Email marketing used to be one of the most important components of a digital marketing strategy till not so long back. And then we saw the emergence of mobile apps. Telephone call based customer care has been around for several years now. All the above look set to make way for the latest development that has captured everyone’s imagination – chatbots. Most websites have begun to incorporate some form of chatbots into their customer service initiatives.
Several businesses use Facebook for business promotion. Check out our previous post on how to use Facebook ads for e-commerce stores. Now Facebook has also come up with the Facebook Messenger chatbot. So let us tr
y to understand chatbots in general. We will also take a look at Facebook Messenger chatbot. We will try to understand how it can be used for customer service.
Let’s Understand What Facebook Messenger Chatbot Is?
Table of Contents
- 1 Let’s Understand What Facebook Messenger Chatbot Is?
- 2 Advantages of Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Business Owners
- 3 Advantages of Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Customers
- 4 A Few Best-in-class Chatbot Examples to Get Inspiration From
- 5 Some Handy Tools for Building Facebook Messenger Bots
- 6 A Few Best Practices for Customer Service
- 7 Conclusion:
A chatbot is a messaging software driven by artificial intelligence algorithms to talk to people virtually. These bots are programmed in such a way that they can understand the basic questions and simple requests. Accordingly, they provide useful answers and carry out simple tasks. Most customers are no longer happy about having to wait on the phone line when they call in for support.
They also don’t want to overload their phone with yet another app. It is so much convenient to chat using Facebook. The Facebook Messenger chatbot is a convenient way to extend customer service through Facebook. When you use Facebook Messenger chatbot for your business, you get easy access to all the users who log on to Facebook daily.
Facebook messenger bots can also be controlled by third party integration apps such as Many chat, where you can program your own messenger chat bot from scratch.
Advantages of Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Business Owners
There are the following two advantages of using Facebook Messenger chatbot for customer service:
1. Low Entry Barrier for Both Your Customer and You:
There is no number to dial and no wait for the representative to come on. Facebook is something which most people keep open all day long on their smartphones. They only have to open the Messenger chatbot and type in their query or complaint.
For the business owner, there is no need for complicated infrastructure to be set up. Facebook app is a way to use the chatbot service. Most users already have the Facebook app downloaded on their smartphones. This makes Messenger chatbot on Facebook a much cheaper alternative.
Everyone can get access to the messenger bot at the same time, no matter when and where, and will get instant response within the app. This can also work great with other Facebook Messenger marketing campaigns, where you can setup a custom funnel for the customers or leads you capture. You also use the messenger bots for retargeting or publishing news or special offers and deals.
2. Less Crowded Marketplace:
The second advantage is that you have to deal with a less crowded marketplace. Compared to more than 6 million Facebook which are used for business promotion, there are only 300 thousand chatbots. So you can position your business conveniently without fear of being crowded out.
However nobody knows for how long, this might change if more businesses discover this type of advertising and are able to incorporate this into their social media marketing strategies.
Advantages of Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Customers
We can’t speak only about how a certain feature is advantageous to the business owner. Using Facebook Messenger chatbot offers myriad benefits to customers who are looking for service and support. That is why almost two out of every three consumers use a company’s social media site for servicing their needs.
The following advantages will make you more amenable to the use of Facebook Messenger as a customer:
- There is no change in the activity from the customer’s point of view. You might anyway have the Facebook app open. And in that, there might be several chat windows already open. It just means the customer will have to open a new chat window and engage the company’s Facebook messenger chatbot. Just as an example, more than 90% of users in Austria use Messenger. This scenario is seen in most other countries of the world. If you consider only the younger set of users as your target audience, then Messenger is the best choice for you.
- I already touched upon the convenience factor for users earlier. They would be able to reach out to you very easily through a Facebook Messenger chatbot. There would be no need to call on toll-free numbers and wait for a long time. There would also be no need to write long explanations on emails.
- A chatbot is much more intimate and immediate. Because of the artificial intelligence features of a Facebook Messenger chatbot, the customers get the feeling that they are actually chatting with a person. Take a look at the results of this survey. More than a fourth of respondents said they would like to be able to ask questions through Facebook Messenger.
- Facebook Messenger chatbots can be used to give the most updated information and details to the customer’s queries. Issues faced by customers can be solved in real time. Let us assume that an airline runs a Facebook Messenger chatbot service. A customer who lands on an alien airport in a new country can open the chatbot. It could tell him where he should proceed for his next boarding.
- There would be no cut off time for a customer wishing to avail the customer service. The chatbot can be kept operable throughout the day and night. This does wonder for a customer’s confidence in being able to get helpful and effective service at any time of the day.
A Few Best-in-class Chatbot Examples to Get Inspiration From
The use of Facebook Messenger chatbot for customer delight is not just a nice sounding idea. There are several companies out there which have actually begun to reap the benefits.
Let us look at some examples:
This music sharing app can also take customer requests on Facebook Messenger. The search for music and the sharing of music can both take place using Facebook Messenger chatbot. The customers can make requests for specific genres of music. The chatbot can help the selection process by understanding where the customer is and how he or she is feeling.
UNICEF’s U-report gathers people’s opinion from all around the world on various issues under the sun. With these opinions, its goal is to unite the voice of people on the issues that affect them and convey the issues to the world leaders so that new policies and law can be made for the benefit of the people. More than two million followers are the part of its Facebook messenger bot.
The Wall Street Journal is one of the prime NEWS and article publications in the U.S. It has created a great Facebook messenger chatbot that delivers breaking NEWS directly to the Facebook accounts of their fan page subscribers.
Some Handy Tools for Building Facebook Messenger Bots
A lot of business owners build their own chatbots using the Facebook Messenger platform. These chatbots can be built with NLP features using Dialogflow (formerly Api.ai), Wit.ai or Node.js for sure. But not all business owners have the coding expertise to do it. And hiring an agency also might not be cost effective for a new or small enterprise depending on their goal. In this case, you can use any of these tools to create your chatbot without knowing a single line of code. However we do also built custom-made chatbots for our clients as a part of their Facebook marketing campaign.
They believe that almost 90% of Facebook messages are opened. This is much better than having unopened email marketing messages. They are new, and you need to sign up for their 14-day trial to begin using their tool. They have a simple drag and drop interface to build the chatbot. You can make your customer support and marketing perfect without knowing a line of code.
Clients like HTC, Adidas, and KLM Airlines, have used this free tool to power their customer support functions easily using Facebook Messenger chatbot. It is free to use and is available on the cloud as a Software as a Service (SaaS). You can set up simple rules of messaging. For instance, the first welcome message, followed by specific statements or queries based on customer queries.
They refer themselves as the ‘solution to all your customer support issues’. You can integrate their chatbots with Alexa and WordPress. You can also build lead generation conversation forms. Their strength lies in the use of effective calls to action after every customer interaction. This bot doesn’t need extensive training for employees to use. They can help you respond to customers immediately even if there are no free agents available.
A Few Best Practices for Customer Service
Like every useful technology, this one also has a few caveats. If you are using Facebook Messenger for customer service, then these four prudent practices will mean the difference between success and failure.
- Many of the people who ping you might have major dissatisfaction issues with your products or services. If you do not respond quickly, you might lose that customer forever. Even if the complete solutions or the right answers are not available immediately, a quick acknowledgment and a patient hearing can go a long way in placating the customer. Please remember that Facebook also marks your speed of responsiveness for all to see. If you have responded within 15 minutes to every ping in the last 7 days, you can get the ‘Very Responsive to Messages’ badge.
- Apart from the time taken to respond, the frequency of response is also important. The simplest metric to follow is to respond to 100% of messages. Even if the customer has not reached out but has left a stray comment on your Facebook page, he should be contacted on Messenger and asked about what he needs help or clarification on.
- It has been observed that most customers prefer to be addressed by their first names in an informal manner. This is obvious because the customer has not chosen to write a formal mail to you but has pinged you on social media instead. An informal tone helps to put the customer at ease and facilitates the conversation. The chatbot (or the representative) from your side should also use the first name only.
- Chatbots need to be trained to retrieve background information quickly. This will do away with the need for standard questions which only help to agitate the customer further. The questions should be only to verify a few basic details. But other than that, your chatbot should have retrieved past interactions, customer purchase history etc.
It is still too early to reach a conclusion about whether Facebook Messenger chatbots will replace all other mediums completely. There are still customers who prefer to listen to a voice at the other end of the line. There are other customers who find it easier to pour their heart out in a long email. But there is no doubt that the Facebook Messenger chatbots are coming and growing quickly.
We use Facebook Messenger chatbots ourself with our clients, and most of them with really good results. However it depends on the type of business, core audience and the product. Even though the best option would be to have both e-mail support, phone, chatbots as well as an option to get human livechat redirected from the chatbot itself to answer more complex questions or problems.
Please let us know if you use Facebook Messenger bots in your business and how this is going for you, so far? What kind of results do you get? Do you use this mainly for customer service or for marketing/sales? We prefer both, but again, it all depends.