Conversation Rules

Use conditions and actions to automate processes such as assign, tag, close, reply, and handoff in Conversations.

Michael Stephenson avatar
Written by Michael Stephenson
Updated over a week ago


Conversation Rules allow users to automate processes within Conversations. Users can configure rules that trigger customizable actions when specified conditions are met. The available actions include assigning conversations, adding participants, tagging, closing, replying, and running workflow rules. Conversation Rules provide a way to streamline conversation workflows based on defined criteria.

When Do Rules Apply?

Conversation Rules are evaluated in the following scenarios:

Inbound Messages with No Conversation History

The rules are applied to the first message of a new conversation that you receive. Conversations that you start yourself from the dashboard or a student's profile are not subject to these rules.

New Messages in Closed Conversations

If a conversation has been closed and a new message comes in, it's considered a new conversation, and the rules apply. It’s recommended to close conversations as they're finished to ensure the rules are evaluated correctly. It's recommended to close conversations as they're finished to ensure the rules are evaluated correctly.

Special Case: When BoltBot is Enabled

Conversation rules do not apply when BoltBot is enabled. However, there is one exception: If you have a rule with the "Chatbot Handoff Intention" condition, it will be evaluated at the time of handoff (if applicable). We will dive deeper into this topic in the conditions section below.

How are Rules Processed?

When an inbound message is received and matches the outlined criteria—a new message with no prior conversation history or a new message in a previously closed conversation—Element451 initiates a rule-checking process. The message is systematically compared against your custom rules in the Conversation Settings > General > Automation Settings.

  1. This rule evaluation is conducted sequentially, from the top of your rule list to the bottom. This means the order in which your rules are arranged is critical; rules are checked in the order they appear.

  2. The first rule that meets the conditions of the message is applied.

  3. After applying this rule, the system ceases further checks for that message, ensuring that only the first matching rule is applied. Subsequent rules are bypassed.

Accessing Conversation Rules

To add rules, navigate to Engagement > Conversations > Settings > General.

Adding a New Rule

To create a new rule:

  1. Click Add Rule at the bottom of the Automation Settings section. Once clicked, a slide-out sheet will appear, allowing you to configure your new rule.

  2. Add a name for the rule at the top of the slide-out sheet.

  3. Choose whether to enable it upon saving or leave it disabled (default). If you're going to test the new rule, we recommend leaving it disabled until you are ready to begin testing.

  4. Add a description of the rule. This provides at-a-glance context of the rule when reviewing your list of rules on the Conversation Settings page.

  5. Set your condition(s) for this rule. Each rule must have at least one condition. You can learn more about the conditions below.

  6. Choose the action(s) for the rule to execute. Each rule must have at least one action. You can learn more about the actions below.

  7. Click Save

  8. If you still need to enable your rule in step three, remember to enable it once you're ready to test or go live.

Conditions and Actions

Conversation Rules are made up of conditions and actions.


Conditions define the criteria for the conversation rule to trigger and execute the specified action(s). Conditions allow you to target automation rules to specific situations and populations.

If an inbound conversation meets the condition(s) of the rule, then the action will occur.

There are five types of conditions from which to choose, and you can combine multiple types:

  • Segment reference: This condition loads an existing user segment. For example, if you have a transfer student segment and want all inbound conversations by transfer students to be tagged 'transfer,' you could use this condition.

  • Segment builder: Creates a segment and filters your audience based on selected criteria.

  • Inbound condition: Allows the rule to apply only to messages from specific channels by specifying the conversation channel the message is received on, such as Email, SMS, WhatsApp (coming soon), and Live Chat.

  • Date condition: Triggers rules at specified dates and times. Multiple filters can create date ranges and combinations.

  • Chatbot handoff intent: When BoltBot is enabled, you can trigger actions on a specific "message intent" or all messages. For a comprehensive understanding of how BoltBot handoffs work, please review the BoltBot Handoffs article.


Actions are the tasks executed when an automation rule is triggered by its conditions being met. Actions allow the automation rule to take valuable measures in response to the conversation.

There are six types of actions to choose from, and you can combine multiple types to accomplish more complex automation.

  • Assignment: Assign an individual or a Team to the conversation

    • Assignment is a single action and will only be executed by the first matching condition that the conversation meets

    • Conversations are only allowed one assignee

  • Add Participants: Add internal users to a conversation

  • Tag: Add a custom tag to a conversation for filtering

  • Close: Automatically close/end the conversation

    • Close is a single action and will only be executed by the first matching condition that the conversation meets.

  • Reply: Send an automatic message reply

  • Run Workflow Rule: Executes a workflow rule

Managing Rules

To manage your rules, navigate to Engagement > Conversations > Settings > General > Automation Settings.

Edit or Delete a Rule

To edit or delete a rule, click on the three dots to the far right of the rule.

Reorder Rules

A new inbound conversation is executed against all rules based on their order in your list of rules in the Automation Settings section of Conversation Settings. To reorder the rules, use the two horizontal lines to drag rules up or down.

Enabling/Disabling Rules

The enabled button should be turned on for active rules or turned off for unused ones.

Use Cases

Here are some ways that our partner institutions are using conversation rules:

  • Assign a conversation to an admissions counselor

  • Send an automatic reply when the office is closed for holidays

  • Send an automatic reply during nights and weekends

  • Assign a conversation or add a participant based on the intent of the conversation (e.g., financial aid or account balance)

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