Chatbots are immensely valuable for businesses that need improvements in their customer service and user experience. These online bots are supported by a range of different platforms, but Facebook Messenger bots are probably the most popular option that brands are really diving into.
For years, Facebook Messenger bots have been transforming businesses and changing the marketing game, but what exactly are they? Does your business need it?
In this blog post, we’ll cover some basics, including what they are, how they can work for your own business, and what best practices you can follow.
Hold Up — What are Facebook Messenger Bots?
At a basic level, chatbots offer a way for businesses to automate customer service functions such as answering basic questions or completing the early stages of customer requests. It’s a kind of software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate with customers directly. These bots are programmed to formulate responses in a “humanized” way.
Imagine having a chatbot as your Facebook business’ automated virtual agent, kind of like Siri. Instead of speaking to a live service agent, customers can chat with a bot to find effective and accurate answers to business-related questions. A customer simply has to type a message and the chatbot will provide the most relevant answer.
No phone calls, emails, or Google searching needed just for customers to reach out to your business. You might be scared of sending your fans and customers straight to a bot, but rest assured they’re actually enjoying the experience. In fact, research has found that people prefer bots over waiting for a live agent. (Although to be clear, they also want it to be fast and easy to escalate the conversation to a live agent, if necessary.)
You see, Facebook Messenger bots have the potential to completely revolutionize the way we communicate and engage with our followers and customers, especially in terms of customer service, marketing, and sales. Consumers nowadays are driven by added value and positive experiences, and Messenger bots give them exactly that by minimizing the amount of time spent in researching a brand or solving an issue. Moreover, Facebook Messenger currently has 1.2 billion monthly active users.
In other words, the opportunity to connect with people via Facebook Messenger bots is huge. (Huge!)
Why Use Facebook Messenger Bots for Your Business?
So, you now understand that there’s a big opportunity for using Facebook Messenger bots. Why else should you consider them?
To Deliver a Personalized User Experience
No one likes to be treated as just another number. Excellent customer service is only possible if you know your audience very well. It’s crucial that you understand their problems, needs, thoughts, behaviors, and even their deepest fears. Once you take these into consideration, you will then be able to offer personalized content to your audience.
With Facebook Messenger bots, you can configure a series of multiple choices that gradually narrow down to a specific question, or it can pull from the archive your previous interactions. The user will then receive results based on the answers you have provided. Keep in mind that part of personalization is addressing your customer by name, and then moving through the conversation (or sales funnel) with them at their chosen pace.
This is a win-win strategy. The bots will be able to upsell and increase revenue. Plus, you also get to pre-qualify your audience before spending time on getting the details. For example, when you have a service that only requires a specific audience category, you can use Messenger bots to filter the ones you need to specifically cater to and make a sale with them in return.
To Provide 24/7, On-Demand Customer Service
A business ideally needs to have someone in charge of monitoring the chat and responding to messages 24 hours a day. But maintaining a full customer service team 24/7 might not work for a lot of businesses—especially small businesses and start-ups. So, unless you are a large company that can afford to have employees working 24/7, it’s unlikely for you to be there for users at 12 AM.
According to one study, you only have eight seconds to get someone’s attention and make a sale. And in today’s fast-paced world, people need to get the information right away. But if they have to wait, they are more likely to go to a competitor.
The most brilliant use of Facebook Messenger bots is to provide immediate responses in an off-hour or emergency situation, without keeping your customers waiting. Messenger bots can help answer basic questions, direct customers to your website, and even book appointments. Using a chatbot, customers can still gain access to automated answers for frequently asked questions such as products/services, pricing, hours, specials, the address on Google maps, etc. even when your business is closed.
This saves you the cost of having a 24/7 customer service team.
But do take note that Messenger bots are not meant to completely replace human support. They are just meant to help you unload the task of answering repetitive questions from customers.
To Expedite Transactions and Offer Specialized Services
Messenger bots aren’t salespersons, but they are designed to meet that demand and streamline product purchases. With the right programming, the chatbot can deal with e-Commerce transactions to allow users to browse your products, and purchase them directly through Messenger bots. They also allow users to find what they’re looking for and guide them during the transaction process. You can use this opportunity to handle relatively simple orders and boost your sales.
An effective chatbot can also help you in giving specialized offers to your customers. For example, if you run a streaming service and you’re offering a premium membership fee per month, you could announce that offer using your Messenger bot. You can program the bot to answer specific questions to promote and upsell your services and increase your profit.
To Build Brand Awareness
A Messenger bot can support your brand awareness campaign by engaging users into an interactive experience. This is a great way to capture your audience’s interest and find new leads. Neil Patel reports that a Messenger marketing campaign has an 88% open rate and 56% click-through rate as compared to the standard open rate of email marketing which is only 20-30%. (Let’s not forget, though, that email marketing offers many benefits of its own!)
With just a few interactions, you can educate your audience about everything they need to know about your brand at that point in time. A way to do this is by communicating to a specific set of audience members who are not yet familiar with your brand, but who are within the industry of your brand. The chatbot can help you capture their interest within the first seconds of interaction and quickly warm them up into familiar leads. You can then use follow-up questions to move your potential customers down your sales funnel.
There are other ways that you can implement your brand awareness campaign using Facebook Messenger bots. It all boils down to knowing what works best for your brand and your audience.
How are Businesses Using Facebook Messenger Bots?
Let’s run through a few examples together.
The music streaming platform Spotify uses Messenger chatbots to help users find music that matches their style. With a few simple questions, the bot will provide a personalized playlist recommendation based on the user’s mood, genre, or activity.
Users also have the option to share specific songs, albums, or playlists with their friends directly within Messenger. Spotify benefits through these chatbot features greatly. It serves as an organic marketing method while allowing users to get the maximum value out of its platform in a more personalized way.
2. Wall Street Journal
As one of the world’s most recognized daily newspapers, the Wall Street Journal was one of the first to launch a Messenger bot. When a user first interacts with the chatbot, it starts by asking the user to subscribe for daily updates—a very clever strategy indeed.
Users can stay on top of the latest news with customized alerts and SMS subscription. By simply typing in short commands, the chatbot will provide users with several news topics related to finance, business, and economics. Once selected, the bot will link to several recent articles related to the topic.
Users can also customize alerts. For instance, they can get live stock quotes by typing “$” with a ticker symbol. WSJ has shared the instructions on how to interact with the bot to its users on their Facebook page.
The 1-800-Flowers bot is arguably one of the best eCommerce chatbot examples around. Users can place flower delivery orders or even speak to a support agent if needed. They’ve programmed the chatbot to deliver both e-commerce and service. This enables customers to keep track of their orders and monitor the delivery.
Beyond your regular flower delivery shop, 1-800-Flowers has a lot to offer to its customers. The chatbot makes it easier to browse and discover various collections, flower arrangements, and gift ideas depending on the occasion.
So far, 1-800-Flowers has been successful with its chatbot. It’s helped the company increase its total revenue by more than 8%. Chris McCann, the president, revealed that just two months after its launch, 70% of the company’s chatbot orders came from new customers.
4. Burger King
The fast-food chain’s chatbot greets users as soon as they open up Burger King’s Messenger. Users can order food and receive “yes” or “no” options. If users respond affirmatively, the chatbot will then display a carousel version of the menu. Location options also appear for users to find the nearest location where they can retrieve the meal.
They’re still somewhat of a mystery to many. It’s yet another evolution of digital marketing that many of us still need to catch up with. But it’s clear that Facebook Messenger bots could take your brand to new heights.
We know that it’s all a little overwhelming, so just remember to take it one step at a time. Ask yourself these questions to help you start brainstorming:
- What’s a common question we can answer for followers, or a simple problem we can solve?
- What do our followers care about?
- What’s one of our biggest goals with Facebook?
These will guide you in developing your chatbot strategy.
Don’t forget that if you need help managing your social media content, we can help. Sign up for a free trial with e-clincher today.