What is a messenger chatbot?

According to a recent study, a third of the 30 DAX companies already use chatbots as a digital touchpoint in customer communication. As Cancom reports, widespread use in Germany is still a dream of the future. But digital contacts in Germany are also becoming increasingly interesting for companies, especially since they can already prove useful today.

The rumors are bubbling: chatbots will replace mobile apps. Chatbots will replace email marketing. Chatbots will make account managers unnecessary. Chatbots will save you costs and increase your sales. And all of that while you are snooting blissfully.

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The hype around chatbots in general and Facebook messenger bots in particular is great. It is no surprise that, according to an Oracle survey, 80 percent of all companies want to make a chatbot available by 2020.

But can such bots actually hold what they promise? It’s probably too early for a definite answer. Until then, we may have to content ourselves with a few real-world examples and best practices that give you a solid foundation in this new situation.

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What are Facebook messenger bots (aka Facebook chatbots)?

Essentially, a chatbot is an automated instant messaging software that uses artificial intelligence to talk to real people.

The bots are programmed to understand questions, provide answers, and perform tasks. From a customer’s point of view, they are a pleasing and always available time savings. Instead of opening (or even downloading) an app, making a phone call (annoying!) to start a search or upload a website, your customer can simply type in a message as if they were writing to a friend.

Chatbots have been around for decades in various variants. Today they play around websites, apps, social media, and so on.

A Facebook messenger bot is a chatbot in Facebook Messenger. That means he has conversations with some of the 1.3 billion people who use Facebook Messenger every month.

If you are represented on Facebook, you’ve probably already worked out a Facebook Messenger strategy. With a Facebook Messenger bot, you can scale this strategy.

At the time of the 2018 F8 conference, Facebook had 300,000 active messenger bots. That’s three times as many as the year before.

Why you should use Facebook messenger bots for business

The use of Facebook Messenger bots offers you two major advantages.

On the one hand, the barrier to entry is low for you and your target group. Facebook Messenger is the third most used app in the world and is supported by 68 percent of all app users used.

It’s not just for group chats with friends and family. As a recent Nielsen survey found, instant messaging (IM) is ranked 2nd among most people when it comes to communicating with a company. Users exchange two billion IM messages with companies a month via Facebook Messenger.

Compared to the rest of the mobile app market, where 71 percent of all users delete an app within 90 days.

If you want to communicate with your customers, a Facebook Messenger bot comes you much cheaper than developing a mobile app.

The second advantage is that the door and door are still open here. There are already six million advertisers on Facebook, but only 300,000 chatbots — so much less competition.

So much for the bigger contexts. Now we want to break down more precisely, with a messenger chatbot can help:

1. Reach your target group directly

According to Headliner Labs, people are likely to open a Facebook message 3.5 times as high as a marketing email. Because customers can also respond (usually by simply tapping/clicking a call-to-action button — they even save typing), they’ll probably get deeper into your marketing funnel as well.

On Top, Facebook Messenger offers sponsored ads that can be sent to anyone who has ever had contact with your page before. This means that you already have a subscriber list. You can use these ads in combination with your chatbot to target customers willing to buy.

2. Save time and money in customer service

Your customers expect you to be available every day and around the clock — and they don’t like to hang in a queue. They also ask the same questions over and over again.

If you spend a lot of time helping people track a shipment, telling them about your return policy, or making appointments with you, a little bit of automation can bring huge benefits. And you can focus on the tasks that a messenger chatbot can’t do for you.

3. Recognize qualified prospects.

Your bot can find out a lot about their needs when you greet potential customers, a few basic questions (e.g.: “How much do you want to spend? “) and forward qualified leads directly to your sales team.

4. Handle e-commerce transactions.

Bots also take care of sales with the right script. And since all this happens without a customer having the convenience of Facebook the abandonment rates are much lower than in a traditional ad to website pipeline.

Dialogue-oriented sales also provides room for personalized upselling by the bot making suggestions. That’s enough of “Your flight is not until 4pm. Would you like to check out of your hotel room later? “up to “fries too?

5. Get in touch with the customer again.

Bots can also remember information — and you can use the stored details to take the decisive step further.

A chatbot also saves you from expensive advertising bombardment. A Facebook Messenger bot can contact customers in person and offer them relevant content at the right time. Remind a customer of the cycling shorts that are still in her shopping cart—or sending flowers to her mother-in-law for her birthday at the same time a year ago has.

How do companies use Facebook messenger bots?

Each bot is as unique as the company it works for.

Bots can help answer customer inquiries, such as tracking and scheduling appointments. They can also encourage the discovery of products and offers, for example, by suggesting the perfect jeans, booking a direct flight to London, or ordering dinner.

They can upsell by showing a t-shirt that matches said jeans or offering a bottle of kombucha to the dragon bowl dish you ordered.

You can remind you that your new trainers are still in the shopping basket and you should click “buy”.

You can track your shipments and ask you how the pants fit after the jeans arrive.

They can let you know about an offer that might give you and you always remember your dress size, time zone and peanut allergy.

And they might even tell you a joke in between.

Get inspired by the following best-in-class chatbots.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott is all about first-class customer service. This is why the hotel chain was among the first to use this technology when it comes to chatbots. The Marriott started in 2016 with its Facebook Messenger chatbot, which was supposed to help guests merge their Marriott and Starwoods Rewards accounts after the merger of companies.

The bot was so popular that the Marriott later converted it into a booking bot. Guests can enter when they are in a particular city and then receive hotel suggestions. The bot also presents content from Marriott magazine Traveller and integrates useful local Information and news so that the guest can prepare for their upcoming visit.

Regardless of this, Marriott created a career chatbot last year that addresses job seekers from the millennials generation. “MC” helps potential applicants find the right job in the right city while providing information about Marriott’s values and history. It makes sense for a brand whose stated goal is to treat its employees as well as its customers.

Sephora

The cosmetic retail chain’s reservation wizard is simple but ingenious.

Sephora offers a free cosmetic treatment in its stores, and the bot saves customers five whole steps in the booking process. Since its introduction, the booking rate has risen by eleven percent. (And many customers buy a purple eyeliner from which they didn’t know they needed it before — until they saw him in the mirror. On average, they spend $50 per visit to a Sephora store.)

Bud Light

During the American League NFL 2017 football season, Bud Light advertised his beer cans with various team portraits and logos via a chatbot that could order a box of beer on matchdays and had it delivered within an hour.

The highlight: the mix of personalization (fans can choose beer cans with their favorite team), hyperlocalization (the bot chose the best delivery partner for each area using geotargeting) and topicality (the bot reminded users to refill their fridge every game day). The engagement rate for this bot was 83 percent.

Whole Foods

This company’s bot acts as an extended arm of Whole Foods content marketing strategy by suggesting recipes based on ingredients to customers. He can also narrow down recipe ideas according to the type of dish or specific dietary requirements.

And emojis can also be used to search!

UNICEF

UNICEF’s U-Report bot was set up to collect data and opinions from young people from all over the world on topics that are important to those affected. The goal: to strengthen these opinions in order to bring about real changes of course in politics. The bot has already interacted with more than two million subscribers.

If you’ve ever tried to get feedback from your customers, remember one thing: chatbots can not only chat but also listen.

Tools for creating Facebook Messenger bots

Did these examples motivate you to build your own chatbot? Then take a look at the solutions below — from the simplest to the professional option.

ManyChat

The ManyChat interface is one of the most accessible on the market. It’s best for creating simple bots — with more complex conversations, managing messages can be cumbersome.

Positive: ManyChat offers many tools to help you promote your bot and perform user analysis. For starters, ManyChat is free, but if you have a certain number of subscribers, you’ll need to switch to a paid pro account.

Chatfuel

The largest self-service platform for creating Facebook Messenger bots has an impressive list of customers, from TechCrunch to Netflix to Cincinnati Bengals.

Chatfuel has an intuitive visual interface for people without programming experience. However, developers may also be happy about the editable front-end and customization options. you can build a free bot with it, but many of the more complex (and interesting) tools are only available with a Chatfuel Pro account.

Conversable

Conversable is the software as a service (SaaS) platform for larger companies that builds your bot together with you. The provider works with several Fortune 500 companies and has created the bots for Whole Foods, Pizza Hut, 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts, among others. The service goes beyond Facebook Messenger and ensures that your conversations take place across all channels — including voice-based ones like OnStar.

Facebook messenger for developers

If you are confident in programming your own messenger bot, Facebook provides you with a variety of resources. The social media network is constantly working with its developer community to develop new ideas that Improve user experience. Sephora and Nike, for example, are currently testing augmented reality camera effects for their customers.

Facebook Messenger Bots Best Practices

And now a few hard-worked tips from the experts — for anyone ready to create their own Facebook Messenger bot.

Set your expectations.

There’s no bot that can do it all — not yet. When you create your first campaign, you set a goal or use case for your bot. The most common guidelines here include customer service, lead identification, product advertising or online product search.

Keep the first tasks as simple as possible and don’t do too much.

Set your customers’ expectations.

By the way, this rule also applies on the other side: in many cases, your bot has to teach the user how he should handle him. People who think a bit too utopian here and expect your appointment to pass the Turing test might be disappointed — as well as people who have no idea what a bot is.

So clearly define the role of the chatbot in its initial interactions so that no one expects too much or too little. Then program your bot so that it takes the lead as part of the interactions and guides the user through the experience.

Invite for personalization.

Segmenting your customer base and better information about your customers increases engagement. Bots that invite a user to share their preferences and narrow down search options achieve much higher click-through rates. So build a bot that people really want to interact with.

Get down to business.

Bots are something relatively new — but they should ultimately save users time. According to Snaps Jonathan Schriftman (who programmed the bots for Bud Light, Gatorade Edge, and others), user numbers fall significantly when a bot needs more than five clicks to the point of sale.

Always take care of human reserve personnel.

The success of a bot depends on recognizing when a human should intervene. Automated conversations are incredibly fast and appealing, but cannot replace contact with a person.

The customer should therefore be able to connect with a person at any time of the conversation.

Be transparent.

One of the most attractive features of a bot is its ability to store information and retrieve it at the right time (after all, everyone wants to feel like a regular customer). However, you should see the users inform you honestly about data storage from the outset. What data is stored? How are they used? How can someone reject the storage?

Give users control over their personal data.

Keep learning.

Once your bot is ready, integrate it into your marketing calendar and comprehensive Facebook strategy. Your Facebook Messenger bot is not yet a substitute for email, account manager, or app, but has features of all three — which means you need to consider it unique.

As you test the bot’s strengths and test its performance, you should always watch how chatbots evolve on the market. After all, we’re talking about artificial intelligence here. And we only know the tip of the iceberg today.

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