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@Matt_Lo
@Matt_Lo
Posted 20 days ago
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November 2019 Product Update

The November 2019 product update from ChipBot includes design updates, analytics improvements, new security features, and a near-term road map.

November 2019 Product Update

It’s been quite a while since our last product update but we’re ready to discuss and showcase what we’ve been working on and where our future looks toward.

These new changes help strengthen our position on customer experience and automation. Previously, our product only reflected the search nature and a narrow scope of how support is conducted. We wanted to add elements to engage with users during pre-conversion and onboarding, as well as on-going support, all at the same time. So most of our time, up to this point, focused on large-scale product design changes to scale out features that helped support these three areas. Additionally, we collected more data and validated with end-users that live chat is not an end-game for business owners — especially businesses that don’t have dedicated budgets for support or website UX.

Our product is on a path to aggressively address those at a 10x value capacity. Sure, these updates are important for our current users, but they also set up the foundation to expand all the proper features sets we need to compete. This means that the current updates are only the first step! (Think of it as a migration from an old idea to a new, competitive idea.)

If you’re an existing customer, you’ll find these updates needed and valuable (especially since it comes to you at no charge). If you’re in the ChipBot ecosystem or thinking about using ChipBot, you might want to see what the future updates look like before committing to using it on your own website.

We are excited to be on this path, and can’t wait to show you where we’re heading. Keep tabs on our progress via our newsletter and on Twitter. We’re moving fast, avoiding breaking critical mistakes common in companies that expand irresponsibly (looking at you, WeWork), and being open-minded on how our customers want to use ChipBot.

New Features
New card component design
New ability to browse topics and utilities
New booking integration with Calendly
New contact component
New “Powered By” animation
Improvements
Improved feedback experience
Improved analytics tracking
Improved search performance and security
Deprecations
Next Update

New Features

There are so many new aspects of ChipBot! I think it’s best to show all the key changes. Everything was redesigned with customer experience and utility in mind

New card component design

New ability to browse topics and utilities

ChipBot’s new browse components offer more ways than ever to find the information you need. In the past, only the top 10 questions were browseable in ChipBot unless you used the search box. Now, once opened, ChipBot will show a filter version in the search results page.

New booking integration with Calendly

If you want your users to book meetings with you, against your calendar, based on availability and rule sets, you can now link your Calendly account directly into ChipBot’s booking page.

I think this has been requested since the beginning of time for ChipBot. Now it’s here and it’s pretty straight forward.

New contact component

Check out our new “easy and configurable” Contact page within ChipBot. By nature, ChipBot will automate as much as it can, but that doesn’t mean it should shut people out if automation isn’t your desired experience. We think these upgraded additions support our cause better than ever before.

Additionally, there are now 3 ways users can send you a custom message: One for when users ask you a direct question, one for when users give you custom feedback, and one for when users simply want to contact you.

New “Powered By” page

If you click the “Powered By” button, instead of immediately taking to an external page, it’ll bring up a small advert about ChipBot. The background runs on a Three.js lightweight rendering engine instead of delivering a bloated video over the internet.

This isn’t what I’d dub a vital feature and Pro users can disable the button, but … I think it’s a cool page.

Although I’m using this to increase ChipBot’s reach on free accounts, I’m also planning to experiment with a white label variant. Freelancers and agencies could install ChipBot on their client’s site, replace the ChipBot fixtures with their own branding, and increase their own reach to gain more prospects.

This is still an “idea” for now. If you have any thoughts on this, let us know in the comments or send us a question about it in ChipBot.

Improvements

Improved feedback experience

The new ChipBot now offers your users some granular feedback, based on a 5-emoji rating system. If the user selects the lower 3 ratings, it will probe the user to be a bit more specific, directly addressing the lack of details available in our previous model.

The previous feedback experience was really basic, we know: collect feedback with a form or get a simple thumbs up/down response back for an Insight. This is all removed for something much better.

We’ve made rating and feedback easier, meaning there’s a higher chance you get more responses.

Our feedback improvement plans don’t stop there. Looking ahead, we plan to add a new A.I. driven feedback system to predict when users would most likely provide feedback. We’ll reuse ChipBot’s notification system to popout feedback components based on automated behavior analysis. More info on this in a future update.

Improved analytics tracking

We expanded the scope and kind of data we track to help support some of our A.I. ambitions and better serve businesses with improved automation (all anonymous of course).

Previous analytics were all confined within ChipBot, like Insight open rates and Trigger view counts. Analytics now include end-user behavior like when a user opens a page, when they close it, their scroll position, mouse behavior, and the moment they perform these actions over set time range.

We’ll disclose more of this in a new page that better outlines what we capture, what we do with it, who owns it (this is always account holder, not us), and how it benefits ChipBot and your end-users.

The coolest piece of this improvement is that we can start running automated multivariant testing, allowing ChipBot to be more proactive against users, not just a reactive customer experience tool.

Improved style compatibility, search performance, and security

ChipBot will never have a style compatibility issue again. The previous version of ChipBot used a namespaced version of styles that merged with the host’s styles. This led to incredibly fast render times, but also led to style conflicts that could break ChipBot’s rendering. For example, a website’s theme might have a forceful override to change all font sizes to be 20 pixels tall, which would break ChipBot’s design.

Now the new version has a framed approach where each component of ChipBot is sandboxed, meaning the theme of the parent website cannot leak into ChipBot and vice versa.

Next, we improved search performance. The previous version used a simple algorithm on the client-side that only conducted word matching. Our new version has modern contextual search with lexical pre-scored dictionaries and context-based mappings. Additionally, it stores results using 1/100 of the typical index size used for searching, which means faster real-time search and zero-lag performance on lower-powered devices (e.g.: low-end smartphones).

Our other big improvement area is security. We already run a bundle tampering monitor, encrypt in-transit data with HTTPS, encrypt our filesystems, run XSS inbound filters, run XSRF protection, and a bunch of other techniques to help combat hackers.

Our latest security update added a blanket wide outbound XSS filter on ChipBot. This ensures that, even if we missed a security hole while we add new features on the dashboard, another final filtering mechanism will kick into place right before it renders to your end-users.

This is important because one of our customer’s accounts could be compromised via other compromised sources (like an email or reused password). If our customer’s account was compromised externally, in theory, it’s possible to attempt to injection malicious scripts onto their website, through ChipBot. I wanted to prevent this, so we added an outbound filter in addition to the existing inbound filter.

This new filter cleans out malicious scripts filters all that out, such as hidden cryptominers and keyloggers. Additionally, the new sandbox mode makes it a bit more difficult to penetrate anything outside of ChipBot. And the new APIs we deployed on the backend add monitoring on malicious content.

Deprecations

Below is a few line items that we’ll be removing in the future. We flag them as deprecated, meaning they all still work but will be discontinued in the future.

  • Removing automatic ranking of questions. Our user data discovered that high ranking items never get unseated by lower-ranking ones unless the website has a high volume of traffic. Additionally, most business owners like to configure their ranking for their own purposes.
  • Removing complex Trigger functionality. We were adding whatever we could to the Trigger feature set, but discovered it’s becoming way too hard to manage them. I don’t have details to share on what we are removing yet, but you’ll still be able to have custom messages pop out of ChipBot. We will be renaming this feature Notifications on a future release. In replace of removed stuff, we are adding artificial intelligence to figure out what, when, and where to solicit information or show an advert to your users. This directly ties in with the improved analytics tracking.
  • Deep color theming. We’re currently in the process of removing many aspects of customer colors. Our product research discovered that our customer’s choice of colors we’re not always in the best interest of ChipBot UX, and often turned off users. For example, a “red version” of ChipBot would perform less than a “blue version” of ChipBot (in cases of identical traffic). We’ll keep the icon color and image customization. Stay tuned for curated themes in the future.

Next Update

Our continuous improvement efforts never stop. Here is a shortlist of other key highlights we’re working on. A future update post will highlight all these changes soon.

  • Review Notification. When a user is predicted to leave a blog article, or when ChipBot predicts the user is most likely to provide feedback, we will present a feedback card to rate the article. Businesses can use this data as a KPI for their blog writer’s performance.
  • Location Component. For a business with a physical location, you’ll be able to show your users a location card within ChipBot and within the search results. You can have multiple locations listed and it’ll display the address, a map to the address, options for directions, and a call button.
  • App Tiles Configuration. As mentioned above, users can now browse through items within ChipBot. These items are called “App Tiles” and each tile can have different configurations. The next update will reuse ChipBot’s content tagging ability to group insights based on the tag name, then display that tag as an App Tile. As a reference, ChipBot has a catch-all App Tile called “Frequently Asked Questions”. In the future, you’ll be able to add other App Tiles based on the tags you set.
  • Voice Mail. When users have the option to contact you, they can skip typing and simply record their voice and send it to you. In a follow-up release after this one, there will also be dictation on both sides, so a user can record a voice but only send as a text, or the business receiving an audio file can have both the text and audio version.
  • Newsletter Component. Whether you have an active newsletter or not, ChipBot will be preparing a list of subscribers for you automatically. When you’re ready to tap into them, you can connect the list to MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, or any other mail provider for your campaigns or newsletters.

I hope you find these updates and improvements useful for your business. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, we’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter. Until next time…

Share To
@Matt_Lo
@Matt_Lo

Matt is a Chicago-based entrepreneur with over a decade of experience building highly scalable web-based technology solutions. Knowledgable in 12 different programming languages and experienced startup veteran; having worked on 6 others. He's currently the founder and CEO of ChipBot. You can reach Matt on Twitter, LinkedIn, or StackOverflow.

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