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Each library comes preloaded with hundreds of questions and responses, so your chatbot can start helping users right away. You can also create custom questions for inquiries that are not answered by the general library content. Creating strong custom questions based on user needs and thorough testing will enhance your chatbot’s performance. Here are tips to help you create effective custom responses and ensure AI compatibility.


Test first

Speak student.

  • Avoid jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations specific to your school/department. The AI has limitations with being able to add these items to the knowledge base.

  • Test more than one phrasing.

  • Use specific language.

  • Instead of “What forms do I need?” try “What financial aid forms do I need?” or “What forms do I need for a SAP appeal?”


For more information on how to test your bot, review the Test Your Bot article.

Customize existing responses

Edit the existing response instead of creating a new custom question from scratch.

  • This saves your time and prevents duplication and conflicting information.

  • Existing responses will be approved faster in the moderation queue.

  • Relevant suggestions or website links means your chatbot is functioning properly.

  • Let suggestions and website links help do the heavy lifting. Focus on customizing the IDKs (the "I Don't Knows")


Only create a brand new question if:

  • A response doesn't exist (an IDK, or "I Don't Know")
  • The bot gives irrelevant suggestions and/or website links

For more information on how to edit your responses, review the Editing or Creating a New Custom Question article.

Focus on your area's content

The AI currently has limitations with creating brand new content related to the following areas:

  • Chatbot personality and small-talk
    • The chatbot's personality is pre-built and not customizable. So while the conversations around jokes and the weather are fun, we are currently not able to customize them further.
  • Academic programs
    • Specific program and course names and codes are not able to be included in the top-level question.
    • Focus on customizing existing academic program content by linking to existing content on your website and/or in your course catalog.


There is a limit of 30 out-of-library (OOL) questions for each contract. 

  • Out-of-library content is defined as chatbot questions that are beyond the scope of the intent, mission, and general objectives of a department. 
  • For example, the mission of most Housing offices is to maintain a safe and welcoming on-campus living environment. Custom questions about housing programming, residence options, and housing policies are considered in-library and do not count against your out-of-office limit. However, custom questions about graduation, student health visits, or tutoring options fit in other content libraries (i.e. Registrar, Student Life, etc.). 

Although ultimate discretion remains with Ocelot to determine OOL content, it is our philosophy to create a superior chatbot experience by implementing a liberal interpretation that leans toward supporting your interests. In other words, we'll do our best to approve customizations in this area, but may have to abide by these limitations and will communicate to you when applicable.


We are continually exploring new AI models to reduce these types of limitations in the future.

Think conversationally

Be direct and concise. Keep responses short and to the point. Link out to additional resources if needed.

  • What is the simplest, most straightforward way you can ask this question?

  • Keep your wording as simple as possible to ensure you maintain the chatbot’s conversational tone and remain under the 550-character response limit.

  • Try not to overwhelm the user with too much information. Let them ask more questions as needed. However, also avoid one-word responses or only adding a URL as a response.


Speak student.

  • Avoid jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations specific to your school/department. The AI has limitations with being able to add these items to the knowledge base.


Don’t worry about the perfect wording. Let the AI do the work.

  • Keep in mind that the responses are all that the user will see. Ocelot may need to adjust the wording of custom questions in order to ensure the artificial intelligence works properly, but the responses should be the focus of your customizations.

Time-travel to the future

Consider future maintenance.

  • Avoid responses that will need to be regularly updated. For example:

    • Avoid using references to specific academic years (when possible).

    • Link to a forms page instead of listing specific forms.

    • Link to a directory instead of listing out specific staff members.

  • Instead of using detailed URLs in your text, use the link icon feature to hyperlink the text. This will keep responses clean and easy to maintain.

    • To hyperlink an email, enter “mailto:” before the email address (i.e., mailto:clientservices@ocelotbot.com).

    • To hyperlink a phone number (to allow mobile users to make a direct call by clicking on that number), use “tel:” before a phone number (i.e. tel:123-456-7890).

  • If you anticipate needing to review the response in the future, set a review date so that the system reminds you to review it at that time.