A Good Chatbot is Never Finished: How to Collect User Feedback and Learn from Conversational Mishaps

Illustrator: Adan Augusto
collect chabot feedback

In the fast-paced world of modern commerce, where the digital landscape is continually evolving, businesses are increasingly turning to chatbots as a strategic tool to enhance customer engagement, streamline operations, and drive growth. 

These virtual assistants, powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing, have emerged as indispensable assets for companies looking to stay ahead in an ever-competitive market. 

However, while the initial deployment of a chatbot may represent a significant milestone, the journey to success is far from over. In fact, it's just the beginning. A good chatbot is never truly finished; it is an ongoing project of refinement and optimization, driven by user feedback and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The Imperative of Continuous Improvement

In an era when customer expectations are higher than ever, businesses cannot afford to rest on their laurels. According to Salesforce research, 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately upon contacting the business. Moreover, 57% of customers prefer to engage companies through digital channels. These statistics underscore the critical importance of delivering a seamless and responsive user experience, and chatbots play a pivotal role in meeting these expectations.

Consider the case of Bank of America. One of the largest banking institutions in the United States, introduced Erica, its virtual assistant chatbot, to provide customers with assistance on banking-related inquiries, budgeting, and account management. However, upon its initial release, Erica faced criticism for its limited capabilities and difficulty in understanding complex queries. Users reported frustration with the chatbot's inability to provide accurate answers or navigate nuanced financial situations effectively. In response to these challenges, Bank of America launched an extensive improvement campaign aimed at enhancing Erica's functionality and user experience. The company invested in refining Erica's natural language processing capabilities, expanding its knowledge base, and optimizing its conversation flows to better address user inquiries. Through iterative updates and user feedback integration, Bank of America gradually transformed Erica into a more robust and reliable virtual assistant, capable of providing personalized financial guidance and support to millions of customers.

Another inspiring example is of Deutsche Telekom, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Europe, which introduced its virtual assistant, Tinka, to provide customer support and assistance with account management tasks. Tinka was designed to help customers troubleshoot technical issues, manage their subscriptions, and access information about services and products offered by Deutsche Telekom. However, upon its launch, Tinka encountered criticism from users for its limited functionality and difficulty in understanding complex inquiries.In response to user feedback and the need for improvement, Deutsche Telekom initiated a comprehensive enhancement program to refine Tinka's capabilities and user experience. The company focused on bolstering Tinka's natural language processing abilities, expanding its knowledge base to cover a wider range of topics, and improving its ability to handle diverse customer queries effectively. Additionally, Deutsche Telekom implemented a user feedback mechanism within the chatbot interface to solicit input and insights directly from customers, enabling iterative refinement based on real-time feedback.Through these improvement efforts, Deutsche Telekom aimed to transform Tinka into a more reliable and user-friendly virtual assistant, capable of delivering personalized support and enhancing the overall customer experience for its millions of subscribers across Europe.

The Art of Collecting User Feedback

Central to the process of continuous improvement is the systematic collection of user feedback. There are several strategies that businesses can employ to gather valuable insights into the performance of their chatbots:

1. Surveys and Polls: Deploying surveys and polls to solicit feedback directly from users can provide invaluable insights into their experience with the chatbot. By asking targeted questions about usability, effectiveness, and satisfaction, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of user preferences and pain points.

2. User Analytics: Leveraging analytics tools to analyze user interactions with the chatbot can reveal valuable insights into usage patterns, common queries, and areas of improvement. By tracking metrics such as conversation duration, completion rate, and user engagement, businesses can identify opportunities for optimization and refinement.

3. Direct Feedback Channels: Providing users with the opportunity to provide feedback directly within the chat interface can facilitate real-time communication and foster a sense of engagement. Whether through a simple "Was this helpful?" prompt or a more detailed feedback form, businesses can leverage direct feedback channels to gather actionable insights into user sentiment and preferences.

4. Social Media Monitoring: Monitoring social media channels for mentions of the chatbot can provide valuable feedback on user satisfaction and sentiment. By actively monitoring platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, businesses can identify trends, address concerns, and engage with users in meaningful conversations.

Learning from Conversational Mishaps

In addition to collecting user feedback, businesses must also learn from conversational mishaps and leverage these insights to drive continuous improvement. When a chatbot fails to deliver a satisfactory response or misunderstands a user's intent, it represents an opportunity for learning and growth. There are several steps that businesses can take to identify and address conversational mishaps:

1. Root Cause Analysis: Conducting a thorough analysis of conversation logs can help businesses identify the underlying reasons behind conversational mishaps. Whether it's a lack of training data, a misunderstanding of user intent, or a technical limitation of the chatbot platform, identifying the root cause is the first step towards resolution.

2. Iterative Improvement: Armed with insights from user feedback and conversational analysis, businesses can implement targeted improvements to enhance the performance of the chatbot. This could involve refining natural language processing models, expanding the bot's knowledge base, or adjusting conversation flows to better align with user expectations.

3. Testing and Validation: Before deploying any changes to the live environment, businesses must rigorously test and validate the updated chatbot to ensure that the issues have been addressed and that the improvements have the desired effect. This may involve conducting user testing sessions, running A/B tests, or leveraging automated testing tools to validate the performance of the chatbot across various scenarios and use cases.


The journey to success in the realm of conversational AI is one of continuous improvement and refinement. A good chatbot is never truly finished; it is a dynamic and evolving entity that must adapt to the changing needs and expectations of users. By systematically collecting user feedback, learning from conversational mishaps, and leveraging these insights to drive iterative improvement, businesses can unlock the full potential of their chatbots and deliver exceptional experiences that delight customers, drive loyalty, and fuel growth in an increasingly competitive market.