Facebook now allows businesses to generate automated answers, guidances and conversation through chatbots. Facebook was in the need to keep up with it’s biggest competitor with messenger app like Telegram, Line and Kik who all have the same system up and running already. Messenger app has more than 900 million user reach so launching your business in their attractive and healthy platform is the best way to go. And now with chatbots, it’s getting only better and better.
Facebook announced in F8 conference that they have launched a few beta businesses who can use their new bot system, like 1-800-Flowers and CNN where you can make your order or ask for guidance from bot.
The new messenger bots can send more than only text messages, they can answer with structured text that also includes calls, images and links for specific actions. Basically you should be able to make a purchase or reservation without even talking to a real human representative. Altough messenger is not compatible with payment options at the moment, but surely in the future you should be able to pay for services over messenger app also.
Chatbots taking over
Chatbots have been around a long time already, but is quite new thing in e-commerce or social accounts. Chatbots is the new boom like 3D printing was few years back. The technology and the need for chatbots are here, because more and more people are using online customer service. Using chatbots is win-win for owners and customers. Customers get faster, better response even on a rush hour and owners don’t have to keep call centers up and running.
Now when more and more platforms start allowing and introducing chatbots they might change the way businesses sell products and services and stay connected to their customers. For example if you browse on a page and look for certain product or service and take you time choosing one or another, chatbot can calculate your preferences and needs by your search history etc. and can give you personal suggestions in a heartbeat (the human sense).
Facebook has been developing chatbots for messenger app only, but since they bought Whatsapp it’s only a matter of time when chatbots are introduced to Whatsapp also. Of course it means it have to succeed in messenger first.
Lastly – Money matter. Chatbots aren’t for free, Facebook plans to earn money over using chatbots. We are not quite sure about the pricing, but one thing is for sure, it’s not totally free. One example is that businesses can buy “Sponsored messages” which is sent to customer who started talking to chatbots. Also it should be possible to buy “Click to message” news feed advertisement that starts a conversation with chatbot.