Boss Lady

How Facebook chatbots can make your life easier


Everybody loves chat. Along with ‘story,’ it’s one of those warm, friendly words that developers have got hold of and are showing no signs of letting go. No app or social media platform is complete without both chat and story functionality; heck, isn’t it just like being around the campfire with your besties?

Of course, the dark truth that this trendy nomenclature hides is that people like people. We have certain age-old ways of communicating and connecting which are evolving through electronic media. We understand concepts better if they’re presented as a narrative. And the rhythm and give-and-take of a conversation is what keeps us engaged.

From a customer service point of view, this is frustrating. People, huh? More and more businesses are removing email support from their websites, because it is time-consuming and inefficient to get stuck into an open-ended back-and-forth interaction, especially when there is no impetus for the customer to make each reply within any particular time frame. In short, email support drags on and on.

Phone calls are less than ideal, too. They’re time-consuming, especially if the business end is just providing information that’s readily available on their website (and which the customer didn’t seek or didn’t find due to it not being presented as a story or a chat). And you don’t have the time to call all of your customers individually when you have a new offer on, or a delay in service of which they should be advised, or you’d like some feedback on what you do.

Enter the chatbot. The chatbot is friendly enough to chat, but not human enough to feel intrusive. She has all the information at her virtual fingertips, and she can – Scarlett Johansson-like – talk to multiple customers at once, without demanding a wage. She may even display more initiative than some of your regular staff.

And now the chatbot is on Facebook Messenger. With over a billion users potentially contacting you through this medium, it’s about time. Facebook Pages are rated on the speed at which their owners respond to enquiries. With a Facebook Messenger chatbot, you don’t need to delay at all – even if your human workforce is fast asleep.

Your chatbot will respond to enquiries about opening times or stock availability, and even product details such as the material of clothing that you sell or the battery life of your devices. She can respond to customers’ queries about transactions or alert them to problems that have arisen.

And she can offer them deals (with your permission!) based on the data that you have on each customer group. This can be a particularly effective way of making sales, since around half of all customers reckon they’ve made an impulse buy in response to personalized offers.

So how do you go about acquiring this dream employee who’s gonna top your sales charts, tick your ‘buzzwords’ list, and only ever answer back with words that you’ve put in her mouth? Well, naturally, as useful a tool as this requires a degree of work on your part if it is to function as you want. If you have a dedicated tech person or marketing guru who knows their way around this sort of thing, then you will want to work closely with them to develop your bot.

But if yours is just a small business and ‘chatbot training’ falls in your to-do tray by default, there’s no need to panic. Online tools including Chatfuel, Botsify, and Sequel all empower you to design and unleash your chatbot with only minimal programming know-how. It just takes a degree of logic and an understanding of what you really want from your virtual sales assistant.

To get a better idea of what’s possible and how to go about it, try working through this new Facebook chatbot guide from Headway Capital. More chat has got to be a good thing, right?

About John Cole

John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.

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