Chatbots on Facebook: what's all the fuss about?

Customer Support on Social Media - are chatbots on Facebook the right way to go?

Over the last years companies like Amazon, Netflix and Facebook have revolutionised traditional communication habits. This has naturally changed customers' needs, wants and expectations also regarding customer support. Customers now have less desire to self service by studying FAQ’s or searching for information on a company’s website and want to have these provided to them instantly. This has lead to an increase in real-time engagement between customers and companies via Facebook Messenger.


Customers are now looking for alternative ways to consume information quickly, easily and on demand.

Facebook Messenger is the perfect tool for that, however, this increases customer expectations. The average customer support request is said to take up to 15 hours, whereas on social media customers expect their request to be solved within one hour. This change in customers’ expectations requires companies to adapt processes and reallocate resources. Which begs the question: how will companies cope with this growing demand for instant customer support? The answer is chatbots!


Chatbots are now a go to tool companies are adopting via the Messenger app to enable the omnichannel support customers expect from them. Selected chatbot providers can handle a large portion of customer requests without having to introduce an actual human to the conversation, completely alleviating the pressures derived from the increased activity. Because of this, omnichannel support is not only made possible, but it's also beneficial to companies who adopt it.

How does this work in practice?


Facebook has made this relatively easy. The social media giant who pioneered chatbot-integration, offers chatbots of all shapes and sizes. Business customers have the option to easily create an auto-reply chatbot without any technical skills. In addition, Facebook  offers different UI components that suit almost any kind of businesses with functionalities such as in-messenger payments, which is ideal for small businesses. However, if a company needs more complex functionalities such as a dynamic chatbot or a CRM system integration, the basic Facebook bot would not suffice and a more sophisticated chatbot provider is needed.


What if I want to use another chatbot solution with Facebook?


Integrating a third party chatbot solution with Facebook is seamless. Using Facebook's expert developer center it is both quick and easy to get started. Besides this, Facebook has ensured that a company's inbox doesn't accumulate all the interactions that the chatbot is having with the user, but instead converts these into follow up actions in a company’s CRM system. This prevents companies' Facebook inboxes from overcrowding with already resolved customer conversations.


So what does the future hold for chatbots on Facebook's Messenger app?


Currently there are upwards of 300,000 active chatbots on the Messenger app. This figure will only grow over the next years as more companies will try to meet their customers' changing expectations. According to Gartner by 2020 almost 85% of engagement between customers and businesses will be done without any human interaction. What's imperative to this being a successful transition is companies' ability to use the solutions available to them in the best way and make a fundamental change in their strategy.



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