Flow Builder's in-product previewer is a great way to get an idea of how your flow works, but it doesn’t show things like:
- What happens when a user types in a question?
- System flows like “I didn’t get that” and “was this helpful?”
- What’s the handover experience to an agent?
- How and when triggers will run, including Out of Office and CSAT messaging triggers.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can preview these parts of your bot’s automated flow. It includes the following sections:
- Testing your flow in a live channel
- Testing your flow without exposing it to customers (Growth, Professional, and Enterprise plans)
- More testing tips
Testing your flow in a live channel
In many cases, you’ll have to test your flow in a Web Widget that is already in use through a website, help center, or mobile SDK.
When testing changes to a flow in one of these live channels, those changes will be live to your customers as soon as they are published. To minimize exposing these changes to your customers, we recommend the following:
- Open the website or help center in an incognito/private browser window before publishing, then reload the page as soon as the new flow is published. Using an incognito or private browser allows you to start and view a conversation flow from the beginning, and having it ready to go before publishing minimizes the time it takes to test.
- Publish changes at a time that is usually quiet for your website or help center, to expose the changes to as few customers as possible before verifying the content.
To test a flow on a Web Widget currently in use
- In Flow Builder, make the changes to your flow.
- Open your website or help center in an incognito or private browser window.
- Publish the changes to the flow, if you haven’t already, by clicking Publish in the Flow Builder footer.
- In the private window, reload the page, then interact with the bot to experience its performance from a customer’s perspective.
Even if you are creating a flow for the first time, for a Web Widget that isn’t currently embedded anywhere, it’s important to note that as soon as you enable messaging on a brand with an active help center – even if you haven’t yet published a custom flow – anyone visiting that help center will see the default flow immediately. So again, we suggest testing this during a quiet period on your help center.
To test a flow with a new Web Widget on a help center
- In Admin Center, click the Channels icon () in the sidebar, then select Messaging and social > Messaging setup.
- Check that messaging is enabled for the brand you want to test with.
- Configure the Web Widget and add it to your help center. The default flow is visible to your customers as soon as you click Save settings on this page.
- In a private browser window, navigate to your help center, reload the page, then interact with the bot to experience its performance from the perspective of a customer starting a new conversation.
When you’re done testing, if you do not want to continue offering the Web Widget for the time being, you must disable messaging at the account or brand level.
Testing your flow without exposing it to customers (Growth, Professional, and Enterprise plans)
Some account plans have options for testing a flow without exposing it to customers, by creating a testing brand or using a sandbox.
If you are on a Growth or higher plan type, you are allowed to create multiple brands. You can create a brand with a help center specifically for testing purposes:
- Create a brand to use as a testing environment, and add a basic help center to it.
- Enable messaging and create your flow.
- Open a private browser window, and test the flow as described above.
Enterprise and higher account plans can use a staging sandbox to create a flow:
- Follow the steps listed in Testing Zendesk messaging in your sandbox > Adding web and mobile messaging to your sandbox.
- Create and publish your flow, then test the flow in a private browser window, as described above.
More testing tips
There is some functionality, beyond the basic flow you’ve created, that we recommend testing early on:
Starting and returning to a conversation
In messaging, we store the customer's conversation history so that customers can leave a chat and return later. Because of this, the bot is disabled once they’ve started speaking to an agent, which can make it difficult to test your bot.
To see a conversation as it appears initially to a customer
- Use an incognito or private browser window to start a conversation as a customer would. This way, you can see the conversation as it appears to a customer starting one for the first time -- Answer Bot initiates a conversation with the customer, after they’ve clicked the icon to open the Web Widget.
When a customer returns to a conversation, even after a related ticket has been solved or closed, Answer Bot does not initiate the conversation. Instead, the bot waits for the customer to send a message.
To see a conversation as it appears to a returning customer
- In a private or incognito window, start a conversation as a customer would. Follow the conversation through agent handoff, and have an agent change the related ticket status to solved.
- Close the private browser window.
- Open the private browser window again, making sure to use the same browser, and without clearing your cache.
- Enter a message, and note the difference in how Answer Bot responds.
Testing automatic translation
Automatic translation allows agents to communicate with customers even if they are using different languages. The translation feature is enabled in the Agent Workspace. You can see how automatic translation works from both the agent and customer perspectives. See Supporting multilingual flows and Translating conversations in the Zendesk Agent Workspace for more information.
To test automatic translation
- Create your flow, as described in the sections above, ensuring autotranslation is enabled.
- Change your browser language to the language you want to preview in. You can use a plugin like the Locale Switcher extension for Chrome.
- Open your flow, refresh the page, and type “start over” to load the latest bot. Note that this won’t work if you already have a conversation with an agent open.