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  Article updated: October 20, 2021

Enable Messenger bots in Inbox

Hootsuite Inbox supports Facebook’s handover protocol for Messenger conversations. The protocol lets you transfer a conversation between two Facebook apps on your Facebook Page. (For more information, see the Facebook help article Setting Up Your Facebook App.)

If you have a Messenger bot linked to a Facebook app, you can set up the handover protocol so that the bot handles initial conversations and seamlessly passes them to a human in Inbox. If you're working with a bot provider, they might handle the setup and management of the Facebook app for you.

When a Messenger bot handles support messages, interactions won’t appear in your Inbox queues until the handover occurs. In the meantime, your support team can stay efficient and engaged with the customers who need human support.

For more information, see our guide to using Facebook messenger bots for business.

Initial setup

Important: Developer assistance may be required.

Connecting a Messenger bot to Hootsuite Inbox requires four things:

  • A Messenger bot that supports and can be triggered by the Facebook handover protocol.
    This can be your own creation or a bot from a platform or provider. Several chatbot providers offer user-friendly setup for the handover protocol. You might need developer help if your bot platform requires you to code your own webhook post to trigger the handover protocol. You can also build your own Messenger bot in Node.js.
  • The Messenger bot connected to your Facebook Page as a Facebook app.
    Depending on your bot provider or platform, the bot may be able to automatically connect to your Facebook Page from its interface. Or, you might have to manually set up a Facebook app for your bot and then subscribe it to your Page. Read more about setting up a Facebook app and subscribing it to your Page. Talk to your bot provider for additional assistance.
  • Your Facebook Page connected to Hootsuite. See Add a Facebook account.
  • Primary and Secondary Receivers configured in your Facebook Page settings.
    This configuration enables the handover protocol between the Messenger bot app and the Hootsuite app. See the following steps for more information.

Enable the handover protocol

A Facebook Page Admin must enable the handover protocol in your Facebook Page settings.

  1. On Facebook.com, go to your Facebook Page, select Settings & Privacy in the top right, and then select Settings.
  2. In the Settings list, select Advanced Messaging, and then scroll down to Connected Apps.
    You should see your Messenger bot app and the Hootsuite app. (If you don't see these items, review the initial setup information in the previous list.)
    Hootsuite’s app ID is 183319479511.
    The Connected Apps list, showing a ManyChat messenger bot app and the Hootsuite app
  3. Select Configure, and then select your bot app as the Primary Receiver and the Hootsuite app as the Secondary Receiver.
    The App Settings dialog box, showing selection of Hootsuite as the secondary receiver

How it works

When the handover protocol is enabled on your Facebook Page, the integration is complete. As the Primary Receiver, your Messenger bot handles conversations until a handover is triggered. Handoffs are triggered by certain events, such as when a customer selects a "Talk to a human" button. At this point, the conversation appears in your Unassigned Inbox queue.

When a handover occurs, the entire conversation between the customer and the bot moves to your Inbox. A banner shows where it was transferred to Inbox for a human response. Chatbot replies are also labeled with "Replied by a chatbot."

After the handover, human agents can take over and resolve the interaction with the customer.

Note: You have 7 days to respond to private Facebook messages in Inbox. Each time a customer responds to you in Messenger, the 7-day time frame restarts. This is a Facebook policy designed to protect the customer experience by encouraging timely responses and limiting the amount of spam customers can receive from brands they’ve interacted with.

Limitations

  • You cannot manually send a handover back to the Messenger bot from Inbox.
  • When a handover sends a customer conversation to Inbox, all future conversations with that customer appear right away in Inbox, even when the bot begins the next interaction.
  • Certain chatbot providers allow you to create a custom phrase to send the conversation back to the chatbot from Inbox. Facebook allows only one app to control a conversation at a time, which causes the conversation to disappear from Inbox. The conversation still appears in Hootsuite Streams and in Facebook.
  • Messenger supports rich message templates, but Inbox only supports the Generic and Button template types. If your bot sends other template types in its replies, those types appear in Inbox with a default placeholder:
    A message that reads, Attachment unsupported