start”, “I want to start” and “Start idea submission process” would all trigger the Welcome Message.

To delete a keyword simply click on the red ‘Delete’ button. Or click on the light blue ‘Edit’ button to add/remove words or change the messages they link to.

If you want to create a new keyword, simply add them in the top green section with each keyword separated by a comma. Select whether the rules are “Is” or “Contains” and then the message they should link to. Then click the dark blue ‘Save’ button.

Once you’ve done that you’ll want to push the changes live by clicking the button in the orange bar. Whenever you make a change to your bot, remember to push the changes live.

Messages that your bot receives that do not match any keywords are shown in the Ignored Messages section of the platform. Any unrecognised messages will be sent the Default Reply, if you have set it up.

Default Reply

A Default Reply is simply a normal message that recognises that the user has typed something which the bot doesn’t understand or have a response for. It usually confirms to the user what the bot can do and provides some instructions or buttons to click on to proceed.

For example, below we see that a user has typed in “Can I get an update on my idea?”. A keyword hasn’t been created that matches any of this criteria and so the user is sent the default reply which includes the ability to submit an idea or learn about the program. This means the user doesn’t reach a dead end and can click an option to continue.

Once you’ve created your message you’ll want to set it up as the Default Reply. You can do that by simply clicking on the Default Reply option in the Auto Replies section of the menu. Select your message from the drop down menu, click save and then push those changes live.

Ignored Messages

Any message that is sent to the bot which triggers your Default Reply, or doesn’t have a keyword created, will get logged to the Ignored Messages section. This can be found in the Auto Replies section of the left hand menu.

Here, you’ll see any ignored message along with the time and date it was sent. You can archive these ignored messages or create keywords to ensure in the future they trigger existing or new content that you have in the bot and relates to the topic being enquired about. Any archived messages can also be deleted permanently from your bot’s message history for privacy reasons.

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