Shrewd entrepreneurs have been using Facebook Ads to market their businesses since it started. Now their attention is turning to Facebook Messenger. Messenger allows you to deploy a Facebook chatbot (or Messenger bot). In this article we are going to discuss why you need to do that if you want to help your business grow.

The Facebook Messenger app has been downloaded over a billion times. Small wonder that businesses are looking at ways to automate Messenger and reach a huge market. Introducing Facebook Messenger chatbots may help business owners realize their dreams sooner than they expected.

Big companies can now meet their clients where they are spending their time, on the messaging apps. A huge number of chatbots are being developed throughout different industries from banking to e-commerce.

What is a chatbot?

Facebook messenger chatbot

A chatbot, or bot, is a piece of software.

It can automate messaging by accessing a file or relational database and using Artificial Intelligence (AI). chatbots can recognize keywords and phrases which trigger a desired response. A well-programmed bot can learn to recognize the spoken word. This allows visitors to engage in a dialogue as if talking to the business owner or receptionist.

The bot can deliver multiple messages similar to a real conversation, and ask questions that walk users step by step to the desired outcome.

Chatbot as a 24/7 assistant

Providing a chatbot service is especially useful for business owners who have limited staff and time. It means that a business can respond to customer inquiries on a 24/7 basis. It allows you to provide customer service, deliver content, gain customers, and much more, in a seamless, automated way.

Two types of chatbots

A. Searches for information from a database

For example, a coffee shop chatbot helps customers buy their coffee. It does not need artificial intelligence. The chatbot gives the customer a choice; Cappuccino, Latte, Mocha—the list includes the variations, for example, large, small, decaffeinated, etc., from an information database.

Depending on the choice, the price is displayed along with payment type and table number. The chatbot may have access to other information, for instance, a previously registered credit card. Job done!

A chatbot streamlines the sales process, the robot searches for information that is pre-registered.

B. Uses artificial intelligence

The second type of chatbot is the one that uses artificial intelligence. Two technologies are merging to aid the development of chatbots. They are the advancements in conversational user interfaces (UIs) and artificial intelligence (AI). This means that users can experience a two-way conversation where one participant is a robot!

Machine learning is at the heart of AI and natural-language processing (NLP). This means that the Bot machine recognizes new patterns in the data and stores the pattern. While NLP can pick up speech rhythms and imitate human conversation.

Chatbots vs. email

Why should you use chatbots in your business?

Even though email marketing is still the best way to reach your audience, people are increasingly using messaging applications.

Here are some differences in using chatbot and email:

  • Chatbot is a new thing, and it delivers an instant message.
  • There is less competition in your Messenger feed compared to your email inbox.
  • A message doesn’t interrupt or stay there cluttering your inbox.
  • It delivers the right message at the right time for those who want it.

Read this article to learn more about chatbots vs. email marketing.

Chatbots can add value in the following areas

Customer service

Facebook messenger bots for customer service

Many small businesses want to offer an excellent customer service. Many say it is the most important element for their long-term sustainability. This isn’t just a challenge for small businesses. Think about airlines, banks or phone companies. When customers feel that their needs are being ignored they will switch their loyalties.

With a chatbot, people feel they are talking directly to you and have your attention. When you set up your bot messages, you can ask questions and word responses to appear to users as if you are sitting at your keyboard responding to them directly.

The bot bases the message response on the answers the visitors provide or selections they choose. This makes the entire experience feel personal. The bot helps to build trust with customers as it guides them through a more engaging sales funnel.

It is important for your customer to know they are dealing with a bot. Deceive no one. You can give your bot a name and an image. A friendly bot can provide an excellent user experience.

Chatbots working through messenger services will soon be the preferred way to contact customers. A message on a mobile phone is ‘up close and personal.’ It gets the attention of the customer. Using Facebook Messenger bots is a great way to get and keep your prospect’s attention and turn those prospects into buyers.

Sales and operations

Messenger bots allow you to engage your audience as if you were there with them. You may be hundreds of miles away from your computer. Automatically push new content to your followers by notifying them when you publish new content. If you own a brick and mortar business, you can broadcast special offers to local customers.

Travel agencies can use bots to help customers; book flights, car-hire and hotel reservations. News stations can use bots to send the latest news and weather reports. Retail stores can use bots to take orders, track shipping, handle general customer support, and more.

Automate purchasing and order tracking services. Customers can place orders from food to clothing, or anything in between, automatically. They can receive automated updates about shipping delays, delivery, and more.

Automatically deliver content with a chatbot. Giving away something for free? Set up a messenger bot to send the thank-you message with a download link to the content. And set up questions before delivery, so you can keep your prospect in the sales funnel for longer.

You can book appointments using a chatbot. From Uber pickup to a message, your followers can book appointments with you automatically.

These are just a few of the many ways in which Facebook Messenger bots can reduce your workload and deliver automated, instant responses to your prospects and customers.

Answer an FAQ

Facebook chatbots

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) are easy to handle by the Messenger bot. Business questions are more interested in an outcome than a personal touch. Questions about refunds and terms of use, inquiries about opening times, and more, are answered automatically. If set up properly, these basic support questions can automatically transfer more important issues to a customer support agent.

Build a list to grow an audience

When someone interacts with your Facebook Messenger bot, it automatically adds them to your Messenger mailing list. They can also join by using a ‘send me a message’ button on your website.

Once you have them on your messenger list, a bot can ask for their email address and add prospects to your main autoresponder list. This allows you to contact prospects as often as you want to.

Manage guest invitations to an event

Set up your bots to manage invitations to your next webinar. Set it up and invite people to your event, having them go to your Facebook page and take action which could be to click a link, or make a comment. Once they take action, Messenger will automatically send them a message and add them to your private Messenger list.

Best practices for using Messenger bots

Using Facebook Messenger bots is straightforward. But, there are things you can do to get the best results from your efforts.

1. One goal – one purpose. Each bot you set up should have a specific purpose. It should focus on what your customer needs and how they can benefit from what you are offering them.

2. Consider the buyer’s journey. Regardless of why you’re creating a bot, you need to consider the steps your client takes to reach the outcome you set for them. You may need one bot to handle the entire journey. But, sometimes you may need different bots for different stages of their journey. What are your customers’ needs?

3. Put your bots in your customers’ boots! When setting up your bots, consider what questions customers might ask. What phrases will they use when asking the questions? What information will you need from them to help them? Generate a list of these questions and create or flowchart, or mind map. Better information will help your client make an informed decision.

4. Check your speech pattern. Just because you’re using artificial intelligence, doesn’t mean your messages have to sound like it. Write your messages in the same way you write your other content, so it appears that you are behind the keyboard helping them personally.

5. Keep on engaging. Your messages should be casual and engaging as if you’re talking to a friend or family member. You can use images, gifs, voice messages, emojis and more to make it more realistic. In order for them to stay engaged, give them the opportunity to respond regularly. If you allow your visitors to interact every two to three messages, the conversation will keep flowing.

6. Keep it short. A high percentage of viewers read your messages on their phones so keep your messages short. Ask simple questions that people can respond to with few words or with the click of a button.

7. Test and tweak. A bot is a work in progress. You must watch how customers are using it and adjust as you go. Do your customers want fewer steps, menu options, different layouts, different wording, voice, or tone. Test a few options to see which works best for your users.

8. Provide value. You want to provide as much value as possible when engaging with your audience. Over-deliver by sharing free information and tips, or going the extra mile, for visitors.

9. Respond quickly to live messages. When you have questions that fall outside the automated sequence, or when a bot transfers a customer to speak with you live, answer these as quickly as possible. This helps build trust and long-term relationships with your prospects and customers.

Conclusion and how to build your first chatbot

It’s important to remember that the user experience is the most essential part of using a chatbot. A chatbot is a conversation with your current, and prospective, customers. Try to anticipate all the moves your customers make and questions they ask. This will ensure a seamless encounter for your visitor.

Facebook Messenger bots give you a range of options. This will enable you to use automated technology to leverage your business. They help you work smarter and get ahead of your competition.

You can get started with Facebook Messenger bots by reading more on the official Messenger bot page or by signing up for a third-party tool. Here are two popular apps that will help you deploy your first bot at a lightning speed: ManyChat and Chatfuel.