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User Input and Custom Fields

User Input Block is a great way to collect, store and export data from your subscribers and even reuse their responses in a conversation. 

What is User Input and how it works


User Input Block is a part of a Flow builder and it is available in all Pro accounts.

Inside this block, you can ask your subscribers for some information and get responses which will be stored in ManyChat's system. User Input consists of a text field and the input itself.


User Input Reply Types


Reply Types allow you to verify responses and make sure you get the correct replies:

  • Text — free input without any verification;
  • Multiple Choice — a number of Quick Replies with the ability to store the response and use another value as a saved answer (ex. user clicks "Yes" reply and his answer is stored as "Loves Jazz"). Multiple Choice Type allows your subscribers to stay in a current flow (unlike common Quick Replies where you have to specify a new message for each of them) and use free keyboard input with the replies.

  • Number — the response must contain digits only;
  • Email — email address verification (valid e-mail should look like this: me@mail.com);
  • Phone — phone number;
  • URL — URL type requires a link (for mysite.com);
  • File — requires a file uploaded through Messenger;
  • Image — requires an image uploaded through Messenger;
  • Location — requires location sent from Messenger;
  • Date - opens a calendar inside Messenger in which subscribers should pick a date;
  • Date and Time - add a time picker to the calendar so that subscribers could choose date and time;

As for Custom Fields types, most of the User Input reply types are saved into the text Custom Field - it concerns the Text, Multiple Choice, Email, Phone, URL, File, Image, Location types.
Phone numbers should be stored in text Custom Fields since the number type Custom Fields don't include the + sign which is used for phone numbers on Facebook.

However, if you need to save the emails and phone numbers for the Email and SMS features, you'll need to save the data to Email and Phone System Fields. You can learn more on them here: Sending Email through ManyChat and Sending SMS through ManyChat

Important Notes:


– If people reply to a User Input block with any keywords, the keywords will not trigger except "stop" and "unsubscribe" that will stop the Flow and the User Input and call for the "Unsubscribe" Flow.
– For better user experience it's best to specify a Skip button for your User Input so your subscribers could simply skip the input and continue engaging with your bot without retries and waiting for 24 hours.
– User Input can be skipped or dropped by following methods:

1. Fill it in, giving the answer needed for the specific type. 

2. Wait for 24 hours. The Flow will be dropped completely if there's no answer.

3. Give enough incorrect answers for Retry messages to stop coming. Flow will be continued without saving any input.

4. Type in "stop" or "unsubscribe" keyword. Flow will be stopped completely.

5. Press the "Skip" button that appears after 1 incorrect answer. Flow will be continued without saving any input.
– You can set up User Reply retry time. After the set number (3 in that example) of wrong answers User Reply gets deactivated and won’t save the reply in the corresponding Custom Field.

Phone validation for system fields (for manual input only) works in the following way:


1. Check the number of symbols and whether those symbols are valid (numbers, dashes, punctuation marks, brackets, and spaces). If there is anything other than those symbols, the phone is considered invalid.
2. Check the country code and the operator code. If there are none or if the codes are non-existent, the phone is considered invalid.
3. The number gets sent to Twilio that in turn checks whether it can send an SMS to that number.
The validation validates these symbols if they are located anywhere in the phone number: "+", "()", ".", and "-". The number will be saved along with those symbols in the system field, but in the end, once the validation is complete, the field will only contain the numbers. If the validation is successful, the phone is operational.

If it has been denied for whatever reason, the user will receive the retry message. The specifics of the error can be found by trying to update the phone system field manually, through a user's profile in the Audience.

Viewing Responses


Whenever your conversations have User Input fields in them, the “Show Responses” button will show up under the stats for that conversation. This button will take you to where subscriber responses live in ManyChat!

You’ll immediately see the responses in a Spreadsheet-type view, and you’ll also have a couple of neat viewing options:

1. Switch to the Feed View to see real-time answers one-by-one. This is especially useful for ManyChat bots designed to take orders or collect lead-gen information from subscribers;

2. Export the data to a CSV file, so you can open it in your spreadsheet software of choice or upload it to a CRM.

Using Saved Responses with Custom Fields


Custom Fields allow you to save the responses as a unique value for each of your subscribers and use them with Zapier and other Integrations, as a Condition for targeting, or even as variables (like First Name, Full Name, etc.). 

Go to Settings>Custom Fields to create and manage them. Every Custom Field you create has a Name, Type, and Description (which is optional), Folder (if you have at least one folder).

Using User Input Block in your messages allows you to save the responses in a specific Custom Field. Choose the desired one for each User Input in the message builder.

Please note: the Custom Field type should correspond to the type of the User Input bock it's connected to. Thus if you set up the User Input block of the Number type, the Custom Field attached should also be of the Number type. Remember that Phone number requires Text Custom Field.

Zapier Integration


Ask a subscriber for an email/phone number inside the bot, save the response in their Custom Fields and add them to your email marketing service / CRM, or register them to a webinar with just 1 tap.

Here is how to get started with Zapier

Targeting


You can use Custom Fields as a Condition for targeting. For example, you can send Broadcast to a number of subscribers with a special value (or any value in Custom Field).

Variables


Once you save a response in Custom Field, you can use it as a variable. In this example, I ask my subscribers to name my bot to use this name in further conversations. 


Start typing {{ and choose the desired variable (Custom Field) in a drop-down menu. Use Fallback for subscribers who have this value empty.


With Date&Time Custom Field, you can also choose the format which will be used for the display, including the possibility to create the format most suitable for you:

Formulas


You can use formulas within Numeric Custom Fields. It will add much more flexibility to your automation.


For example we want to multiply our Custom Field by 1.5 

Please note that Formulas only work with Numeric Custom Fields.

Additionally, there is a rounding function available in Custom Formulas: round().
It allows you to record regular numbers into your Custom Fields with a set accuracy. Here is a couple of examples:
– round(1.66666666, 2) => 1.67 – rounding up.
– round(1.33333333, 2) => 1.33
– round(1.33333333) => 1 (the same thing as round(1.33333333, 0))
– round(66666, -1) => 66670 (the tens are rounding up)
– round(66664, -1) => 66660 (the tens are rounding down)

We also have a way to calculate the exponents. With this ** symbol , you can add an exponent to your number.
Examples:
2**10 => 1024
2** -1 => 0.5

Comparing Custom Fields


You can compare values of Numeric, Date and Date/Time Custom Fields in Rules (Automation>Rules) and in Condition Step in Flow Builder. For example, you can send a message to your subscriber after the value in Custom Field 1 becomes equal to the value in Custom Field 2 or create a coupon date expiring in 3 days after being issued.


You can also compare Date or Date/Time to Custom User Fields of the same types using formulas to compare whether coupon utilization date does not exceed coupon issuance date plus 3 days. Use offsets to create such comparisons


Save interaction Date&Time to custom fields


Click on the Set Custom Field in Actions, and choose your Custom User Field or Bot Field with Date&Time type. Next, change Operation field to "Save interaction date/time" value:

Managing your custom fields


To organize, archive or delete unneeded custom fields go to Settings -> Custom Fields. Please, notice, that while archiving Custom Fields allows to restore them later, deletion is permanent and can't be reverted.
You will be warned about Flows that use the chosen Custom Field in it upon the attempt to delete it.

Please note! All Flows where you used this Custom Field will stay published but without a Custom Field User Input will stop collecting Replies.

Deleting folder with Custom Fields you can choose to archive Custom Fields inside folder or put them to the root.


User Input in SMS


For the SMS Channel, you can ask your subscribers for Text/Email/Number/URL/Phone reply. 

Instead of the Skip Button in Messenger, your Subscribers can skip flow by typing the default “Skip” Reply.

If your Subscribers make mistakes answering your question we will send them a Retry Message. Remember that each Retry Message is paid.