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We have reached a point in the information age where instant gratification has become a big deal. We order food online and it arrives in 45 minutes, we order a new computer, it can arrive the next day, we message a friend, we usually get a quick response. Mobile phones have changed the way people look at the world, and patience is becoming a thing of the past. So how does this relate to business?


Facebook Messenger has become a force of nature, with traffic numbers exceeding 1.2 billion monthly users. Many people have started using messenger rather than emails to contact companies and organisations, and due to the their experiences with Facebook Messenger, they usually expect an immediate or quick response. If the message is missed by a Page Admin, this could potentially mean the loss of a customer. Here’s where Chatbots come in.


The advantage of using a Chatbot over a human user is that the Chatbot can always respond instantly to the initial contact from a customer. This prompts interaction and potentially stops the customer going elsewhere. Chatbots used for Messenger Marketing can potentially save you time, effort and money by automating your customer services! Chatbots can be programmed with a variety of tasks from giving basic responses to inquiries to collect information from users and organising appointments. 


So What Is A Chatbot?


Think of a Chatbot like a Digital Secretary. It is an automated assistant that can respond to a variety of stimuli and perform simple tasks. The Chatbot is only as good as it’s programming in the same way a human assistant is only as good as their training. The customer messages, the Chatbot responds so you don’t have to. Customers can also have the option of speaking to a human assistant, and the Chatbot can be programmed to notify your admins should the need arise.


Whilst it is unlikely that you will receive a massive volume of messages in one go, it can be beneficial to have a Chatbot take care of customers if you have several people messaging your page at once.


Simple And Smart Chatbots


Simple Chatbots function and respond to pre written keywords that they’re programmed to understand. Their responses all have to be programmed in by the developers using a combination of string analysis and regular expressions. If the user types in something the bot cannot comprehend, it will usually give a response such as: “I am sorry, I don’t understand that!” Simple Chatbots can also be programmed with a list of buttons the user can click or press in Facebook Messenger so that they only ever function as intended.


Smart Chatbots are reliant on artificial intelligence when users interface with them. They respond with adequate suggestions for specific topics rather than relying on pre-programmed answers.


So What Makes Chatbots Great?


Chatbots have been shown to vastly improve customer service. By giving fast responses, they can meet the needs of customers quickly so they don’t have to wait or struggle to find their answers in an FAQ on your company website. Around 90% of messages to larger companies end up without a company response. This can make the company look bad. With a Chatbot in place, when a customer messages in, they will get a response, or potentially notify an admin that they need to speak to someone.This also makes the page look good because Facebook keeps a note of how responsive the page is. 


Chatbots can be used with internal tags which record points for reward systems. This is useful for both restaurants and shops. Points can be awarded for different interactions within the Chatbot or by the customer performing specific processes whilst interacting with it.


Chatbots are great for answering simple questions. Despite a lot of people putting their phone numbers, website and other information in the about section of their Facebook Page, a lot of customers don’t check this and can message the page with these questions. A Chatbot can be programmed to give responses to questions like: “what are your opening hours?” or “when are you open?”


Chatbots automate the process of communicating with customers, saving your company employees time and energy, allowing you and your employees to get on with work and not have to worry! You can even program them to make appointments with customers!


How Do I Make A Chatbot?


Chatbots are sometimes very complicated to design. When starting out you will want to think about how you want the Chatbot to function. Do you want it to make appointments? Respond to queries? – Or simply let a person know an admin will be with them soon?


Would you like to build the bot from use a template Chatbot or build one from scratch? Template Chatbots are set up with a variety of desired functions, but these will need to be edited and fine tuned so that they are uniform with your business. Once we’ve decided weather we’re going to use a template or start from scratch, we can begin.


Creating Your Bot From Scratch!


Programming and designing a Chatbot can be incredibly complicated if you’re not an experienced programmer. It’s incredibly likely that you will have to hire a development company to build the Chatbot for you. This will require a lot of time, effort and coding due to the level of customization that will be required to have a functioning professional Chatbot.


The main advantages of this kind of Chatbot are that you aren’t limited in the same way as you are with Template Chatbots, you will own complete control over all the Chatbot data and it will be compliant with your needs. These Chatbots are usually best for customer interaction as they can be adapted to appear much more human than a Template Chatbot. This will probably take a lot of time and money to set up.


Using A Template To Create A Chatbot


Using a template is an easier and more cost efficient way to design a Chatbot. There are many Chatbot builder platforms you can use, some are easier to understand than others. With these builder platforms, you will find that your options are limited to what the platforms will allow and can rely on the service of the platform remaining up. For template built Chatbots we recommend using Manychat, it’s easy to understand and most of the simple designs are free which makes it a must have if you are working on a budget! It is also easy to integrate with Zapier and many other platforms if you are looking for a long term, more advanced chatbot.


Whatever industry you are in, there will be a way of utilising a chatbot in order to make life easier.