The concept of a customer service bot is nothing new. Ever since the Internet has been around, people have been seeking ways to automate their customer service and make it easier for people to get the answers they’re looking for. From SmarterChild on AIM to Siri on your HomePod, bots have come a long way—and Facebook Messenger bots are no different. Particularly in today’s times of COVID-19, it’s important you seek out new ways to serve your customers without requiring face-to-face contact or more additional stress than needed.
Bots aren’t always easy to pull off. In order to utilize a bot that successfully serves your audience, you need sophisticated technology, a highly available team, and likely a sizable financial investment. That being said, if you haven’t even considered utilizing Facebook Messenger bots, now’s the time to do so.
First and foremost, think about your ideal audience. Are they on Facebook? Do they spend a lot of time plugged in? If you’re trying to grab the attention of a younger crowd, Facebook may not be where you want to invest your marketing hours or budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t go the bot route; it just means looking somewhere other than Facebook may be beneficial. But if your ideal client is frequently surfing the social media platform, Messenger bots can be a serious game-changer. They allow you to serve your customers in a whole new way—a way that’s more convenient for both of you.
Here’s how Facebook Messenger bots have been changing customer service—and why you should consider giving them a chance, if you haven’t already.
They’re Blurring the Lines Between Social and Professional
When people are on Facebook, they’re likely on for personal reasons—they’re checking out photos of their grandkids, they’re creeping on an old high school flame, or they’re updating their status with some kind of political statement. But they stumbled upon your Facebook page. You want to keep them in that “social” mind-set, not make them immediately shift into “buyer vs. company” mode. Bots make it easy to do that. By programming a bot to reach out immediately to see if they have any questions, although you’re using a robot, you’re reminding customers that your company is full of people who are ready and waiting to assist them. Chat boxes feel familiar and like a form of connection—much more so than calling a customer service line.
They’re Providing a More Personalized Experience
According to a study by Epsilon in 2018, 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalized service experience. Many companies think something like a Facebook Messenger bot will make the customer service experience less personal, but that’s not at all true. It provides service in a space where the person using it already spends time. It allows customers to get help without their having to add on an extra step (like a phone call, an e-mail, or an in-person visit) to their day. And with the high levels of technology bots are able to provide in 2020, your chats can become easily personalized. On a related note, you should always make sure people utilizing your bot have the option to chat with someone directly; not giving people the choice of chatting with an actual human can be incredibly frustrating for customers.
They’re Giving Your Customer Service Agents More Time
Particularly now, as we sit in the throes of a worldwide pandemic, your customer service agents are likely stressed. You want to give them as much flexibility as possible while ensuring they’re serving your customers at the world-class level you’ve always provided. Chat bots allow basic and semibasic questions to be answered automatically, freeing up your customer service phone lines and in-boxes. This allows agents to give more time to fewer problems—quality over quantity. That way, customers with difficult questions or sticky situations can get the time they deserve, your agents won’t feel completely overworked or like they need to hurry people off the phone, and customers with simpler questions can be helped quicker.
They’re Helping You Avoid Spam Lists
Look at your e-mail open rates. They probably seem pretty low to you, and it’s likely that a high number of your promotional e-mails are going straight to junk mail folders. While e-mail marketing is still incredibly important, a Facebook Messenger bot is much more likely to land you in your customers’ direct eyesight. You can share things like coupon codes or special promotions without having to hope your message winds up in people’s “main” in-box.
They’re Focusing on Mobile
More and more people are browsing via mobile devices, and Facebook Messenger bots serve as a perfect complement to this. Handy notifications or invitations for questions being delivered right to someone’s phone can mean the difference between a browser and a buyer. You’re reaching your audience directly and in a place where they already spend a lot of time: their phone.
They’re Playing an Open Field
Facebook advertising has been booming for years, but although Facebook Messenger bots are growing, as well, they still lag in comparison. That means your field is much wider, and your marketing efforts via bot will stick out more than an advertisement that’s easy to scroll by. In many ways, Facebook Messenger bots are still the Wild West of marketing—there are few rules but lots of opportunities.
Facebook Messenger bots have changed customer service and allowed you to assist your customers in a way that’s simple and easy. Customer service can feel like it’s constantly changing: The rise of artificial intelligence and new technology will continue to reshape the landscape for years to come. It’s important to consider new tactics and try new things to make sure you’re able to put your best foot forward when it comes to serving your client base. But the basics of customer service—listening to your customers, caring about their time, and providing them with worthwhile information—will never go out of style.