Hi, I’m William 🤘 — Designer based in Chicago, IL

PayPal Support Bot

A chatbot on Facebook Messenger to help PayPal users with the most common support issues.

ForPayPal RoleProduct Design Intern

The Problem

PayPal launched on Facebook Messenger in October of 2016. Users were able to message PayPal’s customer support team over Messenger. However, the average wait time for a user to get a response from a support agent was 36 hours…

Our team started by defining the problem statement, how might we assist users in getting more efficient help and reduce the workload on the customer support team?

From there, I helped lead a project to build a chatbot on Facebook Messenger to handle top support questions from users. This way customer support agents can spend more time handling more urgent and complex problems.


I started by researching general trends and best practices for building chatbots on Facebook Messenger. I watched F8 (Facebook’s Developer Conference) talks on chatbots and documented my experience using 30 of the most used chatbot on Messenger.

After researching chatbots, I used this information to created 4 design principles our chatbot would follow.

  1. Be Cooperative – always find ways to be helpful for a user.

  2. Anticipate Deviation – users will change their minds and we should stay adaptable.

  3. Instill User Confidence – keep the user in control of the experience.

  4. Stay Consistent – maintain a consistent voice, tone, and personality.

Customer Support

Then we spent time with the customer support team. We worked to understand the process they use to interactive with users over Messenger. We collaborated to define the top 20 most common support questions asked by users. As well as discover what we would be to provide to help those questions.

After that, we narrowed our scope and focused on tackling the top 6 most common issues for user. That way we had a base to build our bot on and weren't trying to solve every issue.

Interaction Design

Then I designed a flow diagram to map the top 6 issues to solutions. I looked at where we wanted to create different interactions and segment the user depending on their problem.

I also worked on creating a design system of all the Facebook Messenger assets. That way we could create prototypes to test concepts with users, instead of fully building the chatbot.

User Testing

After working with a content team, we created mockups to test with users in PayPal's research lab. We were able to run scenario tests giving users real-world problems and having them solve their issues using the chatbot prototype.

We Learned

  • The menu options in the chatbot were unclear and caused confusion.
  • The wait time between messages from the bot could either win the experience, if a couple seconds, or ruin the experience, if longer than 30 seconds.
  • Personal language and an informal tone resonated more strong with users than more formal, business language/tone.

Overview Demo

Interactive Content Demo

Talk with a Real Support Agent Demo

Solve a Support Issue Demo

The Result

From the feedback, I was able to create content and interaction recommendations. We then built out the chatbot to handle the top 6 issues. After that, we the product reviewed by PayPal's policy team and is waiting to be released to all PayPal users on Facebook Messenger.

Our goal is to continue to expand and be able to handle all 20 of the most common support issues. This projects purpose is to save the customer support team time, save PayPal money by spending less on direct support, and allow users more immediate help through an interactive experience.