The chatbot was built to speak to students, so test and customize it using student language instead of industry-based terms. (i.e. instead of testing “How is R2T4 calculated?”, test “Why was my aid returned?”)

How to Test Your Bot

  1. From the top-right of the admin’s homepage, click the “Test My Bot” button.
    2. The chatbot pops open and is fully interactive. Enter questions that you would like the chatbot to be able to answer, such as your top FAQs from your students and parents.

Successful Responses

Examples of the chatbot functioning successfully as designed:

  1. It answers the question correctly from the Knowledge base.


  1. It gives relevant suggestions.

  1. It provides search results from your website that answers the question.

When we set up your chatbot, our team creates an index of your website to identify relevant sections as they pertain to the type of chatbot purchased.  Similar to a textbook, the index serves to identify where key information by topic is located.

Congrats!! If testing results in any of these scenarios, your testing is complete and you can move along to the next question.

Responses That May Need Customization


Responses may need to be adjusted if:                               

  1. The chatbot does not know the answer also known as an IDK ("I Don't Know") to an applicable subject-related question.

  2. Add a new custom question with the correct answer by clicking the Add A Response button. Further details on custom questions, including best practices, are outlined in the Customize Based on Testing section below.

  1. The chatbot gives a response that you would like to customize.

    1. If the existing answer is not correct for any of your school’s departments or audiences, then the answer needs to be edited with the correct information.

  1. You will see an Edit Response button appear at the lower right corner of that interaction. 

Click the Edit Response button and that Knowledge base question will pop up in a window for you to edit.

  1. The chatbot gives suggestions that do not help answer the question.

  1. Since the chatbot searches for Knowledge base answers before providing suggestions, add a new custom question with the correct answer. 

  1. The chatbot returns a website search result that does not contain the correct answer on that page.

  1. Add a new custom question with the correct answer. 

Curious about how Ocelot uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to return Knowledge base responses? Review our AI Model document for details and FAQs!

Congrats!! You’ve just increased the growth of your chatbot’s Knowledge base and users will find correct answers faster.

Customize Based on Testing

It is a best practice to first test your chatbot prior to customizing.

This will ensure that you focus your customizations on the questions your community will actually use, instead of trying to navigate through the full General Library. For each institution, there is a limit of 30 questions/responses for content outside of the applicable content areas in the contract. Therefore, focus primarily on your area of content. Additional best practices are outlined in the section below.

Testing Results

Edit Response

If a testing response comes from the Knowledge base, an Edit Response button will appear below the response.

By clicking on the Edit Response button, you will be brought to that question/response in the Knowledge base, where you will have the opportunity to edit/override that response as desired.

A few notes on editing questions and responses:

  • Variables, such as “!facontact-number” in the example above, have custom values that can be edited in the Settings area. Contact information variables, such as !facontact-number, are not displayed in the admin and must be adjusted by your Client Success Manager (see more about variables in the Variables section).

  • Hitting "Enter" after a line will create a space between each line. In order to reduce this spacing format, use bullet points and separate them out with "Alt" + "Enter" instead

  • If the Question Expires button is activated, you must enter the date when you wish the question to expire. Upon expiration, that question/response will be deleted from the system.

  • If a Review Date is saved, that question will be displayed in the Awaiting Review area 7 days prior to the review date and the system will notify admin users that the question/response needs to be reviewed for accuracy.

  • Customized questions will move into the Moderation Queue for up to 2 business days to be reviewed by Ocelot and then will go live and be displayed in the Custom Questions area.

  • Once custom questions have been processed by Ocelot, the view screen will show what libraries and categories the question is associated with in the Knowledge Base. 

Add a Response

If a response does not exist in the Knowledge base (IDK), an Add a Response button will populate under the chatbot’s IDK response.

By clicking on the Add a Response button, you will be brought to the Add New Question area, where you can type in your question and desired response. Additional details related to creating new questions are detailed in the New Custom Questions section below.

New Custom Questions

To create custom questions from scratch, open the navigation pane..

Read through the Custom Questions Best Practices section, located below, before customizing any questions. The What are the best practices for writing questions and responses? article may also prove helpful as you customize questions.

To create a custom question:

  • Click the Create Question button from the navigation pane.

  • Enter your primary question on the first line.

  • Enter your response.
  • Utilize the hyperlink feature to link text instead of including full URLs. Check the “Open link in new window” box for a better user experience. If the new site does not have the chatbot embedded, the user can easily close out the new tab and return to the chatbot.

  • A note about line spacing: hitting “Enter” after a line will create a space between each line. In order to reduce this spacing format, use "Shift" + "Enter" instead.

  • Finally, set the Review Date if you want the system to notify you on that date to review the question to ensure the information stays accurate. 

To edit an existing custom question:

  • From the left-hand pop-out navigation pane, visit the Knowledge base Custom Questions section to find the question.

  • Open the question to be able to edit the existing answer:

  • Click the “Edit” button and create your new answer.

  • Saved questions will move into the Moderation Queue, where they will go through a review cycle with internal Ocelot team members before they are approved.

Custom Question Best Practices

Each library comes preloaded with hundreds of questions and responses, so your chatbot can start helping users right away. You can also create custom questions for inquiries that are not answered by the General library content. Creating strong custom questions based on user needs and thorough testing will enhance your chatbot’s performance. Here are tips to help you create effective custom responses and ensure AI compatibility.

Test first

Speak student.

  • Avoid jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations specific to your school/department. The AI has limitations with being able to add these items to the Knowledge base.

Test more than one phrasing.

Use specific language.

  • Instead of “What forms do I need?” try “What financial aid forms do I need?” or “What forms do I need for a SAP appeal?”

Customize existing responses

Edit the existing response instead of creating a new custom question from scratch.

  • This saves your time and prevents duplication and conflicting information.

  • Existing responses will be approved faster in the moderation queue.

Relevant suggestions or website links means your chatbot is functioning properly.

  • Let suggestions and website links help do the heavy lifting. Focus on customizing the IDKs (the "I Don't Knows")

Only create a brand new question if:

  • A response doesn't exist (an IDK, or "I Don't Know")
  • The bot gives irrelevant suggestions and/or website links

Focus on your area's content

The AI currently has limitations with creating brand new content related to the following areas:

  • Chatbot personality and small-talk
    • The chatbot's personality is pre-built and not customizable. So while the conversations around jokes and the weather are fun, we are currently not able to customize them further.
  • Academic programs
    • Specific program and course names and codes are not able to be included in the top-level question.
    • Focus on customizing existing academic program content by linking to existing content on your website and/or in your course catalog.

There is also a limit of 30 out-of-library (OOL) questions for each contract. 

  • Out of library content is defined as chatbot questions that are beyond the scope of the intent, mission, and general objectives of a department. 
  • For example, the mission of most Housing offices is to maintain a safe and welcoming on-campus living environment. Custom questions about housing programming, residence options, and housing policies are considered in-library and do not count against your out-of-office limit. However, custom questions about graduation, student health visits, or tutoring options fit in other content libraries (i.e. Registrar, Student Life, etc.). 

Although ultimate discretion remains with Ocelot to determine OOL content, it is our philosophy to create a superior chatbot experience by implementing a liberal interpretation that leans toward supporting your interests. In other words, we'll do our best to approve customizations in this area, but may have to abide by these limitations and will communicate to you when applicable.

We are continually exploring new AI models to reduce these types of limitation in the future.

Think conversationally

Be direct and concise. Keep responses short and to the point. Link out to additional resources if needed.

  • What is the simplest, most straightforward way you can ask this question?

  • Keep your wording as simple as possible to ensure you maintain the chatbot’s conversational tone and remain under the 550 character response limit.

  • Try not to overwhelm the user with too much information. Let them ask more questions as needed. However, also avoid one-word responses or only adding a URL as a response.

Speak student.

  • Avoid jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations specific to your school/department. The AI has limitations with being able to add these items to the Knowledge base.

Don’t worry about the perfect wording. Let the AI do the work.

  • Keep in mind that the responses are all that the user will see. Ocelot may need to adjust the wording of custom questions in order to ensure the artificial intelligence works properly, but the responses should be the focus of your customizations.

Time-travel to the future

Consider future maintenance.

  • Avoid responses that will need to regularly updated. For example:

    • Avoid using references to specific academic years (when possible).

    • Link to a forms page instead of listing specific forms.

    • Link to a directory instead of listing out specific staff members.

  • Instead of using detailed URLs in your text, use the link icon feature to hyperlink the text. This will keep responses clean and easy to maintain.

    • To hyperlink an email, enter “mailto:” before the email address (i.e.

    • To hyperlink a phone number (to allow mobile users to make a direct call by clicking on that number), use “tel:” before a phone number (i.e. tel:123-456-7890).

  • If you anticipate needing to review the response in the future, set a review date so that the system reminds you to review it at that time.

Testing the IDK Response


When the chatbot cannot provide a response to a user’s question/input, it will respond with an IDK (“I Don’t Know”) and ask if the user would like to contact the office. In order to test this function, ask the chatbot something it is not designed to answer. Our favorite is “Why am I hungry?” 

If the user says yes, the chatbot will ask for the applicable office.

Once an office is chosen, the chatbot will activate the IDK Response, which is either to:

  • Utilize the IDK intake form, or

  • Display your contact information to the user (this is what a new chatbot defaults to unless a chatbot admin changes the behavior settings).

The IDK intake form will ask the user for the following information:

  • Name

  • Email

  • Phone

  • Anything else they would like to add

Once complete, a transcript of the entire conversation will be sent to the email you entered on the set-up form, followed by an offer for the user to download a copy of the chat transcript.

Testing the Explore Feature


Ocelot’s chatbot features a functionality we call “Explore,” which provides additional options through the A.I. for the user to choose from every time a question is asked. Suggestions (possible helpful responses from the Knowledge base), Videos (from the video portal that contains possible related content), and Links (pages from your website with possible related content) will display as options for most interactions:

View our Explore Feature Overview for additional details.

Testing Multilingual Chatbots

If your chatbot is multilingual, the applicable languages can be accessed via 2 ways: 

  1. Click on the industry-standard globe icon at the top right corner 

  1. Start typing the applicable language into the chatbot and it will shift to that language’s mode.

Additional languages utilize a built-in translator, so there are no additional Knowledge bases to maintain!

When you access actual student conversations in the Interactions area of the admin, use the globe icon to translate them back into your native language. 


Once you've completed this implementation step, embed your bot onto your web pages!