Close

Choose a country

United KingdomEnglish
South AfricaEnglish
IndiaEnglish
InternationalEnglish

Facebook chatbots announcement has far reaching implications for customer service.

Blog
15th April 2016

Hot on the heels of publishing an API for Facebook messenger which allows brands to interact with customers via the platform, their latest announcement regarding chatbots at the F8 conference has far reaching implications for customer service departments.

Opening up Messenger as a platform was significant. Using this communication channel enables customer experiences such as these from KLM or Uber, where customers can contact brands using Messenger, and brands can then automate status update messages such as flight information or taxi delivery times etc.. but what does this new announcement give us?

“Bots” are becoming a hot topic; they offer the chance to automate specific conversations, reducing contact costs and customer effort while increasing responsiveness. We have all seen early attempts at this a few years ago with virtual agents which weren’t terribly clever, but now that type of technology is coming of age with 2nd and 3rd generation VA platforms offering compelling customer experiences. Critically the ability to integrate with self-service systems opens up a wealth of opportunities for brands to serve customers in a uniquely convenient way.

For me, all a ‘bot’ is, is a Virtual Agent that sits behind a messaging platform, so why is this so important? The impacts will be on contact channel strategy and could affect brands’ app strategy.

From a contact channel perspective, when it comes to communicating with brands, customers will want to use the messaging tools they use every day e.g. Facebook Messenger, SMS, WhatsApp etc.. For each customer this channel choice will be different and over time the number of messaging channels will increase. Messaging (multiple platforms) will need to become an inherent part of brands’ Omni channel strategy. What bots will do is offer the opportunity of automation to enable brands to handle the volume while serving customers quickly and efficiently. With bots all of the simple contact types can be efficiently and expertly handled.

From an app perspective things are changing. In a recent Telegraph article, a Gartner quote predicted that app usage will plateau. Other statistics show that apps have a half-life which can often be extremely short. This means that brands will have to work harder to keep their apps front of mind for customers. Adding digital contact features such as web chat as part of this push may help but brands need to bear in mind that doing this to the exclusion of messaging is not likely to work. Contacting brands via digital channels needs to be independent (but not exclusive) of the brand’s app.

Here’s what I think will happen next:

1. Facebook’s move will bring chatbot vendors to the fore, offering brands a selection to adopt

2. Chatbot vendors will adopt all messaging channels, based the popularity of each messaging platform

3. Bots used on messaging platforms and as Virtual Agents on web sites will be able to seamlessly hand off to a customer service advisor if they are unable to deal with the query

4. Other social or messaging platforms will open up APIs similar to Facebook (if they haven’t already) increasing the number of channels brands can use. This is a challenge and an opportunity for brands

5. Web chat vendors will implement chatbots by either partnering with bot vendors or acquiring bot start-ups. Those that don’t will be left behind

6. Brands who can expose existing self-service functionality (e.g. parcel track and trace) as internal Services/APIs will be able to innovate in digital customer service. By swiftly integrating with messaging and bots, customers will be able to conveniently help themselves using their favourite messaging app

7. Bots will be deployed for customer service on social media platforms such as twitter, but I can see it taking a while for brands to trust the bots before they do this. Don’t believe me? Just ask Microsoft….

8. Customer service organisations will need to develop a core competency in Text Analytics and Natural Language Processing (NLP) as all these new text based channels come on stream in addition to SMS, email, web chat and social media.

What do you think about the potential influence of bots? Do you have any predictions of your own? If so please leave a comment below.

Written by Simon Frank.


Webhelp
Article by: Webhelp

News & Insights

Webhelp Payment Services
Solution Designer
Service Provider
Technology Enabler
News
Business Director, Jodie Smith interviewed by Insider Media

Webhelp UK Group Business Director, Jodie Smith was featured by Insider Media in their Northern Powerhouse series - where she outlined what the initiative means to her, how to make the North an attractive place to work and build a business, and the importance of investment to ensure all regions can contribute to the UK's Covid-19 recovery. The Northern Powerhouse has the goal of boosting...

Read 212CAAF2-CC0E-4D90-9134-028C45BDF837 Created with sketchtool.
Blog
Meet our Advisors – Cédric from Madagascar (ep.4)

​During the COVID-19 situation, a client was looking for a direct flight to Africa, desperate to leave before the borders closed. Unfortunately, her flight got cancelled three times in a row. So I had to search a lot of internal flights to help her. Finally, after an extensive search I...

Read 212CAAF2-CC0E-4D90-9134-028C45BDF837 Created with sketchtool.
News
78% of directors believe customers are paying more attention to responsible business practices since pandemic

New research from Gobeyond Partners, the consulting firm focused on customer journey transformation, and Webhelp, Europe’s leading provider of outsourced customer engagement services, has today revealed that responsibility, transparency and trust are now perceived to be more important than they...

Read 212CAAF2-CC0E-4D90-9134-028C45BDF837 Created with sketchtool.
Whitepaper
Whitepaper: Reimagining service for the new world

A framework for tomorrow’s successful customer-focused operating models As the urgency for change and transformation intensifies in the post COVID landscape, some pivotal questions will be raised: How different will service look and feel in the future? How will businesses and their operations...

Read 212CAAF2-CC0E-4D90-9134-028C45BDF837 Created with sketchtool.
Case Studies
Flexible customer service in fashion

...

Read 212CAAF2-CC0E-4D90-9134-028C45BDF837 Created with sketchtool.
×

Webhelp Cookies Preference Centre

Strictly Necessary Cookies
The website requires the use of cookies for essential functional requirements and these are outlined in the cookies policy.

Enhanced Functional Cookies
Some features of this website use services provided by third parties websites. These features use cookies to implement their services on this website and may collect data about your visit to help them optimize their functionality. The Webhelp cookies policy outlines the cookies used by these services.

We have links to social networking such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
These websites are third party sites. We do not place cookies on their behalf, and do not have control over the way they collect or use your data.
We encourage you to read more about their policies:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Facebook