What are Chatbots and Why Should You Use Them

What is a Chat Bot/ Messenger Bot?

A ‘Bot’ is simply the term used to describe software that automates a task. In the context of Facebook messenger, the Chatbot is designed to initiate a conversation automatically when someone messages your Facebook Page.

You can build or set up your Chatbot to ask intuitive questions and based on the responses, you can guide your community members to the right solution. 

This may sound overwhelming. Fortunately, third-party tools such as ManyChat, MobileMonkey, and 22Social make this process relatively straightforward. 

 

Why would you want to use a Messenger Bot?

Now given the number of years Marketers have been preaching the importance of using your own voice on social media, you might be wondering why you would use a Bot to introduce even more automation into your strategy. It’s a good point. Like any tool that replaces real-time human interaction, there is an opportunity cost. It really comes down to a question of whether the benefits and opportunities outweigh the costs. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the benefits.

Time

When was the last time you thought ‘I just don’t have time’ or ‘I’m so busy’ or ‘I just can’t keep up’?

My guess is that as a business owner, it was probably some point within the last hour or two. I feel you! When you’ve got a hundred and one other things going on, it can be difficult to find the time to respond to Facebook Page messages right away. 

Here’s the thing. Those people, potential clients messaging you, they don’t care. We live in a 24/7/365 world where the demand and expectation is an instantaneous response. 

Having a Messenger Bot respond on your behalf provides instant gratification to the sender while relieving you from the responsibility of responding on the spot. 

From a logistics standpoint, it tends to be the same or similar type of message sent to your Page. Most likely, these are support requests or frequently asked questions. By programming your Bot out to respond to such questions, it saves you the time constantly responding with the same reply. 

The other time benefit here is that Messenger Bots act like filters ensuring the messages that do receive unanswered by the Bot require your personal attention are probably pretty important.

 

Better Engagement

This makes sense. The moment someone sends you a message is when they are actively online and looking to engage with your company. There is no better time to be present and use the opportunity to provide a stellar customer experience that leads to an increase in that customer’s lifetime value.

While the presence of a Bot doesn’t quite match a human being, if it is set up correctly then it provides tailored help and support to potential customers as and when they need it most.

Naturally being able to help your customers quickly builds loyalty and impacts the conversions you go on to make.

 

Increase in Open and Click Through Rates (Yo! We're talking up to 100%)

For a long time, email marketing has been known to offer the highest conversion rate. The trouble is that it's so difficult just trying to dodge the promotions tab and reach a subscriber's inbox. That's not to mention that most people rarely open them when they do receive emails. It understandable. We're all super busy and it's just so easy to forget to check that email you really wanted to open when it hit your inbox. 

The point is, chatbots are soon to become THE most effective way to reach and engage your audience. When someone enters a conversation with your chatbot, they are automatically added to a database that enables you to send broadcast messages straight to their messenger inbox. 

 

OOOOOH MAAAAAA GOODNESS!!! 

Being able to message users in Messenger is huge. People will see it and because chatting on Facebook is just a natural part of our daily communications, they are far more likely to engage in the conversation. 

We're always talking about the importance of that know, like, trust factor in business. Connecting with your community on such a personal level has a huge impact on building relationships and gauging how you can best serve them.

With businesses seeing open rates of 50-100% using chatbots, THIS IS EVERYTHING!!

 

Page Response Time

Your Facebook Page's response time is shown publically. People do look at this before deciding whether or not to message your business page. If you have a low response rate, the chances are, someone won't message because they don't want to wait for help, they want it now. 

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Messenger Bots respond instantly and pretty accurately if configured correctly. This will dramatically impact your Page's response time encouraging visitors to message if they have a question or would like to get in touch.

 

Messenger Bots are a huge opportunity to reach your audience and communicate directly with them one on one. Thinking about how much time and effort we put into various marketing communication channels in order to make this happen, it's not difficult to see the benefits. 

There is, of course, some factors you want to consider before jumping right in.

 

Key Considerations Using ChatBots

1. Learning Curve

As with any new tool, you need to invest time to learn, understanding, implement and test Chatbots. This is a new capability and the time required will depend on how familiar you are with technology and digital practices.  You always have to think about that investment and what the return will be on that time you invest up front. 

 

2. Work in Progress

Chatbots are very much a work in progress. They are new which means there is less control and they may have some glitches. Don't let this discourage you. The earlier you adopt these new tools, the easier it is to learn, master and progress with them. It also gives you a huge advantage over competitors who aren't willing to make the move just yet. 

 

3. The Spam Factor 

Let's face it, Chatbots will most definitely be misused and annoy people. It happens with everything. The key is ensuring that you are not one of those people who misuse the tool and exploit the access Facebook users are trusting you will.  

If you approach Chatbots with the premise of serving, not selling, you are more likely to be viewed as helpful rather than spammy.

4. Human Interaction Always Wins

No technology will ever replace human interaction. That's just a fact. Chatbots aren't there to replace human interaction. Instead, they should be considered as an additional layer of support that assists human interaction. 

When you take a transparent approach ensuring people know you are using a Chatbot, it is there to provide them with help and they can talk to a human if they wish, then it can be seen as an extension of customer service. 

I tend to think of these as considerations rather than drawbacks. This is because my own view is that it’s never the tool that’s the problem. It’s always the HOW the tool is implemented.

Messenger Bots can add tremendous value for Facebook users visiting your page as well as you, as the business owner.

 

Conclusion?

Try. 

They might work for you. They also might not. You have to try. That's what marketing is all about. 

If you haven't signed up for a chatbot just yet, there are two main ones I recommend you take a look at:

1.  ManyChat

2. Mobile Monkey

There are free versions and paid versions on both. I always recommend starting with the free version and if you see the benefits, consider upgrading. 

Let me know how you get on. 

Much love from my heart yours. 

Chloë xo