Seamless handover between a human and a bot

Neelke Stadler Updated by Neelke Stadler

There is nothing worse than someone chipping in mid-conversation. Especially when that ‘someone’ is an automated message.

At Turn we believe that chat can change lives. The power of automated services lies in it taking care of repetitive questions so that your team can take care of complex conversations.

How can a human and a bot work together?

We refer to the automated part of your chat service as the bot (or chatbot), and when humans answer humans we call it the helpdesk. Or the healthdesk, because we are passionate about real-time care🤩.

However, the most frustrating user experience is when a person is trying to find a human but don't know how to. One of the clearest ways to connect users to operators is to have a specific journey on your chat service where users can explicitly request to talk to a human.

Let's use an example.

Say you have a health business called GetBetter Clinics. On your chat service you offer 3 options to users:

  1. Do a health screening
  2. Get answers to frequently asked health questions, or
  3. Talk to a doctor

The first two options can be taken care of by automated messaging but if someone selects the third option you want to connect them to a clinically-skilled team member. It may take some time for a human to pick up the specific conversation as they are already talking to other people as well.

The user experience on WhatsApp

So what will it look like to the user when they request to "talk to a doctor"? This video (1:20) shows the messaging the user will receive on WhatsApp after selecting that button option.

Notice how the bot informs the person that they will get hold of a human but that it may take a while. The person can continue to interact with any automation until the time that the human takes over. At the time that the human operator 'claims' the conversation, any automation is prevented from interrupting the real conversation. Once the person is helped, the operator explicitly resumes the bot in case the person want to continue to interact with other parts of the service.

The operator experience on Turn

Next up, let's look at how this same interaction looks like for the operator on Turn.

Notice how the status bar below the reply box changes from "Bot active" to "Bot paused" when the operator takes over the conversation.

This is cool! How do I set it up for my chat service?

The human-bot handover feature is a dedicated Canvas feature! Once you have the Canvas open > click on the + icon (top left) to add a new block > now select the Route to operator block.

Once the Route to operatorblock is on the Canvas click on it so that the settings side panel shows on the right. You can now modify the setting to your requirements. Pay specific attention to the Behaviour and Content settings.

Behaviour settings
  • In the Behaviour section you will see that a Request help label will automatically be applied.
  • By default the message will be not be assigned to anyone, but you can pick a specific person if you prefer.
Content settings
  • Here you can tweak any of the default message copy.
For peace of mind, we spent a lot of time crafting the default messages to be simple and short as best practice is on chat! We recommend you to use the copy as it.

Where do I find all the "Request help" conversations?

To get all your "talk to a doctor" conversations in one place, you need to create a Collection based on the "Request help" label. And then you will easily see all users that requested a humand and submitted an initial question.

Can I intercept other automated conversations to help people?

Of course! In fact, please do.

As an operator you will be interacting with people from the Conversation view. As always, you can type your response in the reply box.

  • You will notice that the Send button now says Send & take over from bot. It is also clearly indicate with the green banner that currently the bot is active.
  • Once you hit Send&take over form bot, automatic messaging will be paused allowing you an uninterrupted conversation with the person. Notice the banner changing to Bot paused.

  • Once the conversation is concluded and the person is helped, you click Close & resume bot.At this time two automatic messages will be send to the user, and the bot will resume.
Two automated messages will guide the user realise the handover
  1. End the human-to-human conversation: "🧑 Glad to have helped, I’m available any time. I’m going to resume the bot now."
  2. Inform the user that the bot is active again: "🤖 Welcome back! The person has left and now you’re chatting with the bot again."
All messages send by a human will have the 🧑 emoji inserted automatically

That's it for now. Thank you for providing real-time care to people❤️!

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