Chatbots: A Guide to the Who, What and How

Messenger applications are the new email, particularly with the younger generation.

Chatbots are a great way to streamline your customer interactions, reduce the load on your team, and increase customer satisfaction.  

Currently, there are 1.5 billion users and 300,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger.

Chat applications such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp are increasingly popular because of the natural conversation that can occur from a mobile – it works seamlessly across mobile devices.

With the introduction of chatbots, it appears we are set to be spending much more time on our Messenger applications in the near future. Let’s take a closer look at chatbots and how they can help your business grow. 

What are chatbots? 

Before we go any further, it’s essential to make sure we all understand exactly what chatbots are. To put it simply, chatbots are like virtual assistants that simulate a conversation with another human through artificial intelligence and predetermined responses. They operate somewhat conversational, allowing your customers to have a more “human” interaction. 

Although they are programmed to be conversational, there are limitations to their communication skills. They can be programmed to respond the same way to specific questions, respond differently to messages with particular keywords, and more advanced programs can use machine learning to adapt their response to suit different situations.

How can chatbots work for you? 

Using chatbots is a great way to provide customer support 24/7, even when your business might not be open. Furthermore, they offer flexibility and reduce your team’s workload so that they can focus on the more essential aspects of your business. 

Automated chatbots shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement. They should, however, complement your existing workflow in a way that is beneficial to both your team and your customers.

Here are just a few ways they can work for you: 

  • Getting assistance in an emergency
  • Fixing an issue or complaint
  • Make a booking
  • Pay a bill
  • Purchase an item
  • Add yourself to a mailing list
  • Finding ideas and inspiration for future purchases

Chatbots for Facebook

While many social media platforms use chatbots, Facebook is by far the most popular contact point for customers looking to chat with your business online. In recent years, we’ve certainly seen a move away from customers wanting to make a phone call, as more and more people turn to social media to voice their concerns, seek customer support, make enquiries, and so much more. 

A chatbot on Facebook is a great way to facilitate bookings, collect basic customer information, and more.

Chatbots vs Instant Replies 

If you’ve ever sent a business a message on Facebook, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ve received an automated instant reply as your first response. We’ve already covered what chatbots are, but it’s important that you understand the distinction between chatbots and instant replies

Note: Instant Replies aren’t sent when your Page’s messaging status is set to Away and aren’t included in your Page’s response rate or response time.

Instant replies are a great tool to use when you’re busy or if you receive a high number of messages each day. 

Example of a great chatbot

Feeling hungry? Well, maybe you should head over to the Domino’s Australia Facebook page and have a chat with DOM, the Domino’s Virtual Assistant (chatbot). 

As you can see below, the process of chatting with DOM is straightforward, and it achieves the two things that every great chatbot should: it makes life easier for the customer and it takes the strain off the team working in a physical location. 

Domino's Australia Chatbot

How to create your own chatbot

While there are plenty of chatbot tools on the market, some simply do it better than others. After quite a bit of research, the best service we’ve found is Chatfuel.

Chatfuel is an excellent chatbot tool that works perfectly with Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, and it requires no coding on your end. 

chatfuel chatbots

Trusted by some of the world’s biggest brands like Netflix, Levi’s, Lego, National Geographic, Nissan, and more, Chatfuel requires no registration, and it is simple to set-up and get started.

The platform is packed full of interesting and useful features, and the Chatfuel Flow Builder couldn’t be more straightforward.  

If you’re considering a chatbot for your business, a great way to start is by heading to a few Facebook pages of your favourite brands and checking out how their chatbots work? 

Have you used a chatbot for your business before? Let us know what you love and what you think needs improvement down in the comments below?

A born and raised sandgroper, Cal only ever dreamed of one thing growing up: the squeaky courts of the NBA. But his inability to dunk squashed that dream. Cal is the Marketing Coordinator at Coffey & Tea.