With no standardized chatbot testing method at hand, how can you ensure your bot is error-free and user-engaging?
What performance testing tools should you use?
What are the most effective mechanisms for testing its functionality? What metrics should you include in your scenarios?
In other words: what goes into a solid bot testing strategy?
In this respect, here's a chatbot testing checklist — tools, ground-rules, best practices, techniques, key considerations — aimed at helping you set your own standardized testing plan.
1. Test Your Bot's Conversational Flow
Engage your chatbot in a conversation.
Take it as a form of UI/UX testing, where the interface's given by the questions and replies that your bot serves up.
Start with the broad, user-greeting questions and critical use cases (or chatbot testing scenarios), then gradually tackle the edge cases, as well.
Your list of questions, as this stage of your chatbot testing process, should include:
- Does my chatbot understand the user's questions?
- Does it respond promptly to them?
- Are its responses accurate enough and relevant?
- Are there enough conversation steps or... too many?
- Does it keep the user engaged?
2. Run a Custom, Domain-Specific Test
Now, you can imagine that including every single expression specific to your field and every possible question related to your services/product is... mission impossible.
And yet, you can still provide broad classes when setting your context-specific questions for the bot to answer to. Do pay great attention to how you formulate them and to what niche terms you include there:
This is that stage of the conversation where your chatbot provides credible information on your products/services.
Where it should influence the user into making a decision...
3. Include Developer Testing
It goes without saying that your team of developers working on your chatbot project will test it anyway while building it.
Developer Testing Photo by Studio Republic on Unsplash
For them, it'll be more of a verification and validation test. They will have predefined the bot's replies and set the users' inquiries, so at this stage they'll just:
Check whether the chatbot serves up accurate and relevant answers to a hypothetical user's questions.
4. Run a Chatbot-Error Handling Test
Or what you might call a “limit test”.
What if a user enters a meaningless sentence or a not so commonly used expression? How would my chabot respond to that?
Of course, you cannot possibly anticipate all the irrelevant information that users might enter. All the exceptions that your chatbot will be challenged to handle... elegantly.
And still, your developers should come up with “emergency replies” for those exceptions that you do anticipate.
This is that phase of your testing process where you check whether your bot provides understandable answers in such “exceptional” scenarios.
5. 3 Chatbot Testing Tools to Consider
“What tools can I use for chatbot testing?” you might ask yourself.
Here's a shortlist of 3 tools to consider streamlining your testing efforts with:
An open-source guide packed with 120 questions for assessing the user experience that your chatbot delivers.
It operates at three levels:
- possible chatbot testing scenarios
- expected scenarios
- almost impossible scenarios
And it provides you with 7 different metrics to use for evaluating your bot's performance:
- Understanding: does your chatbot understand any kind of user input — curse words, small talk, idioms, emojis...?
- Answering: are its answers context-relevant and accurate enough?
- Navigation: is it intuitive enough for you to go through the conversation you're having with your bot?
- Personality: does its tone suit your audience and the nature of the ongoing conversation?
- Onboarding: is it clear enough to the user what your chatbot's functionality is, from the very start? Is it intuitive enough how he should interact with the bot?
- Intelligence: does your chatbot “remember” certain details, key information that the user has provided throughout the conversation?
- Error management: how does your chatbot handle errors and exceptions?
From usability to conversational flow, to the delivered user experience, this custom service enables you to test every key aspect of your chatbot.
The great thing about this chatbot testing tool is that it integrates seamlessly with major platforms like Telegram, Slack, WeChat, Facebook Messenger.
Use it to detect any issues in your bot's conversational flow, in the user experience that it provides.
6. Automate Your Chatbot Testing
“How can I automate my bot testing process?” is another valid question that might be “haunting” you.
You use a chatbot that'll interact with your own bot. No intervention from your side.
This way, you can run your conversation transcripts... automatically. Your job boils down to 1 key task: evaluating your chatbot's replies.
7. Final Word: It's an Ongoing Testing Process
Whether it's you, your development team or you opt for automated testing, any chatbot testing prior to its release is... beta testing, after all.
Real-life feedback, provided by its users, is the real test.
In other words: be ready to constantly adjust your chatbot to the feedback you get after its release.
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