What is a Webhook and how can I use them?

The Webhook is increasingly being used by companies hoping to improve their customer experience. But what exactly are they and how can they help you?

If you were offered something that could save you valuable time, would you say no?

That is essentially what a Webhook is. It is a user-defined HTTP callback which retrieves and stores data from an event, usually from outside of your software application.

As opposed to an API which requires you to be constantly polling, webhooks will let you know when information has been received, saving you valuable time. In really simple terms a Webhook is a messenger between your chatbot and a source of information.

How do you install a Webhook?

A Webhook is essentially a POST request which is sent to a URL.

You will register an http:// or https:// URL which will store this POST request in JSON or XML format before processing it.

How is a Webhook different from APIs?

An Application Programming Interface (API) is different in that the user must make a direct request to the program for a response.

For example, if you create an application which is built on top of Facebook, the user would need a Facebook account to use it. When your application is downloaded the burden is on you to ask the customer to sign in with their Facebook account or create an account.

Are there real life examples of Webhooks?

Yes, there are lots and Inbenta’s chatbot Veronica uses several Webhooks as part of her programming.

If you were to click on the bottom right of this page on the chat icon and ask for a live demo, you will see one in action. Your request for a live demo will notify Veronica to ask the necessary questions in order to obtain your details so that a demo can be scheduled with you in the future.

In this scenario, through natural language processing (NLP), Veronica will be able to recognize your request and the Webhook will spring to action, telling her to ask you for your details and then for Inbenta to schedule a demo with you. The Webhook, essentially, stores your data and initiates the process for a live demo.

Other examples include Sendgrid which uses its Event Webhook to provide you with data about your sent emails (whether they have been read or bounced, etc) while Shopify offers Webhooks to keep your e-commerce data updated (shipping orders, updating accounting software, etc).

What can the Webhook be used for?

Webhooks are incredibly flexible and can be used for many functions such as:

  • Placing orders
  • Changing prices
  • Invoices
  • Payments
  • Notifying your IM client or pager when you are offline
  • Collecting data for data-warehousing
  • Integrating accounting software
  • Disputes
  • Removing customer data from your database when they end their subscription or uninstall an app
  • Filtering order items and informing shippers about the order

Webhooks have proved an invaluable tool for shouldering the heavy burden of updating services and entering data. It is one that many companies are already using and which will be increasingly relied on by others in the near future.

Inbenta utilizes its patented natural language processing and +11 years of research & development to create interactive chatbots with an industry leading +90% self-service rate.

Companies around the world including AMP NZ utilize the InbentaBot to maintain a personal service for their customers while reducing support tickets.

Interested in finding out more? Our team of experts is at your service to design a custom proposal for you.

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