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Best Practices for Using Instructional Notes in Chatbots

How to access the Instructional Notes

Forethought dashboardWidget Configuration Menu on left pane → Knowledge Base on right pane

Instructional Notes.gif


Introduction to Instructional Notes when paraphrasing Widget (Not available for Email) response from your connected Knowledge Base

The Instructional Notes feature is designed to enhance the capability of your chatbots by providing them with additional context and instructions. This tool allows you to tailor the chatbot's responses more closely to your company's unique communication style, technical jargon, and content preferences. Whether it's mapping acronyms, specifying prohibited topics, or ensuring certain information is always included in responses, Instructional Notes empowers you to fine-tune the chatbot's output to meet your specific needs.

The information provided with instructional notes will globally apply to all the paraphrased articles. You are not able to provide per-article notes at this time.


Key Capabilities

  • Acronym Mapping: Translate specific acronyms into their full forms or contextual meanings within your company's domain.
  • Do Not Say Instructions: Specify topics, terms, or types of information that the chatbot should avoid mentioning in its responses.
  • Must Say Instructions: Outline critical information or phrases that must be included in the chatbot's responses to certain queries.
  • Company Jargon Contextualization: Provide explanations or alternative phrasing for company-specific jargon to ensure clarity and relevance in responses.


Best Practices for Crafting Clear Instructions

General Guidelines

  • Be Specific: Vague instructions can lead to misunderstandings or inconsistent responses. Clearly define what you expect from the chatbot.
  • Prioritize Clarity: Use simple, straightforward language to avoid ambiguity. Remember, what seems obvious to you may not be to others—or to the chatbot.
  • Provide Examples: Whenever possible, include examples to illustrate your instructions. This can greatly help in conveying your expectations more clearly.


What to Do

  • Use Clear, Concise Language: Avoid complex sentence structures and jargon unless explaining that specific jargon.
  • Be Explicit About Context: When providing jargon or acronyms, explain them in context to ensure the chatbot can apply them correctly.
  • Provide Do's and Don'ts: For every rule or instruction, consider providing an example of what to do and what not to do. This clarifies the expectation.
  • Regularly Update Instructions: As your company evolves, so should your instructions. Regular updates can help the chatbot stay relevant and effective.


What Not to Do

  • Ensure that the information provided is self-contained. Refrain from instructing the bot to refer to URLs, links to other articles, etc. The notes should be comprehensive and understandable solely based on their content.
  • Avoid using conditional terms like "if available," "if you can find," or "if a customer asks." Instead, specify these rule-based conditions directly within your Knowledge Base or by establishing custom Intents.
  • Avoid Overloading Instructions: Too many instructions or overly complex rules can confuse the chatbot, leading to poorer performance. Focus on essential information. To prevent overuse of the feature, we’ve put a character limit to the maximum amount of instructions you can give.
  • Avoid providing instructions that are dependent on specific user queries. The notes are intended to function independently of user input. Do not include directives that dictate the bot should respond with "ABC" if the user asks "ABC."



The Instructional Notes feature is a powerful tool for customizing and refining your chatbot's responses. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your chatbot not only meets but exceeds expectations, providing accurate, relevant, and engaging interactions with users. Remember, the goal is to make the chatbot a seamless extension of your team, embodying the knowledge and nuances of your company.

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