First, What is a ChatBot?
ChatBots are new apps that strip away the complicated graphical user interface currently utilized on websites and apps, and instead, formulate their interactions with simple user friendly conversations. The whole idea behind ChatBots is that they are as easy to interact with as a person. Where do we interact with our friends on the internet? Social networks and messaging apps (like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger).- Medium.com
ChatBots and Their Opportunities for Brands
Facebook ChatBots are used to engage consumers and achieve a wide variety of business outcomes. They are constantly making updates and modifications to their bot integration. Having bots on a massive platform such as Facebook Messenger – carrying a user reach of over 9 million – gives brands the opportunity to leverage their preexisting followers and have a wider user reach.
Facebook has tried to drop the publicly coined term “Chat” Bot to lower consumer expectations of what was considered an overhyped Messenger feature. Since its release in April 2016, the platform has grown to over 30,000 available Bots. It recognizes questions, and can now accomplish a wide range of tasks that would normally have to be done through a person or a brands personal mobile/web application. With this, brands are adapting, and beginning to structure their bots to fit their business needs. Facebook has created opportunity to save time and money, simplify consumer experience, cultivate connections, and complete business transactions.
Today, consumers want instant responses to their questions, comments, and complaints. While many management tools exist, they’re often not enough. With Facebook Messenger bots, brands can structure their answer to respond to frequently asked questions. This saves valuable time and money for the brand, while providing consumers with a faster, and more comfortable customer support experience. Additionally, bots minimize social maintenance yet maximize social engagement.
According to a study done by Time Inc., approximately 90% of respondents like the idea of custom content as a way for brands to engage with them. These bots provide immediate value and can engage with the consumer in personalized manners. Whole Foods does this by sharing their recipe blogs when a user types an ingredient or an emoji in their bot. This not only engages the consumer and offers a service through the brand, but it also effortlessly drives traffic to their website.
Brands bots aren’t allowed to start conversations with their consumers – unless they opt in. This creates opportunity for brands to cultivate connections by constantly engaging with consumers through generally relevant content, such as news and entertainment. Motivating users to opt in not only connects your content to relevant consumers, but engages the consumer with your brand on a daily basis.
While bots are improving, finding them proves difficult with no real organization to Facebook’s bots database. Therefore, marketing your bot is vital. Advertise outside of Facebook, think of other areas to advertise where the concept might stand out – bring clients to your bot.
Facebook bots can now be used to effortlessly process product purchases. Brands can follow the example of 1-800-Flowers, which allows their customers to browse their selection by category, set up a time for delivery, put in their billing information, and essentially complete the entire transaction. All within the Facebook Messenger bot – essentially becoming easier and more personal than a website. When using messenger to streamline purchases, there is higher opportunity for purchase when the payment is already integrated into the platform.
Bots present a wide amount of potential for brand and profit growth. If businesses can learn to better utilize their bots and adapt to feedback, they can excel. It is important to think as the consumer, and not oversaturate them – but make the bots feel as organic as possible. Don’t forget to allow users to opt-out of your brand and have the option to contact a real customer service agent if necessary.
We’ve put together a pictograph chart to showcase the importance of messaging/bots and their business potential.