Facebook is transforming the way companies are able to interact with consumers.
Since April 2016, Facebook Messenger has offered a bot platform. The platform not only allows bots on it, but Facebook is enabling anyone to use their Application Programming Interface to build their very own, unique chatbot that can interact with Facebook Messenger users.
And companies and individuals have quickly jumped on the bot-wagon.
Are Chatbots Useful?
For many years, social media was seen as a way for consumers to have a public discourse with the brands they used.
Individuals would write public posts on Facebook and the company would publicly respond.
However, recently this trend has changed.
The use of public messages is rapidly decreasing and the role of private messages is increasing—people and companies prefer to have their conversations in private. For example, in a typical quarter in 2016, the KLM airline had 5,000 customer care wall posts and 35,000 customer care private messages.
The problem, however, with all of these customer care interactions is the time it takes to respond and attend to every customer complaint, question, issue, or concern.
It usually takes 10 hours for the average customer to hear back from a company they have sent a private message to. And for most companies, it is the social media, customer care, or digital marketing team who are responsible for responding to these messages.
This combination of excessive customer wait time and significant time being spent by paid staff responding to these messages is expensive.
And this is where the usefulness of AI comes in.
A Facebook chatbot has the ability to respond to customers immediately, making customers happy.
Additionally, though, this frees up the time of the social media, customer care, and digital marketing teams to concentrate on more complex and profit-creating tasks.
For Aeromexico, a chatbot has the ability to answer about 80% of the questions that customers have and they are able to reduce customer resolution time from 16 minutes to two minutes.
And understanding these statistics is key to using chatbots successfully.
Yes, chatbots can answer questions and they can provide faster feedback to customers. However, they can not be the star of the show. They are not able to answer all customer queries.
Chatbots are an efficient and effective partner for customer service and marketing—not a replacement.
2017 has been the year of AI for Wells Fargo.
Earlier this year, they developed a team that is dedicated to creating AI technology for the bank. Their goal with the technology is to improve the customer experience by making tasks and finding out answers to questions as simple as possible.
One method that the AI team is using is a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
They are currently training the bot to provide users answers when it comes to questions like how much money is in their account or where the nearest Wells Fargo ATM is. Currently, the bot is being tested through employee use, but in the coming months it will slowly be released to more and more customers.
But Wells Fargo is not the only financial institution that is harnessing the power of chatbots.
Capital One is another U.S. bank that has been using its chatbot, Eno, to answer similar questions.
TransferWise, a startup specializing in money transfers, recently launched its chatbot to help individuals send money overseas through Facebook Messenger.
Financial institutions around the globe are seeing the advantages of using chatbots: better customer service and reduced costs on outsourced or in-house call centers—creating loyalty and savings with a single solution.
Golden State Warriors
The applicability of chatbots on Facebook Messenger has moved beyond just the financial world. Sports teams like the Golden State Warriors are embracing the new technology.
The team has had a chatbot made that provides fans, both at the arena and watching at home, with a guided experience.
For fans in the stadium, the bot can help them with parking and traffic updates, information on where the nearest concessions stands are, and more.
For those watching at home, the bot is meant to provide them with ticket and merchandise purchasing options, player statistics, live news updates, and more.
The Golden State Warriors see this Facebook Messenger bot as a way to move towards a more technologically advanced experience for fans. They were already among the first to provide 360-degree and virtual reality game viewing options, and they are planning on moving to a much more technologically advanced arena in the coming years.
This chatbot simply gives fans another way to more intimately integrate the Golden State Warriors, and their brand, into their lives.
British Vogue is among a few news providers that have begun to utilize chatbots through Facebook Messenger.
The Sun has been using it for several months now, with pretty serious success–about half of the individuals they interact with visit their website.
The Guardian has also been using Facebook’s chatbot platform to informally chat with their audience.
British Vogue, however, seems to be diving a little deeper. They want to create a more personalized experience for their consumers.
The online and print magazine has developed a chatbot that allows individuals on Facebook Messenger to design the type of fashion news that they want to receive.
This includes the type of content they want to receive, the designers and brands they want to hear about, the products they care about, and how often they want to get news from British Vogue. The magazine hopes that this new customizable way of getting news will enable them to more promptly and directly speak to their audience.
When you look at the myriad of businesses and the long list of statistics, the writing on the wall can not be any clearer – chatbots are working.
They are not perfect and cannot replace a workforce, but they can take an enormous load off of customer service and present a resource that the workforce can utilize so that the business is bettered.
Do you use chatbots in your marketing strategy?