Testing and Launching Your Bot
Episode #6 of the course Building your own Facebook Messenger bot by Carylyne Chan
Yesterday, we put together a full sample workflow for a Messenger bot. Today, we’ll learn to test and launch a bot for maximum impact.
Testing is an imperative part of building any bot (and any software or product, really). In our bot QA system, there are a few steps:
1. Test bot states (a.k.a. press every button): Your focus during the initial phases of the QA process should be to identify the basic issues that may be plaguing the bot—such as wrong text or buttons—and making sure the basic “ideal flow” works for a typical user.
2. Test dialog branches (a.k.a. talk to the bot): Test every branch in the dialog mindmap, check if the words feel comfortable, if the bot stops responding at some fork in the dialog or if your fallback is firing too often, and be sure to see if you can simplify some parts with buttons instead of expecting users to type long entries.
3. Fix edge cases: Here, try imagining yourself as a real user. Talk to the bot, asking questions off the top of your head. You may be very surprised to find that many edge cases and issues are found through this exercise.
4. Internal testing: Select a cross-section of your team members from various departments and product teams; get some time-strapped, impatient team members who will provide the simulation for harried users out in the field.
5. Closed pilot trials: You should design your pilot trials to be as representative of your user base as possible. Start by contacting the most active social media advocates or most loyal customers and let them know you are giving them an exclusive chance to test your exciting new chatbot before anyone else does.
6. Last major fixes & preparation for launch: From the in-depth, well-logged interviews and feedback you will have gotten from the variety of stakeholders, make any last fixes to dialog flow, change any buttons, add any neglected but important integrations, and get ready to put your marketing hat on.
Launching your bot
With your chatbot built and tested, it’s almost time for it to be sent out the door to your eager and impressed users. But wait! You have to find those users and tell them that your chatbot exists first.
Prepare for the critical launch by thinking about how you can embed it into your current customer-facing channels, what events or posts should accompany it, how to create an interesting angle for press, where to seed it to online, and other marketing tactics.
Some great ways to get the news out:
• Put it in the emails you send to current customers.
• Share it on your social channels, including your personal and business accounts.
• Add it prominently on your website. A chat widget that can send your customers to your Messenger bot directly will be great (we’ve built one you can set up in a few minutes). The “Send to Messenger” button is also a great way to direct users to your bot, and you can consider switching your Facebook page button to “Message us” if your bot is full-featured enough to drive the key objectives for your business.
• Get in touch with the press or bloggers if your bot has an interesting or relevant angle or pitch that could get them excited. For example, being the first in your category or location to have a bot or including a novel feature could be great angles.
Additionally, you need to consider training your support team (or yourself) to deal with Messenger support. Staff someone to the bot, especially when launching, and get familiar with the way messages stream into your message inbox.
Tomorrow, we’ll examine how to track the performance of your bot after launching it.
Make it easy for users to talk to you on various channels with a widget that can connect them to your Messenger bot easily. Try it here: keyreply.com/chat
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