Getting Your Bots Ready for the Holidays: Best Practices from Drift

The holiday season is here! And in addition to cooking, decorating, shopping, and maybe seeing friends and family in-person after a long time, there’s one more thing that should be on your to-do list — your Drift chatbots. And while we can’t help with the first few items on that list, we can offer you some advice when it comes to your bots.

Read on to learn how you can prep your team (and your bot) to deliver a seamless customer experience and, dare I say, sleigh the holiday season.

1. Plan for Time Off

This is a time where a lot of your team is going to be out of the office and, while your bots are designed to handle that, you need to make sure calendars and availability are set clearly.

One option is to make sure your Account Executives block off their calendars for the dates they will be OOO and your BDR or SDR team sets themselves to away in Drift.

This is a simple solution for those days where only a few people are taking time off and for a short amount of time. If you are planning for extended time off, then make sure your reps are appropriately blocking their calendars off (if you’re worried about certain folks not blocking their calendars, consider taking them out of the round-robin rotation entirely until they return).

Pro-tip: For Drift customers on the Premium, Advanced, and Enterprise plans, use the Out of Office feature to prevent any bots from booking a meeting for you when you’re away.

To mark yourself out of office, go to My Settings > Calendar > Availability and check the Mark yourself as out of office box.

To get the step-by-step instructions and share them with your team, check out the help doc here

2. Keep the Visitor Experience in Mind

Are you going to be staffed full time or will you be running on a skeleton crew? If there are a few days where your whole team is going to be offline and won’t be jumping in to chat with customers live, then you should consider adding some messaging that lets visitors know that no one is available to talk right now and that there might not be meeting times available for a couple of days. This will help improve the visitor’s experience by setting clear expectations.

Here’s some messaging Drift is using for Thanksgiving:

3. Prioritize

We mentioned a to-do list at the beginning of this post and we know that bot updates might only be one of a hundred things on your mind (and plate) right now. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about updating every single bot. You can focus your efforts.

When prioritizing which bots to update messaging on, start with the ones that see the highest activity. At Drift, we generally update the top 20% of bots that have generated the most conversations and meetings with holiday-appropriate messaging. If you are short on time or resources, focus on your engage-all, book a meeting, and contact us bots.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to go back after the holiday season and change the messaging back ✅

4. Have Fun!

While there are practical actions you need to take, this can also be an excellent time for experimentation. Test out fun or creative copy you might not implement otherwise. You can even get creative with the bots themselves.

For Thanksgiving, our team created the Uncle Larry bot to help our customers answer (or avoid) any awkward questions or family moments.

Talk to Uncle Larry here.

We understand not every company has the same brand voice or style, so make sure any changes you make to bots or copy during this time stay consistent with yours.

When it comes to getting your bots ready for the holidays, a little refresh can go a long way to making customers happy.

Happy Holidays from Drift ❄️

Have a specific question in mind or want to brush up on some Drift best practices? Check out our help docs and Drift Insider.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2020 and has been updated to reflect new information.