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The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Messenger Bots


Posted: 14th March 2017
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So you’ve heard the term Facebook Messenger Bots and you’re curious to find out more? We don’t blame you. Set to transform the way you start a dialogue with your audience, you are smart to want to know everything there is to know about this new customer care tool.

What Is A Facebook Messenger Bot?

In simplest terms, a ‘bot’ is a Facebook Page with the ability to send out messages and respond to orders automatically. Bots give businesses the capability to chat with their followers and subscribers in a highly responsive, seamless way – amongst friends and family, and without the need for individual apps.

Taking aspects from AI tools, apps, email, CMS and ecommerce, Facebook Messenger Bots are best described in the industry as ‘conversational interfaces’, developed to simplify complex predefined tasks. Predicted to redefine stand-alone applications altogether, this customer service tool is set to make life a whole lot easier… for everyone!

Functions

Now that we have established what Facebook Messenger Bots is, it is time to take a closer look at some of its key features.

Messenger Codes & Links

Facebook Messenger Bots are all about making conversations faster, smoother and more efficient for our fast-paced 21st century world. Messenger codes are scannable visuals used to quickly direct visitors to a specific bot on Messenger. Each code is unique, just like the traditional QR codes.

Messenger links are shortened, preferably memorable, URL addresses that people can open up to jump straight on in to a conversation with a Facebook Messenger bot. These tools make it easy to transfer existing email subscribers as well entice new audiences. It’s a great way to create a buzz around your business without spending huge sums on advertising, customer service or marketing strategies!

Messenger Greeting

Automated greetings are something we’ve come to expect on social media. The content provided in the initial message is similar to a first impression. The Messenger Greeting can be customised and automatically disappears once someone sends you a message or taps Get Started.

Get Started Button

The Get Started Button is acts as an initial call to action and once pressed signifies an open line for interaction. All visitors’ start here, and each time the button is tapped your bot will receive a signal. This signal can be set up to trigger a welcome message to initiate your first conversation.

Natural Language Assistance

Facebook Messenger Bots are now being trained using something called a wit.ai Bot Engine. The wit.ai Bot Engine works by turning natural language, learned through sample conversations, into structured data that can be used for automatic chats. Natural Language Assistance is what makes Facebook Messenger Bots an effective and authentic way to drive conversations that have context and relevance to your businesses goals.

URL and Callback Buttons

URL and Callback buttons give you a way to direct people to a particular place in a matter of seconds. When the URL Button is tapped, your customer will receive a link of your choosing. When the Callback Button is tapped, your servers are notified and an automatic response will fire out, if you’ve asked it to.

Plugins for websites, email & more

There are plenty of plugins for Facebook Messenger that you can embed in your emails and showcase on your websites to draw your audiences’ attention to this new form of communication. For example, the “Message Us” plugin automatically takes people to Facebook Messenger where a customer can send their first message.

GIFs, Audio and Video Sharing

Facebook Messenger Bots wouldn’t feel complete without being able to use a variety of different mediums. You can share audio files, videos, images, GIFs and a whole lot more on Facebook Messenger Bots. The options are endless to ensure brands can inject some personality into their auto responders, overlap their marketing efforts and increase appeal through aesthetics.

Account Linking

Account Linking is an opt-in experience that gives businesses a way to connect their customers’ accounts with its Messenger accounts, similar to the way ecommerce sites interact with our email accounts. Facebook has created the protocol for businesses wanting to use Account Linking and assures 900 million Facebook Messenger users worldwide that it is secure.

Persistent Menu

Navigation is vital within any app, website or network. Bots have a customisable menu that has the technology to remember text commands, so users no longer have to. Instead, visitors can pick up where they left last. Up to five custom actions will show in the persistent menu, which can be accessed via an icon in the message composer.

Quick Replies

Designed to offer a more guided experience for those interacting with a bot, this feature makes it easier than ever before to have a seamless automated conversation, without undermining expectations of the user. The Quick replies function includes up to ten buttons that immediately align with the most recent message sent by the business.

Conversation Management and Muting

You can’t please everyone all the time, so there may some instances when people may want to mute your bot. Before you get ahead of yourself, don’t think of this as a bad thing – this feature is inherently good! It means that people won’t unfollow or unsubscribe just because you happen to have caught them at a bad time. If you can mute your friends on Facebook, you must be able to mute a bot… right? Thumbs up for consumer control!

Ratings and Reviews

Rating and reviews can be obtained from any customer using your bot. Feedback is currently only shared the bot developers via email or display on a dashboard in developer.facebook.com but like any online arena this is bound to change in a bid to better consumer buying rights and increase transparency, if not this year but most certainly by 2018.

Receipts

Logging receipts, sending order confirmations and summarising purchases is yet another function in Facebook Messenger that makes it easy to provide real customer service. Thanks to the foolproof template, information details about transactions can be shared, previewed and saved, securely.

Daniel James of FurstPerson supports Facebook’s move to support sales using instant messenger and illustrate why Bots are a popular alternative to phone support and email assistance:

Facts

  1. 44% of customers agree that having a chat customer support specialist available during an online purchase is one of the most important features a company can offer
  2. 63% of customers say that live chat increase the odds that they will visit a website or app again
  3. 77% of consumers won’t buy a service or product if they are unable to chat with someone about it first
  4. 79% of customers say they prefer live chat to an email or phone call because it is more responsive
  5. Text messages have an open rate of 98%, with individuals typically taking just 90 seconds to reply
  6. The average email open rate ranges from 28-33%, with recipients taking up to two days to reply.
  7. Live Chat has an impressive average customer satisfaction rate of 92% and leads away from telephone and email
  8. The latest data indicates that messenger apps are now used more than social media networks themselves

Why Do I Need A Facebook Messenger Bot?

The online arena is crowed and social media algorithms change like the wind. All this means that it becoming more and more difficult to reach your audience and most importantly, maintain the relationships you worked oh-so-hard to obtain. No! We hear you shout? Luckily, Facebook Messenger Bots let you communicate with each user privately, ensuring no visitor goes without a warm welcome and a message is ever lost or left unanswered.

The direct line of communication allows for a personable approach yet the ability to manage things properly gives it a professional edge, unlike any other tool currently on the market.

Benefits

In a nutshell:

  • Ability to automate greetings, responses and newsletters
  • Convenient, highly responsive instant method of communication to tackle growing demands
  • New way to attract and maintain customers, live
  • Deeper consumer engagement thanks to subtle CTA’s (ready-built buttons)
  • Supports all different mediums
  • Clear content management system
  • Useful insights and dashboard notifications
  • Far lower acquisition costs for developers
  • Isn’t industry specific
  • Completely customisable
  • Opens up phone lines again!

Reviews

From industry leaders:

“Bots are the new apps” – The New York Times The New York Times

“Messaging is evolving as the next platform.”– Time

“Forget apps, now the bots take over.” – TechCrunch

Are There Any Examples?

You may not know it but ‘Chatbots’ have been around for some time. They first made an appearance on the scene in 2011, presented as artificial business intelligence and message platforms moulded into one, in form of responsive technology.

However, Facebook Messenger Bots are pretty hot off the press, as it was just a matter of months ago that Mark Zuckerberg handed over the tools needed to build interactive experience, ‘or Chatbots’, to 50 million businesses on Messenger.

The New Year has seen an influx of businesses of all sizes and sectors make use of the new technology, which is now available to all, to create unique customer experiences. Below are just a few of our favourite examples:

Company: And Chill

Desktop Link: http://www.andchill.io/

Best for: Netflix recommendations

Company: Poncho the Weathercat

Desktop Link: http://poncho.is/

Best for: Quirky weather forecasts

 

Company: Dominos Pizza

Desktop Link: https://www.dominos.co.uk/easy/

Best for: Ordering in a fast food feast, of course!

 

Have a question we’ve not covered? Jump on over to Facebook and ask us now!

 

Further reading & resources:

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/04/12/facebook-messenger-f8-chat-bots/82919056/

 

http://uk.businessinsider.com/here-are-all-facebook-messenger-bots-you-can-use-2016-4/?r=US&IR=T/#poncho-will-send-you-the-weather-forecast-in-your-area-and-can-give-you-more-information-about-conditions-outside-2

 

http://www.business2community.com/infographics/text-marketing-vs-email-marketing-one-packs-bigger-punch-infographic-01249186


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