Keeping up with all things social media can be a challenge especially since social media networks are constantly increasing their offerings, modifying technologies, and forging new ground. Nowhere is this more evident than the ever-evolving world of ChatBots.
What is a ChatBot?
What is a Chatbot you say? A ChatBot is a software that automates communication without the use of an app or website.
Perhaps the best way to explain the appeal of ChatBots is through the words of Mark Zuckerberg, "No one wants to have to install a new app for every business or service they want to interact with.” Consumers are becoming annoyed with needing to download an overabundance of apps. Facebook believes that Messenger ChatBots can solve this problem.
Facebook Messenger ChatBots:
The intent of incorporating ChatBots into Facebook Messenger is to make life easier for users. Instead of downloading an app to view the daily weather report, just ask Poncho the Weather Cat to automatically send you the weather update straight to your Messenger inbox every morning. Better yet, are you interested in buying a concert ticket for tonight's big show? Instead of googling the band and being redirected to a ticket buying site where you then have to decide ticket quantities, you could just tell your ChatBot, “Please purchase two tickets to tonight’s Zac Brown Band Show in Denver, Colorado.” The ChatBot purchases the best tickets with the user's saved credit card information and sends them seamlessly via a text message.
How do you use a ChatBot?
To begin a conversation with a ChatBot, users can simply send a text message to a specific number, kickoff a Skype call, or find the ChatBot on Facebook. While the process to begin an interaction with a ChatBot is surprisingly easy, there is widespread confusion among the consumer market on how ChatBots can be helpful.
Businesses are finding ChatBots useful to improve customer service, sales and also increase brand awareness. Sephora has created a Messenger ChatBot called “Color Match” that assists customers with finding their perfect shade of lipstick based on matching the photo they upload. Disney used a Messenger ChatBot to build up excitement for their release of Zootopia. Disney did this by creating a Chatbot for Officer Judy Hopps that users could communicate with and ask for help while solving a crime game.
Group ChatBots and the Bot Discovery Tab
In the beginning of Messenger ChatBots, users were held back by only being able to message the ChatBots directly. Now, numerous companies have created ChatBots that are compatible with Facebook Group chats. This means that your family messenger group chat can be brought to life through the use of ChatBot extensions created by companies such as Spotify, Kayak, The Wall Street Journal and the Food Network.
By researching how to effectively use a ChatBot in a group message, I was able to create a collaborative Spotify playlist with my boyfriend, and also send a poll to my friends on possible travel dates and destinations via KAYAK’s ChatBot. To use the Messenger Group ChatBots, users just need to click the blue plus sign located to the left of their text box. This will pull up all recommended ChatBot extensions and allow the user to browse others.
Of course, not all businesses should use Facebook Messenger Chatbots, but if your customers are on Facebook (and who isn’t), you want to communicate with customers efficiently, and you have the team to support these communications to ensure a strong customer experience, Chatbots could very well be the answer.