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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.


  1. What is User Input and how it works

  2. User Input Reply Types

  3. Viewing Responses

  4. Using Saved Responses with Custom Fields

  5. User Input in SMS

What is User Input and how it works

User Input Block is a part of a message 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 in 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


Please note: 

– If people reply to a User Input block with any keywords, the keywords will not trigger. Thus, "stop" and "unsubscribe" keywords will not unsubscribe a person if they type them in response to the User Input block.

– You can set up User Reply waiting time. After this time User Reply gets deactivated and won’t save the reply in the corresponding Custom Field.

– IMPORTANT! New phone validation for system fields getting populated (all methods except CUF to SF) 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. The regular custom fields are operating exactly the same way they used to.

– 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.


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, upload it to a CRM, or even forget about it in your downloads folder.

The ability to view responses right in ManyChat helps you have even more fun with the User Input block. We hope these new data views inspire you to gather even more information from your subscribers (emails, phone numbers, orders, bookings, surveys, etc).


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).

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. 


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.



Formulas

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



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.

Here is how it looks like: 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


User Input and Custom Fields give you a superpower that allows you to collect useful data from your subscribers and use it for different integrations and even for making the conversation more natural and engaging.


Save interaction DateTime to custom fields

Available to save DateTime of user interaction in the bot.


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

Managing your custom fields

To 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.

Use icon 1 to archive your Custom Field and icons 2 to restore or completely delete the Field. 


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

User Input in SMS

For the SMS Channel, you can ask your Subscribers Text/Email/Number/URL/Phone Reply Types. 

Instead of the Skip Button in Messenger, your Subscribers can skip flow by typing the default “Skip” Reply or any other Keyword you will set up. 

If your Subscribers make mistakes answering your question we will send them a Retry Message. You can set up the amount of Retry Messages manually. Remember that each Retry Message is paid. 

You can set up the User Reply’s waiting time. If your Subscribers won’t give their answers in this period of time the flow will continue.