You have heard the buzz. Chatbots will replace mobile apps. Chatbots will replace email marketing. Chatbots will replace buyer care agents. Chatbots will reduce your prices and improve your revenue. And Facebook Messenger bots are gonna do it all when you sleep.
There is lots of hype floating around right now about chatbots generally, and Facebook Messenger bots in particular. It is no surprise that, based on a survey by Oracle, 80 % of businesses want a chatbot in place by 2020.
Could Facebook Messenger bots really do everything they promise?
What are Facebook Messenger bots (a.k.a Facebook chatbots)?
Basically, a chatbot is a piece of automated messaging tool that uses AI to converse with people.
Facebook Messenger Bots are programmed to know questions, provide answers, and execute tasks. From a customer’s perspective, they are a friendly and accessible time-saver. Rather than opening an app (let alone downloading one), making a phone call (ew), running a search, or loading a webpage, your customer could just type a message, as they would to a friend.
Chatbots have been around in some form for decades, and at present, they exist on webpages, in apps, on social media—you name it.
A Facebook Messenger bot is a chatbot that lives in Facebook Messenger, which means it converses with some of the 1.3 billion people who utilize Facebook Messenger every month.
In case you are on Fb, you probably already have a Facebook Messenger strategy. A Facebook Messenger bot is the way you scale that strategy.
As of the 2018 F8 conference, Facebook has 300,000 active Messenger bots. That’s 3 times as many as the year prior.
Why use Facebook Messenger bots for business?
There are two main benefits to utilizing a Facebook Messenger bot.
First, there is a low barrier to entry for both you and your target audience. Facebook Messenger is the third most-used app in the world, used by 68 % of app users.
And it isn’t just for group chats among family and friends. A recent Nielsen survey discovered that people think messaging is the second-best method to talk to a business. People exchange 2 billion messages with businesses over Fb Messenger each month.
Compare this to the rest of the mobile app market, where 71 % of users delete an app within 90 days.
When you want to talk with your customers, building a Facebook Messenger bot is so much cheaper than building a mobile app.
The second benefit is that the field is still wide open. While Facebook has 6 million advertisers, there are only 300k chatbots. That is a lot fewer competitors.
Meanwhile, marketing email click-through rates (3.1 %, on average) have not improved in years, and only 30 % of marketing emails are even opened. Chatbots might help you bypass inbox competition too.
So that’s the context. Let’s break down exactly what a Messenger chatbot might help you do:
1. Reach your audience directly
Headliner Labs discovered that people are 3.5 times more likely to open a Fb Message than a marketing email. And since customers could reply (normally by pressing a CTA button—they do not even need to type), they are likely to move further down your marketing funnel.
What’s more, Fb Messenger has sponsored adverts, which could be sent to anybody who has previously been in touch with your Page. Sure, which means you already have a subscriber list. You could use these adverts in tandem with your chatbot to target high-intent customers.
2. Save money and time on customer care
Customers expect 24/7 availability, however, they hate waiting on hold. They also ask lots of the same questions again and again (and over) again.
In case you are spending lots of time serving people track deliveries, check your return policy, or book appointments, a bit of automation will go a long way. Free up your focus for the tasks Messenger chatbot cannot do.
3. Identify leads
As your bot greets potential customers, it could identify their needs, ask basic questions, (i.e., “What is your budget?”) and immediately direct high-quality results in your human sales team.
4. Handle e-commerce transactions
With the right script, Facebook Messenger bots could do the selling, too. And since everything occurs without leaving the comfort of Fb Messenger, drop-off rates are lower than in a traditional ad-to-webpage pipeline.
Additionally, conversational commerce leaves room for personalized upselling as the bot makes recommendations. Everything from “Seems your flight will not be leaving until 4 PM. Would you like a late check-out?” to “Fries with that?”
5. Re-engage customers
Bots are able to retain info, and you could use these details to go the extra mile.
Rather than paying for a barrage of advertising, a Facebook Messenger bot could reach out personally, providing related content at the right time. Remind a buyer about these cycling shorts still sitting in her cart, or that she sent her mother-in-law birthday flowers this time last year.
How are businesses using Facebook Messenger bots?
Each bot is as unique as the company it serves.
They might help with common customer service questions such as delivery tracking and appointment booking. However, they could additionally drive discovery—suggesting the perfect pair of jeans, booking a direct flight to London, or ordering dinner.
They could upsell by suggesting a t-shirt to go with these jeans or a bottle of kombucha with that dragon bowl.
They could remind you that you forgot to click on buy on these sneakers.
They could track your delivery, and then check in to see how these jeans match once they have arrived.
They could notify you about an offer they think you would like, and they will keep in mind your size or time zone or nut allergy.
They may even tell you a joke when you are at it.
Here are a few best-in-class chatbot examples to inspire you.
Marriott’s concentrate on stellar customer service means that they have been at the forefront of the chatbot boom. They made their first Fb Messenger chatbot in 2016 to help visitors link their Marriott and Starwood rewards accounts after the companies merged.
The bot was so prevalent that Marriott transitioned it into a booking bot: visitors could enter their dates in a city, and receive hotel recommendations. This bot additionally highlights content from Marriott’s magazine, Traveller, integrating helpful local info and news for the guest’s upcoming visit.
Individually, last year Marriott made a careers chatbot to target millennial job seekers. “MC” helps prospective candidates discover the right job in the right city, and simultaneously gives education on Marriott values and history. This makes lots of sense coming from a brand that goals to treat its employees as well as its customers.
The cosmetics retailer’s Reservation Assistant bot is easy but sensible.
Sephora gives free makeovers in their shops, and this bot eliminates 5 steps from the booking process. Implementing it led to an 11 % higher booking rate. (And a lot more folks buying a purple eyeliner they didn’t know they needed till they saw it in the mirror—customers spent an average of $50 once in-store.)
During the 2017 NFL season, Bud Light promoted its team-branded cans by making a chatbot that can order and deliver a case of beer in under an hour on game days.
The genius here’s a blend of personalization (clients get to pick their favorite team), hyper-locality (geo-targeting allowed the bot to choose the best delivery partner for the area), and timeliness (the bot reminded users each game day that it was time to stock the fridge.) This bot saw an 83 % engagement rate.
This bot acts as an extension of Whole Foods’ content marketing technique by acting as a concierge that drives discovery of recipes based on ingredients. The bot may also assist you to narrow down ideas by dish type or dietary restriction.
And yes, you could search by emoji.
UNICEF’s U-report bot is built to gather opinions and data from young people all over the world on issues that matter to them, with the purpose of amplifying their voices to make real policy change. The bot has engaged over 2 million subscribers.
In case you have ever tried to collect feedback from your customers, take note: chatbots do not just chat, they could listen, too.