Reply Instruction Type | Yext Hitchhikers Platform

A reply step will initiate a response to the user and also signal to the bot that the instructions are complete. (In this way, it’s similar to the return keyword in programming.) Typically a reply step is the last step in the instructions.

A reply step can be used for:

  • Answering a user’s question
  • Sending data back to a user
  • Confirming that the user’s order has been fulfilled

You can configure the following behaviors in a reply step:

  • mode - this controls how strictly the bot must adhere to the instructions/search results when responding to the user.
  • citationExample - this controls how the bot should construct citations for its answers based on the search results it found.

Reply Modes

There are three different modes a reply step can use:

  • DIRECT_ANSWER - This mode ensures that the bot replies only based on the data it’s found from Yext Search or another external source (i.e. the queryResult that is stored on each message). This mode has strict anti-hallucination controls that ensure that the bot does not say anything that is not substantiated by the data. This mode is strongly recommended for question-answering goals that use Yext Search.
  • CONVERSATIONAL - This mode allows the bot to reply more loosely, based on the instructions it’s been given or even using its own general knowledge of the world. For example, you might use this for an instruction like “Reply thanking the user for their time”. This mode does not use the same anti-hallucination measures that the direct answer mode uses, so be careful. We don’t recommend using this mode for anything that requires factual accuracy.
  • VERBATIM - This mode delivers the exact, verbatim response from the instruction. It does not use AI to generate the response at all. This is useful for situations where you need to deliver specific wording for legal reasons.


Simple conversational example:

  "reply": {
    "instruction": "Reply to the user saying we'll be in touch shortly.",
    "mode": "CONVERSATIONAL"

Direct answer example:

  "reply": {
    "instruction": "Answer the user's question based on the search results.",
    "mode": "DIRECT_ANSWER"