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How to Test Chatbots

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How to Test Chatbots

Chatbots have already become an integral part of the digital world. These AI assistants generate the mutual profit for both companies and their customers/prospects: first ones replace humans with chatbots and save money on salaries, insurance, etc.; second ones get replies to their questions immediately and save their precious time instead of waiting for the answer from a real person. A bot can simultaneously serve a large number of customers, processing orders and simple questions.

Essentially, to be truly effective and profitable, chatbots have to be QA tested well. Such a feature can be a good marketing ploy invented to attract IT-interested people, but it will turn to failure if your bot is not capable of correct clients’ requests processing.

Whereas AI chatbot is getting smarter lately, more businesses use these virtual assistants. At the same time, “smarter” involves difficult coding, errors, bugs and different kinds of hassle. Unless your goal is a mad Tay bot that writes things like “destroy the humanity”, for sure…

How to deal with the task? 

Stop Taking Your Chatbot as a Person

Lots of assumptions that chatbots are dumb appeared in 2016. The reason was that bots couldn’t pass the Turing test. Are you serious, people? Chatbots were created not for entertainment, but for achieving a specific programming purpose. Chatbots aren’t supposed to behave like real human beings, they intended to provide the accurate replies quickly and nothing else.

Apparently, it is good to construct your bot a bit humanized. For instance, it may put the heart sign in an answer if the user says something like “I love you”. Such things leave a positive impression and maximize the individual connection with potential or existing clients. All of that creates a common story for your customers and your company, which prevents them from switching to your competitors. Emotions dominate in business as well as in real life.

Use the Right Tools for Your Chatbot

First of all, we have to choose the right instruments that we are going to work with. Bots differ from typical software, that is why their QA and testing services obviously demand certain tools.

The main goal of a chatbot is to recognize the background of the dialogue and to resolve the user’s issue correctly. In this way, the appropriate tool has to investigate these components in great detail (especially when it comes to some control of routine) and report back with an understandable overview that contains numbers and valuable information.

Keyul, a creator of Bot Stash, suggests using three main automation testing tools. Interested?

The leader is Bot Flair because it is able to manage unexpected inputs (i.e. slang words, colloquial expressions, etc.), but there is no free plan, so you have to pay for it anyway. Bot Testing is another tool, which can be really helpful in case you are willing to check your bot’s performance on different channels. And it‘s totally free. The third one – Dimon – has different subscriptions including a free one, so it would be the golden middle between the previous two tools. Dimon offers standard functions as well as provides options to the premium components.

The entire testing process can be simplified by special tools if they are implemented by someone with skilled hands. But still, robots cannot be completely trusted to test robots. Sounds ironically, huh?

General Chatbot QA: a Bot Has to Do Its Bot Job

Let’s make our first step. You need to ensure what is a particular goal of bot creation. That is a straight logic of the virtual helper. Your chatbot isn’t supposed to reply with correct responses but to the incorrect requests, is it?

Let your bot process the expected inputs, and check the output. When your bot’s developers or you have encoded the responses to those inputs, it is easy to make corrections if there are any issues.

It is almost the same as when you proofread and edit the Facebook post when you are going to publish it. You should be confident that the chatbot is functioning properly on the prime interactions before you allow access to it for a bigger number of people. Remember that testing your bot on all the channels where it’s implemented is crucial in order to prevent any troubles with the compatibility of integration.

It will be quite an appropriate decision to engage a professional QA team in this phase. Involving QA testers to your project from the start point will make the whole analyzing much more efficient.

Pre-Launch: Beta Testing of Chatbot

The perfect way to check if your bot is up and running is to complete a beta test before the general launch. When you have finished with the fundamental QA and bot works properly, you need to give access to your chatbot to the wider audience. It’s good if there is a tight group of people, who will try to crack the botty and after that give you feedback about their experience.

In other words, a beta tester is supposed to scrutinize the bot with unexpected inputs. Basically, it consists of lingo, slang, vernacular, colloquial language, different English dialects. Furthermore, the tester should treat the bot like an amusement thing and try some totally irrelevant inputs, for example, joking or flirting.

Please note, that it is important to pay attention to every beta testing report because each person interacts with the chatbot in a special and original way. Sometimes results can be surprising and seem like non-fitting any patterns, but you should carefully analyze all of them and search for the right solutions on improving your botty taking into account the real users’ behavior.

Quick tip

In the beginning QA testing steps, it is beneficial to identify the common issues (for example, “No response”, “An invalid response”, “A response on the wrong topic” etc.). When defined them, you should inquire your beta testers as well as users to notify you using the proper tags. Thus, you obtain an ordered list of the common problems that you have to eliminate. Having such a classification, you will get the ability to set up priorities, fix errors and bugs quickly.

General ways to engage beta testers

It is possible that you don’t have anyone in mind who could be a beta tester of your upcoming chatbot. But it’s not a big deal! I am going to share a few ideas on how to find people for testing your bot. There are free options, by the way!

You might begin with crowdtesting websites, where you invite people to try out your product/app/bot/etc. TestMyApp subreddit (a free one, but there are fewer testers) and Beta Family community are the most well-known ones. Many innovation fans are willing to test your chatbot and provide you with a detailed review. The biggest disadvantage of crowdtesting is that you cannot be confident in the professional skills of people who make tests. You never know if their analytical abilities are abundant to dip into testing in the right way.

If we switch to a skill-oriented approach, then freelance platforms could be a decision here. Such platforms as Upwork or Freelancer are full of testers, where you are required to sign up and search for employees with appropriate skills. It is safe because these resources provide protection from frauds and ensure that experts do their work in time and with appropriate quality. Otherwise, you’ll be provided with compensation. Still, in general, freelancers tend to be less reliable and disciplined as full-time employees. Whether you have ever dealt with them, you must know it. Besides, they cannot perform such work regularly.

After all, if the quality means everything to you, pay attention to hiring an outsourcing QA team. Sure, it much expensive than hiring a freelancer. Nonetheless, you’ll get proper management, a team of professionals, and a stable workflow. And your costs will pay out for 100%: the QA specialists, taking into account all existing reviews, as soon as they appear, will consider the entire program, code, and algorithms. After that, you’ll be provided with certain mistakes log and recommendations for fixing all the issues. Also in some of the QA enterprises, there are developers in the state, so they will be ready to help you and eliminate all the issues for the extra cost.

Post-Launch: Real Users Reports on Your Chatbot

After improving your chatbot in line with beta testing results, launching time has come!

Forget about the fear of failure and provide your clients with the possibility to leave feedback about the AI assistant if they are not satisfied with their experience. No matter what exactly bothers the user – inappropriate answer or some problems with usability – they should have the ability to report it without leaving a chat. Gathering customers’ complaints/suggestions and sending them to QA professionals could be a nice option. Also thank your clients for their reports, because they take part in making your botty smarter.

When there is access to your chatbot for everybody, you should be prepared to receive a high number of unexpected inputs. It’s better for you to stay sharp and keep your bot upgraded all the time. It should become cleverer, more interactive, humanized and amusing with every update.

Conclusion

Take into account all the above and keep your clients happy with your virtual AI assistant. Feel free to contact me in the comments or on our social media, if you got any questions or suggestions. And don’t forget to share this content, if you find it helpful. Together we will make AI better and anticipate the desirable future!

Sandra Parker is Head Of Business Development at QArea. She helps enterprises to accelerate their businesses through custom software development and testing.

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What’s Amazon ASIN And How Do You Get One? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

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What’s Amazon ASIN And How Do You Get One? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Amazon is the world’s leading online marketplace. According to Statista, they have 213.4 million unique website visitors each month.

That’s a lot – accordingly, it’s no big surprise that every merchant wants to sell their products through Amazon.

If you also want to sell your products on Amazon, you need an Amazon ASIN.

But what is an ASIN?

ASIN means Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is an Amazon internal number that helps them keep track of your products.

Every product on Amazon has a unique Amazon Standard Identification Number.

In this article, you’ll learn everything about Amazon ASIN – what it is, why you need an ASIN and how to get one.

What Is Amazon ASIN?

ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number and it’s simply the product identifier used by Amazon. A product identifier is a scannable number like a UPC (barcode) to identify a product.

If you don’t know what’s a UPC, here’s an example of it:

What’s Amazon ASIN And How Do You Get One? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

ASIN is Amazon’s internal unique identifier to keep track of all the products sold on Amazon. With over 2,734,713 active sellers on Amazon, it would be impossible if every seller has their own unique identifier for their products.

There’s only one exception – if you want to sell books on Amazon, you don’t need to have an Amazon ASIN. That’s because every book has it’s own ISBN as an identifier. Amazon uses this ISBN to identify books, they don’t use their own ASIN.

I really don’t know exactly why, but I think it’s because Amazon started as an online bookseller in 1995.

When Do You Need An Amazon ASIN?

First of all, if you want to sell your products through Amazon, you need an Amazon ASIN. You need one unique ASIN for every product you sell on Amazon.

Second, if you sell the same product on two different marketplaces – for example, Amazon US and Amazon Germany, you need two different ASINs.

If this in case, you need two one ASIN for the US marketplace and another one for the german Amazon marketplace.

The next thing is that you need different ASINs if you sell variations of your product. If this in case, you will need a parent ASIN for your initial product and different child ASINs for all your variations.

For example, suppose you sell a T-shirt in different sizes. You need an ASIN for the first product – the T-shirt – and further children’s ASINs for all variations, e.g. for a blue, yellow and pink shirt.

  

When You Don’t Need An Amazon ASIN…

If you want to sell a product that’s already on the Amazon marketplace, you don’t need to register a new ASIN because every product that’s sold on Amazon already has one.

If this is the case, you only need to research the ASIN. If you don’t know how to find the ASIN of a product, read on, I will explain in the next chapter how to do this.

However, if you’re a new seller and want to sell a brand new product on Amazon, you’ve to register a new ASIN for that product.

What you need to know is that there’s a limit for new sellers on how many new ASINs they can create. If you want to create more ASINs in the near future, you need to sell more products and increase your sales on Amazon.

I highly recommend checking out this site to find out more about Amazon’s restrictions on the creation of new ASINs.

How To Search For A Product’s ASIN

Looking for a product’s ASIN on Amazon is super easy. All you have to do is to search for the product on Amazon.

Then, navigate to the product detail page and scroll to the end of the page.

You will find the ASIN of the product at the end of the listing with the product information.

But there’s another opportunity to get a product’s ASIN even faster. What you can also do is to take a look at the URL entry of your browser:

The ASIN is usually at the end of the URL of the product page. Just make sure that there’s no referral code and you’re good to go.

How To Get A New ASIN

If you’re starting as a private label seller, you will probably sell a product that nobody else sells on Amazon.

If this in case, you need to create a new Amazon ASIN so that Amazon can identify your product.

But you only need to do that if you sell a unique product under your own private label brand.

If the product you want to sell is already on Amazon, you don’t have to create a new ASIN.

Here’s how to create a new ASIN for your product on your own:

First of all, you need a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) for your product.

What is a GTIN?

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can be used by a company to uniquely identify all of its trade items. GS1 defines trade items as products or services that are priced, ordered or invoiced at any point in the supply chain.

Source: GS1

Where do you get a GTIN?

You can get it from the GS1. The GS1 is a worldwide organization which distributes GTINs, UPCs or ISBNs.

There are different packages and you should choose a package that isn’t too expensive but fully suits your needs.

There are a lot of online sellers that also sell GTINs. However, I highly recommend not to buy a GTIN from another seller than the GS1 since it will only make you problems in the future – trust me.

Once you have a GTIN for your product, it’s relatively easy to get an Amazon ASIN.

All you have to do is to head over to Amazon Seller Central and click on “Add a new product” and then on “Create a new product”.

Then, you’ve to upload your product’s GTIN and Amazon will automatically generate a new ASIN for your product.

Conclusion

It is necessary to have an ASIN to sell on Amazon. However, you only need to create a new ASIN if you want to sell a product on Amazon that does not exist yet.

Anyway, taking care of the ASIN is only an administrative task. Focus more on increasing your sales to succeed in the long run.

About the Author

Moritz Bauer has over 5 years of experience in eCommerce and Marketing. On his blog smartminded he writes about Amazon FBA.

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Business and Finance

How to choose an accounting firm for your business?

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how to choose accounting firm

Tax laws undergo changes and additions every year. All these changes tend to confuse businesses, trying to find what each change means for them. It is the role of accountant firms to keep track of all these changes in the tax laws. And thus, rescue businesses from getting trapped in financial hassles and tax liabilities. Accounting firms expertise in managing day to day accounts and advising companies on complex financial matters.

If you are starting your own business, you must be considering consulting an accountant firm for your finances. You don’t know when you’ll need them, and it is totally normal. Right now, you’re focused on transforming your idea into a settled business. And while you do that, we’ll take you through some essential tips on how to choose an accounting firm for your business.

Experience in the field

Several people have CPA credentials and can perform an audit for your business. But the critical factor is who has worked in your specific industry. A person or a firm which has dedicated years in handling nuances of your sector knows what will work best for you. They will be able to offer solutions for your problems more quickly and thus, manage your finances better. A sector like technology has companies with massive and complex accounting structure and investors having high expectations. A knowledgeable company should also be able to help you with business proforma, but don’t expect them to just include the service for free. Pro forma business analysis goes hand in hand with accounting services.

Similarly, some accounting firms have thorough expertise in the audit. But your company requires immediate assistance in taxation. Hence, it is essential to talk to the CPA about their proficiency in your sector and knowledge in different tax laws.

How much do they charge?

A fee is a vital aspect to consider when hiring an accounting firm. It is obvious that different firms charge differently. Large firms, like Deloitte, will charge massive numerations in comparison to a boutique accounting firm in your city. The fees also depend on the kind of assignment they are getting. There are firms which set special rates for every task while others offer a full year service and charge for the same. The prices per job depend on the task they get like preparing profit and loss statement, personal income tax filing or collecting a statement of net worth.

 Some accountants write bills on hourly services. If that is the case, then you need to know the standard hourly rates and if these rates change often.

How important is the location?

Before the dawn of technology, having an accountant near me was important. But now, the boundaries of communication and collaboration have shrunk significantly. As technology advances, working with firms abroad through cloud-based technology is just as simple and effective as working face-to-face. There are cloud accounting features that allow you and your accountant to work on your finances and taxations using real-time data. It diminishes the confinement of location and thus, allows better search of services for your needs.

But the decision still lies in your hands. Your decision will be based on your finances and how to handle them. Honestly, while technology allows collaboration through the internet, there are certain situations which require face-to-face intervention.

Opt for a certified or chartered accountant

Several countries have governing bodies that check qualifications and maintain high accounting standards. In different countries, accountants are known with different names like Certified Public Accountants or Chartered Accountants. CPAs or CAs are highly qualified individuals who have completed degree-level studies with professional internship programs.

Hiring a certified or chartered account makes sure you get the right service and financial advice. Their qualification adds value to your business. It means to make sure your company grows from the word “Go!” you must hire a professional accounting firm from the start. Several tax preparation firms employ and train preparers to help clients through income tax filing. But when it comes to catering to more significant accounting needs, you’ll be better off with firms employing CPAs.

Can they grow with you?

When you invest in a business, you make it clear that you’re ready to enter the big leagues and with zest. To make this happen without any glitches, you need to have a CPA firm that has the human resources and expertise. Your CPA must stick with you to see you grow from a start-up to IPO or exit phase. There are countless things to consider: does the firm have the expertise to stick with you, does it has the staff for the job, or they are facing their acquisition? If any of this is true, you’ll have to go through the whole process of finding a new firm once again.

It might fine at the moment when you’re working with an accountant for small business. But once you start growing, you can’t waste time on finding a new CPA when you should be focusing on your business.

The team assigned to you

When you hire a firm to do an audit, you are buying the communication style of the team undertaking the service. An experienced team doing the audit will save you resources when they utilize their expertise and tools at hand. You need to ask the firm questions on who will be handling your case and if they will be a part of the meeting. Ask them about their previous experiences with other clients and how the following team works on-field. You must be sure that the team you are assigned is the best one.

Converse with government and business entities

Several countries stress on small businesses since they boost a significant share of their economies. To help small businesses grow, the government rolls out plans, packages, and assistance. If you are a small business owner, you can use this assistance and network of business entities to get an accountant.

Conclusion

Whichever accounting firm you choose for your business, remember that they will have access to your sensitive data. So, do your research and take your time to finalize one. Talk with your fellow business associates to get a picture of how accountant firms deal with clients. And since you have the power of the internet in your hand, use social media to dig in deeper. Trust is key!

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How to Advocate For Yourself as a Woman at Work

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woman's guide to self advocacy at work

For women in particular, the office can be a difficult place to navigate. In an effort to appear easygoing and likable, it’s sometimes easier to stay quiet instead of advocating for yourself or your needs. 

But when you spend 40 hours per week in the same place, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. This means learning to avoid conflict and advocate for yourself by asking for a raise or promotion when you want to. 

Communication is key to navigating tricky office situations. It’s important to learn to speak calmly, carefully and with purpose. Rehearsing your input ahead of time can help you be prepared for any meeting, and being direct with your wants can also help you get what you deserve.

Check out this infographic on how to self-advocate in the office.

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