Article updated: May 13, 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 (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 initial conversations handled by the bot can be seamlessly passed to and managed by a human in Inbox. If you are working with a bot provider, they will likely take care of the setup and management of the Facebook app.
With a Messenger bot deflecting support volume, interactions won’t appear in your Inbox queues until the handover is activated. Your support team can remain efficient and engaged with only the customers who need human support.
For more information, see our complete guide to using Facebook messenger bots for business.
Important: Developer assistance may be required.
Connecting a Messenger bot to Hootsuite Inbox requires four things:
- A Messenger bot (either your own creation, or from a platform or provider) that supports and can be triggered by the Facebook handover protocol.
Several chatbot providers offer user-friendly setup for the handover protocol, but developer assistance may be required 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 within 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. Speak 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 enables the handover protocol between the Messenger bot app and the Hootsuite app (see the steps below).
Enable the handover protocol
A Facebook Page Admin must enable the handover protocol in your Facebook Page settings.
- On Facebook.com, navigate to your Facebook Page, select Settings & Privacy in the top right, and then select Settings.
- In the Settings list, select Advanced Messaging, and then scroll down to Connected Apps.
You should already see your Messenger bot app (see the second item in the list above) and the Hootsuite app (connected when you added your Facebook Page to Hootsuite).
Hootsuite’s app ID is 183319479511.
- Select Configure, and then select your bot app as the Primary Receiver and the Hootsuite app 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 as usual. These interactions are not visible within Inbox. Only when a handover is triggered will the conversation thread appear in your Unassigned Inbox queue, where an agent can take over. A handover is triggered by an event built within the bot, such as a button that says "Talk to a human."
When a handover occurs, the whole conversation thread between the customer and bot appears in your Inbox queue. A banner shows where it has been transferred to Inbox for a human response. Replies by the chatbot are also labeled with "Replied by a chatbot."
Human agents can take over and resolve the interaction with the customer.
Note There is a time limit of seven days to respond to private Facebook messages in Inbox. Each time a customer responds to you in Messenger, the seven-day time frame restarts. This policy, required by Facebook, is 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.
- It is not possible to manually trigger a handover back to the Messenger bot from Inbox.
- When a handover is triggered to send 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 users to create a custom phrase to send the conversation back from Inbox to the chatbot itself. Because Facebook allows only one app to control a conversation at a time, this 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, they will display in Inbox with this default placeholder: