Conversation Node

Angel Cheung
Angel Cheung
  • Updated

Quick links

Outbound SMS

Expected responses

Exact keyword match

Rule match

Reply expiry

Mergefield explorer


Configure your customer conversations based on anything you receive and progress flow experiences based on what a reply contains, all through the Conversation node on the canvas.

The conversation node allows you to ask your customer a question through the Outbound SMS tab and craft the reply paths depending on their reply through the Replies tab. Before configuring the Replies tab, we strongly recommend reading how Reply Matching works and best practices for configuring workflows with rules.

Outbound SMS

Edit the outbound SMS, replies and the reply expiry settings. You can refer to the merge fields section to see how to reference a merge field. 

Total characters: A guide to the number of characters in your message. Please note that with merge field values the final character count will vary.

non-GSM characters: non-GSM characters (e.g. emojis) increase the size of your SMS. Learn more about non-GSM characters and SMS size here.

Toggle the non-GSM character highlighter to check that any non-GSM characters appearing in your message are intentional.

Copying text from other programmes, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, may result in some non-GSM characters. You can use the non-GSM character highlighter to identify these characters.

You can also view a preview of the message as it will appear to recipients in the conversation preview.


In the replies tab, you can label a path’s name (appears on the canvas) and define how responses are matched to this path. You can tailor what happens in each path, in later nodes.

There are two ways to match responses to a path: 1) Expected reply or 2) Free reply.

Expected reply

Expected replies are replies you anticipate on receiving. This includes listening for exact keywords, a certain phrase or word(s) within a sentence, or formatted text (such as email addresses or mobile numbers). You can choose from a pre-written recipe, or build your own 'rule'

You can add as many rules or recipes within a path. The relationship between each rule/recipe is "OR". 

If a reply matches several paths within a node, the topmost path or rule will always be matched. If a reply matches several rules across different active conversations, the reply will be matched with the recipient's most recent conversation. Learn more about Reply Matching


Free reply

Free replies are replies that anything your customer say. They do not have to fulfil any rule to be matched as a 'free reply'. A free reply can contain alphanumeric characters, with or without emojis, and other special characters (such as è). We recommend having a Free Reply path for most flows to ensure unprompted customers replies to your message can be matched to this experience. Learn more about best practices

When the Free Reply path is enabled, it will always be positioned as the last path. This is because if a reply can match multiple paths in a node, the top-most path is always matched first. Learn more about rules, regex and recipes

Reply expiry

In the reply expiry tab, you can configure how long Pendula should keep the flow open to inbound replies. Once replies have expired, the flow will no longer match inbound messages for these keywords, and remove any remaining contacts from the flow. 

Please note this is different to offer expiry. Reply expiry lets your flow successfully ‘complete’. If you want to build offer expiry functionality into your Pendula flow, you should use criteria split nodes. Learn more about criteria split nodes here.

Mergefield explorer

In later nodes, when viewing the available mergefields for the Conversation node in mergefield explorer you can expect to see:

  • Matched Intent: The path label

  • Matched Part: The part of the message body that was matched with your rule, as a string output type. This is helpful when the Contains rule is used. For example, "" would be the matched part of the message "my email is".

  • Matched Type: This can be used in later nodes such as the Criteria filter, or referenced in History. The possible Matched Type mergefields in the Conversation node are:
    • Exact Match (Conversation): An inbound message has been matched to the is exactly rule in a Conversation Node.
    • Rule Match (Conversation): An inbound message has been matched to a free response, a rule or recipe in a Conversation Node.

  • Message Body: The entire body of the inbound message sent by your customer

  • Timestamp: The time at which the message was received in Unix Epoch (milliseconds)