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. 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 is able to trigger 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 to be connected to your Facebook Page as a Facebook app.
Depending on your bot provider or platform, it might have a way of automatically connecting 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. More details on 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 steps to add a Facebook Page
- Primary and Secondary Receivers configured in your Facebook Page settings. This enables the handover protocol between the Messenger bot app and the Hootsuite app (steps below).
To 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, and then select Settings in the top right.
- Select Messenger Platform from the list on the left, and then scroll down to Connected Apps.
You should already see your Messenger bot app (connected with step 2 above) and the Hootsuite app (connected when you added your Facebook Page to Hootsuite).
Hootsuite’s app ID is 183319479511.
- Click Configure, and then select your bot app as the Primary Receiver.
- Select the Hootsuite app as the Secondary Receiver.
How it works
When the handover protocol is enabled on your Facebook Page (steps above), the integration is complete. As the Primary Receiver, your Messenger bot will handle conversations as usual. These interactions will not be visible within Inbox. Only once a handover is triggered will the conversation thread appear in your Unassigned Inbox queue for an agent to take over. A handover is triggered by an event built within the bot. For example, this can take the form of 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 that there is a time limit of seven days in Inbox to respond to private Facebook messages. Each time the customer responds to you in Messenger, the 7-day time frame restarts. This is a policy from Facebook, designed to protect the customer experience. Not only does it encourage timely responses, but it limits the spam customers receive from brands they’ve interacted with.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Facebook has temporarily extended this time frame to 21 days until July 15, 2020.
- 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 will appear right away in Inbox, even when the bot begins the next interaction.
- Messenger supports rich message templates that can contain buttons or images, but Inbox only supports the Generic template type. If your bot sends other template types in its replies, they will display in Inbox with this default placeholder: