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What's a Facebook Chatbot, and How Can I Use It For My Business?

June 6, 2017

Many years ago, chat rooms were one of THE most exciting and vibrant venues for online social activity. An enchanting land, where ten-year-old kids claimed they were twelve and twelve-year-old kids claimed they were aliens orbiting planet earth before an invasion.

 

If you asked someone at the end of the 90’s what a chatbot was, they would’ve probably said that a chatbot is just a means to an end for someone who wants to blow off some steam and get kicked out of a chat room.

 

However, these days chatbots are more than just a target for teens practicing the new curse words they recently learned. They can be the robotic army you’ve always dreamed of but never dared to ask your mother for. It’s basically a computer program created to simulate a conversation with real human users using AI. Sounds like something from the future, but chatbots are already present in the business world today!

 

When creating a stunning website with Merchant Club, adding this chatbot capability is a great start, but you can really take things to the next level on social media. Not so long ago, Facebook launched a new messenger bot tool that allows pages to automatically engage with users while offering 24/7 support & sales services through Facebook Messenger. Want to control this power and generate your own customer service terminator? Read on.

 

Why chatbots?

 

Chatbots are much more than just a cute gimmick. If you’re asking yourself if it’s really worth the effort, think about the time you or your customer support representatives spend every single day answering simple queries. You know, the ones that could have been solved with a quick visit to the FAQ section of your website?

 

Taking this burden off your shoulders and having a bot handle support conversations will free up your staff’s time to focus on more complex issues.

Thought that was pretty much the only good reason to have a chatbot? Think again.

 

Let’s say you run an online music store, suggesting albums to customers based on their previous purchases and preferences. You can kick things up a notch with the help of a Facebook Messenger bot who can perform quick data analyses and offer product and service recommendations. And if your bot’s dialogue includes enticing CTAs like, “Book Now” or “Order This Item,” you’ll surely benefit.

 

Another notable chat-vantage is the ability to establish a more personal connection with your users. That might seem a bit paradoxical when you program an algorithm to automatically answer questions, but in comparison to endless FAQs or lengthy and monotonic Interactive Voice Response systems, a well written, subject related answer can be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. An immediate response is something so rare, that providing a quick answer or solution to a problem will position you as a total novelty. Some of your users might even pinch themselves to make sure they’re not dreaming! Thanks to years of various forms of artificial intelligence appearing in movies and other popular culture references, people tend to see bots as more than just lines written by a programmer. This perception can be leveraged by creating a distinctive personality for your chatbot, adding some magic and charm to the pot for enhanced engagement (now say that four times in a row).

 

How to use chatbots

Getting started

 

The first step you need to take in the journey towards operating a Facebook Messenger bot is deciding which platform you’ll use to create it. Though using Facebook’s in-house tool sounds like a good default, some might find it a bit complicated (although they provide some great guides to help users out). There are other platforms Merchant Club can help you install and manage.

 

From this point, you’ll start to create the dialogue your chatbot will use to engage your visitors. Think about a suitable Welcome Message that aligns with your business’s tone, choose whether your answers will include text, photos, links, registration forms or sharing options and decide what a visitor’s next step will be, according to the information they’ve given to the chatbot. If you’re looking to dive a bit deeper, check out this tutorial for messenger bot creation. Before going live, make sure to test things out yourself (it’s better to be on the safe side when you work with A.I.) and add a shiny ‘Message Now’ button, encouraging users to get the conversation started.

 

They come in all different shapes and sizes

 

Still not sure if your business can benefit from using a Facebook chatbot? Can’t think of creative ways to use artificial intelligence to your advantage? Do you want some names? No problem. Just sit down please, you’re making us nervous.

  • The shopping assistant – Aside from functioning as a personal shopping assistant, Burberry’s chatbot uses GIFs and emojis to draw more engagement and upgrade the entire shopping experience for a user. Right inside Messenger, customers are offered new products, directed to sought-out sections of Burberry’s site and can even add an item to their cart.

  • The wise consumer – Do you have that one friend who always amazes you with their abilities to cut through red tape and handle fierce negotiations with stubborn customer support representatives? Well, if you don’t have that friend, or if you do but they’re too busy to help you, then you must check out Trim’s incredible messenger bot. From scheduling monthly payment reminders to negotiating your cable charges, Trim’s bot will be happy to assist and add you to their statistics. (According to the company’s data, they saved customers more than 10 million dollars to date).

  • The frequent flyer – Searching for cheap flights has turned into a kind of art form. People are looking for new flight search hacks on a daily basis. However, some of us prefer a simple and straightforward interface when booking our next trip to London. Kayak managed to use their Facebook Messenger bot for a simplified alternative, providing a more personal touch for customers looking for flights, hotels or activities. Just pick a date and a destination, and the chatbot will offer the best available option.

  • The paper boy – Do you get overwhelmed with the amount of new content whenever you visit TechCrunch’s website? Their friendly bot simplifies everything for visitors. Want to read their headline of the day? Looking for an article about a specific subject? Searching for a job?  Just ask politely and the messenger bot will guide you.

  • The personal one – A few rows above, we mentioned that giving your messenger bot a personality can boost engagement and help increase brand awareness. A great example of this is CoverGirl’s campaign where they created a bot version of Kalani Hilliker, a TV host and a social media influencer. This led to 14 times more conversation than an average post by Hilliker.

 

Ready to create an amazing website to match your incredible Facebook chatbot? Contact Merchant Club today!

 

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