Let’s Talk Chat App Testing

Chat and messaging apps are an integral part of our lives. We use chat apps to keep in touch with friends and family, and it’s now common to see customer service chatbots integrated directly into business websites. In some countries, a large percentage of business happens through WhatsApp or WeChat.

Chat apps were already popular before 2020, both in the consumer space and increasingly in enterprises for team communication and collaboration, but the global pandemic accelerated their growth as more workers and companies were forced to do business online. As more companies adjust to this new era of chat, testing how this free-form technology integrates into your business ensures you deliver a great customer experience.

As with any technology, there are some technical hurdles to clear when testing chat apps. Also, because chat apps are inherently social, this human interaction adds further complexity. Humans express themselves through language in so many different ways, it can be challenging for machines to extract the intended meaning. To deliver exceptional customer service, organizations must ensure their chat tools meet ― or better yet, exceed ― user expectations. Let’s explore some of the challenges chat apps introduce and factors to think about when testing them.

Ensure comprehensive coverage

Whether you are using a third-party or proprietary chat app, one potential testing challenge is coverage across the different device, language, and locale combinations. With people across the globe using thousands of different devices and browsers, even accommodating the most popular combinations may be beyond your quality assurance (QA) team’s capabilities. To save internal resources, it may make sense to outsource some or all of your chat app testing.

Factor in different types of input

The open format of chat apps is unpredictable: beyond the challenges associated with natural language processing, customers may enter slang, misspellings, emojis, or photos. In these instances, chatbots may not function — let alone respond in the ways users expect. Companies need to ensure their chat tools can handle a variety of inputs effectively.

Text and rate limits, potential security risks with links and attachments or personal information, and the unexpected ways that users interact add complexity to automated tests.

The evolving nature of artificial intelligence (AI) customer support chatbots brings its own challenges. The use of natural language results in a variety of ways a user can express the same thing. This complexity adds to the testing required to make chatbot conversations feel intelligent and natural. Sourcing quality data in the volume required to train machine learning algorithms is a significant effort. Applause can provide input from users reflecting diverse backgrounds, delivering the demographic, geographic and linguistic mix needed for natural language processing and generation. Manual tests performed by sizable testing teams are an integral part of an AI chatbot implementation.

Additionally, ensuring professionalism for all users interacting via chat is essential. Any employee message, even in private messages, could be saved and become public. Vulgar and explicit language or images, social hacking methods such as spam and phishing, and other inappropriate interactions are important to consider with chat apps. Explicit language filtering and security testing with the help of cybersecurity experts can reduce risk for your business.

To deliver exceptional customer service, organizations must ensure their chat tools meet ― or better yet, exceed ― user expectations.

Plan for availability and accessibility

Ensuring availability and accessibility of your chat app is crucial to building and maintaining your customer base.

While the shift to virtual and online work has enabled companies to remain open beyond traditional hours of operation, downtime and service outages can and do happen. The chat app service may suddenly disconnect, your website can become unavailable, or access to customer account data could go down. Testing to prepare for these situations and having workaround plans and backups ensures your business continues running smoothly and prevents losing any critical files or data.

Integrating and testing accessibility in your business can mitigate the risk of leaving out any potential customers or violating any accessibility regulations. Applause’s team of accessibility testing and training experts help ensure your chat apps conform to the latest digital accessibility guidelines.

Validate your chat experiences with remote testing

Great chat applications provide plenty of business value. In this age of online communication, companies using chat tools must make sure they offer intuitive, user-friendly experiences that alleviate customer problems. A bad experience with a chat app can drive customers to try to resolve issues through call centers or in-person interactions, which cost companies more. Truly dissatisfied users may even end their relationships with your brand. Testing these applications is crucial to keep your business running smoothly and reduce risk.

To test thoroughly and avoid pitfalls, consider working with a remote testing team who can ensure your chat applications deliver a seamless user experience. Whether you’re looking for functional bugs, opportunities to improve the customer journey, or validation that your chatbot’s ML capabilities work well, the right testing partner can help.

A specialized remote QA team, like the ones Applause provides, is an ideal fit for testing chat apps. Our vetted community of testers helps cover the widest range of devices and operating systems in an efficient and cost-effective way. Learn how we can assemble focused teams from our testing community to test your chat app across a broad range of technologies and real-world situations. Get in touch with our experts today.

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Inge De Bleecker
Sr. Director of User Experience
Reading time: 5 min

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