Straight answers to the 10 most important questions about getting started with chatbots

Know Before You Bot

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Chapter 8

How do I test it before I go live?

Chatbots are no different than any other technology: you should never go live without thorough testing. If a bot gets deployed before it’s fully ready, it may result in a big (and sometimes very public) failure.

Testing the bot is vital to finding bugs or improvements you may not have thought of before. This will help you work out the kinks before it reaches customers. Some of the components that you should be testing include the flow of conversations; identifying dead ends; ensuring menu options are complete; conversational loops are intact, and spelling and grammatical errors are weeded out.

More than half of all chats come from mobile devices, so don’t forget to test that your chatbot is optimized for mobile. Make sure to include both Apple and Android devices, as well as different sized screens (like tablets) in your test.

Test it with your internal team first. This will help you catch where conversation flow is breaking. Then extend beyond your team to the rest of your department, then companywide when it makes sense. Only after that should you start controlled field testing, gradually expanding access to your bot as you gain confidence in its abilities. Slow and steady wins the race, as we reveal in the next question.

Consider this

See if your chatbot vendor offers a sandbox environment where you can test your bot in a controlled way. Understand what their level of involvement will be during the testing phase. Ideally, your chatbot vendor should help you test the bot rather than leave you to your own devices.