‘Live chat drives me nuts’
‘I can’t stand being on a hold’
‘If I have to call this 1–800 number one more time…’
I think we’ve all been there. Disputing a bill, getting a quote, finding out more information. We have all dealt with a customer service department before.
Live chat, call centers, 1–800 numbers, you name it. This is how we communicate when there’s something we need to talk to a business about. Always on their time, their terms.
That’s all about to change. In fact, it’s already happened.
Say hello to Facebook Messenger Chatbots.
Imagine you, the customer, had complete control of the customer service experience from beginning to end. You could stop and start at any time, request a representative to call you and be able to do it all without dialing a single number. Heck, you could even do it at 30,000 feet connected to your flight’s wifi.
The landscape for Business-to-Consumer interaction has changed via Chatbots and is only going to continue to improve. Customers don’t want to give up their days by interacting with a live chat option on a company’s website. They certainly don’t want to be put on hold with no timetable for connecting to a live customer service representative either.
Facebook Messenger is a platform with 1.3 Billion Monthly Active users and growing. Creating a Chatbot for your business on a platform that allows you to communicate with your audience where they already exist is imperative.
Just recently, the top 4 messaging apps surpassed the top 4 social apps in monthly active users. That represents a huge shift in where your audience is hanging out and where they can be reached.
Next to Facebook Messenger, there are a lot of Chatbot platforms out there, KIK, Slack and Telegram, just to name a few, that have enabled brands to build Chatbots on their platform.
From a brand/business perspective, a Messenger Chatbot is a no-brainer. Customer service and customer retention play at the pinnacle of every businesses priorities. Solving issues through an automated Chatbot not only works hand-in-hand with your live staff, but it also relieves them from mundane tasks a Chatbot can do for them. This could be pulling a customer’s account number, records or their name and address from their Chatbot database. A Chatbot also creates a consistent brand identity and voice when communicating with your customers, something your live agents can’t do. This is key when it comes to digital customer service.
From a customer standpoint, Chatbots are the solution to giving them control of the entire experience. The options, speed, and information are all in the customer’s hands. They control the interaction from beginning to end, and the best part, they get their TIME back. If at any point you wish to leave and come back to the Chatbot, you can pick your conversation up right where you left off. That’s a big step up from getting disconnected from Bob the customer service rep after you had been waiting in queue for 45 mins and no one calls you back.
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop, so will the capabilities of these Chatbots. Right now the ability to engage in Natural Language Processing (NLP) which would enable automated Chatbots to understand human messages more easily, is limited.
The future of Chatbots is to be able to personalize each customer’s experience at scale, which will allow AI to quickly pull previous data from the platform and address their questions and concerns instantly.
There are many big brands that are already using Chatbots to enhance their customer’s experience. Kayak, 1–800 Flowers, and Sephora are perfect examples of brands that have been early adopters in this space and have seen an uptick in sales, engagement and positive customer service experiences from their Chatbot.
Just under a year ago, Facebook Messenger was just a place where you could strictly interact with friends and family. Today you can open a conversation with a Chatbot, and by the end, have a flight booked, resolve a dispute, and send flowers to your mom.
The benefits to both consumers and businesses are tremendous, and Chatbots are continuing to having a much bigger role in our day-to-day lives. The data and capabilities appear to be there, and they are ever evolving. There’s no reason to believe that you won’t have a Chatbot managing many of your daily tasks and online interactions in the future.
Remember this number, 1.3 Billion. It’s the Monthly Active Users on Facebook Messenger, and it’s growing at a rapid pace. As a business, you need to ask yourself these questions and see if a Chatbot is a good fit for your business and customer service goals. (Hint: They’re rhetorical) Do you want your online presence to be in a place where the majority of your customers already exist? Do you want a streamlined customer service experience and a consistent brand identity that your customers interact with? Would you like to provide instantaneous support and be available long after you and your staff go home?
If you answered yes, now is probably the time to get a Chatbot.