Our Take: Facebook Expands Messenger Platform

At last year’s F8 Facebook Developer Conference, Facebook opened its API to developers for building bots on its Messenger Platform. Since we’ve been building chatbots since 2011, we were quite excited at the time by the potential this news provided, believing that the familiar interface of social media messaging is the right channel for real-time human language chatbots. Both trusted by — and comfortable to — users, social media messaging offers incredible upside to brands wishing to engage deeper with their customers while providing personalization and utility.

Fast forward to this year’s F8 conference and Facebook has again made news with its Messenger Platform. This time around, Facebook has announced bot discovery through the addition of a Discovery tab and Messenger codes. While we argued last year that discovery is undoubtedly a large challenge to conversational conversion, such as that facilitated by chatbots, the Facebook additions are a helpful half-step forward. However, to reap the benefits of chatbots and encourage customer engagement, brands need three things.

More Discovery

Facebook’s yellow pages will be helpful for reactive discovery of bots. For example, if I am looking for pizza delivery, I might search for a bot to help me with that. However, for proactive bot discovery, yellow pages aren’t ideal. (How many times have you proactively let your fingers do the walking? I’m guessing not often.) Similarly, brands who want to proactively promote their Messenger-based chat bots need to find a way to proactively drive engagement. At Chirpify, we’ve been fueling this very kind of discovery and engagement through the use of social triggers that can be used in any medium – from TV advertising to billboards; megatrons to email – that causes an immediate conversion opportunity from offline marketing to brand chatbots.

And while Facebook has launched Messenger codes which reflects this notion, they are limited to images that can be snapped with a cell phone camera. Another limitation is that they do not connect the dots as to which customer activated the code, which brings me to my second point.

Recognize your Customers

In addition to driving discovery, it is important that brands use the chatbot opportunity for greater recognition, acknowledgement and personalization. Simultaneously, it is increasingly important for brands to show the ROI of their social media efforts. To achieve both, you need to integrate your Messenger chatbot with the corporate CRM or customer database. Doing so allows you to recognize your customers when they engage with your chatbot. And, you can create offers tailored to them; reward them for taking certain actions; or personally acknowledge them for their participation. In addition, when you tie these systems together, you are able to provide closed-loop analytics, learning for example which customers engage with your chatbot, and how, when and why they use it. This deeper data set on your social media customers allows you to further hone your marketing efforts for greater efficacy.

Utility

When brought all together, these strategies allow you to create and drive utility for customers. More than convenience, utility means making it truly easy to do business with you by making your customer known to you across your customer touch points and simplifying the interaction process. Said another way, customers want a bot to be tied to their overall brand experience and provide utility by already knowing who they are and making it incredibly easy to take the next step in participating or interacting with you. Of course, this data can be easily obtained through the customer database and when linked to your customer’s Facebook ID, provides a closed-loop look at your customer.

For brands to be successful engaging consumers with chatbots, they will need to connect the interface to meaningful experiences, back end business processes, and consumer programs that already exist within the organization. Loyalty programs are an ideal example as they are designed for utility, are supported by a deep customer database, and are home to your most loyal customers. With a Messenger-based chatbot, your program members can engage more deeply as it provides a platform for your most loyal customers to interact with the brand in ways that are meaningful to them and encourages a symbiotic relationship with points and/or other rewards in exchange for participation.

Chat With Us

To learn more about driving discovery, personalization and utility for your Messenger-based chatbot, just chat with our chatbot: The ChirpBot