Guest post: Facebook chat bots – an introduction

Guest post: Facebook chat bots – an introduction

Have you heard of Facebook chat bots? Find out from our digital partners, Connecting Element, how the conversational technology could help your brand engage and motivate users.

What is a Facebook chat bot?

Facebook chat bots allow automated and personalised conversations to take place using the Facebook Messenger app.

When a customer or client contacts you through Messenger, the bot can provide an immediate response, including suggestions for products and services and even taking bookings.

Although Facebook opened Messenger to bots last year, this conversational technology has been around for years. Messenger is the most popular app in the world, with over 1.2 billion monthly active users – more than Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat combined.

Why do you need a chat bot?

Streamline your customer service

We’re seeing a trend of people calling and emailing less, as messaging is the new norm and users expect an immediate response. It’s no surprise that 60% of 18 to 34-year-olds prefer a message to a phone call.

As well as demands from our audiences for speedy customer service, chat bots can also support with streamlining processes and save team resource costs.

If you think about the questions that you are asked frequently through social media – i.e. What are your opening times? Can I book? Can I purchase? Do you have an item in stock? – many can be answered manually without human input.

Integrate with your campaigns

As this technology is fairly new to Facebook, running a campaign using a chat bot is still innovative and intriguing for users. Using a chat bot alongside your other tactics can help with awareness, consideration and conversion.

Utilise the data opportunities

Research has shown that 60% of users will engage with a message that they receive through Facebook Messenger. Compare that with your email open rates and it looks like a more attractive proposition.

Once you’ve engaged your user with the bot, you have the opportunity to remarket to them through this channel (with their permission, of course).

How do chat bots work?

There are two primary ways that chatbots can work. The first is with a triggered button which lets the user tell us straight away what their intent is; while the second approach is to accept any text and work out the intent from their message using some sort of artificial intelligence (AI).

Discovering the intent of the user is the first step in the process to fulfilling a request.

So, if we have a way of booking a table through the chatbot, we need to define what booking a table is, so we can identify it in future incoming messages. We therefore need to define what information is required for a booking to be made. This could include a location, time, day and number of attendees.

For example: “I would like to book a table in London next Wednesday at 3pm for 4 people.”

The phrase “book a table” and its variations show us an intent of making a table booking. From the text we can pick out a location: “London”, day: “next Wednesday”, Time: “3pm”, People: “4 people”. We can then use this information to make a booking.

We can use the chat bots for more than just basic replies.

By integrating to a backend system, we can link application programming interfaces (APIs) together to fulfil requests – for example, taking the captured booking information and passing it to your booking provider. This would create a booking in the same way as a regular one that is booked on your website.

What can bots do?

We always recommend working out the objective for your bot – whether a campaign or a customer service bot – before looking into the tactical elements.

The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Answer FAQs without the need for human interaction
  • Show images and carousels
  • Play video
  • Add people into the conversation
  • Link back to website pages
  • Voting systems
  • Clever stuff like sending you receipts from online purchases
  • Airline flight information

Check out a live bot in action

We recently created a chat bot for steak restaurant group Miller & Carter, as part of an integrated campaign to encourage menu discovery – and also to drive people to book a table on a Thursday.

Once the user activates the bot within Messenger by using the keyword #Thursdate, the bot then encourages the user to choose their starter, main and dessert.

The bot shows carousel images of the items, which allows the users to scroll through the choices and choose their favourite. Once their perfect menu has been chosen, the user has the option to invite their date night partner to join them.

Do you have an idea of how a chat bot can help your business? We’d be happy to chat it through with you. Contact to discuss how your traditional marketing strategies dovetail with digital solutions.

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