Do you have your chatbot? Thoughts from the Facebook F8 ConferenceSan Jose, Tuesday, April 18 – Every April Facebook hosts its annual F8 Conference, offering two days’ worth of activities aimed at keeping participants up-to-date with the platform’s latest developments. The conference provides an excellent venue for showcasing Facebook Messenger’s functionality, which holds a great deal of potential for business now that consumers can carry out a whole range of activities from within the app (make purchases, schedule appointments, etc.). One particular F8 session, Boost Your Business with Messenger, hosted by Product Managers Kemal El Moujahid and Allison Swope, focused entirely on the app’s new functionality and how it can be used to increase engagement, boost satisfaction, and cut costs.
Messenger’s Killer Benefits
Kemal El Moujahid laid out the “killer” benefits of Messenger for business, arguing that “the winning move for customer service is to go on Messenger.” Why? Unlike phone, Messenger is an asynchronous form of communication, allowing for high efficiency rates and enabling a positive experience for customers, who are free to drop and pick up the conversation at their convenience. Unlike email, Messenger offers real-time communication, facilitating the fast resolution of customer inquiries. Unlike live chat, Messenger provides identity and context, and allows for “thread persistence” – a chronologically-ordered history of all past conversations. When customers close their chat window or lose their connection during a live chat session, all is lost—which presents a substantial cost for customer support centres. Messenger serves as a solution to this problem.
Messenger Produces Monster CSAT
What’s the biggest motivator driving customer service over Messenger? I would argue that it’s customer satisfaction—and I imagine Kemal El Moujahid would agree. El Moujahid cites the case of Rogers, one of Canada’s biggest telecoms, which experienced a 65% increase in customer satisfaction after launching customer service over Messenger. Considering that every 10% increase in customer satisfaction leads to a 2%-3% increase in revenue (McKinsey&Company), Rogers should expect to see a 13%-19.5% increase in revenue from customers using Messenger.
The Robo-Human Hybrid Model
Apart from generating revenue, Messenger also brings cost efficiencies through automation. Kemal El Moujahid’s winning formula for customer service involves blending automation with human support. El Moujahid cites the example of Globe, a Philippines-based telecom, which successfully cut their call volume in half by implementing a blend of chatbots and messaging via human agents. InTheChat follows the same model, enabling companies to provide leading-edge customer service over chatbots and live agents. Robo-human hybrid services empower customers to self-serve via chatbot or converse with a live agent over the digital channel of their choice; both of which cut costs while boosting satisfaction.
Chatbots Stole the Show
Allison Swope, also a Product Manager for Facebook Messenger, presented the app’s new features and use cases. Chatbots stole the show, offering entirely new ways of engaging with brands. Swope recounted how consumers interacted with the Call of Duty chatbot, participating in a conversation that would reward them with an exclusive trailer for the video game. Another interesting use case came from the Tommy Hilfiger chatbot who, personified by model Gigi Hadid, acted as a virtual style assistant. The Gigi-bot drove up brand engagement substantially: consumers spent 350% more time with her than they would have spent on the website.
To Chat is Human
Conversation is an utterly human activity, and chatbots capitalize on this fact. Swope explained how switching from web forms to a chatbot-based conversation drove up the conversion rate for Meetic (a European dating service) by more than 30%. Instead of completing your profile on a web page, a Meetic virtual assistant gathers your profile information by engaging you in conversation. What we’re witnessing here is a move toward intensely-human patterns of interaction carried out over digital technologies: a powerful mix of human and AI which will continue to pervade our lives in the upcoming years.
The Death of Apps
We’re also witnessing the growth of multipurpose, universal apps like Messenger and the death of all other apps; a phenomenon that has already happened in China with WeChat. WeChat enables people to practically live their entire lives over the app (i.e. managing finances, shopping, requesting services, etc.). Messenger is quickly becoming North America’s WeChat, and soon we’ll be able to do everything over Messenger, precluding the need for any other app. Absolut Vodka’s Facebook campaign exemplifies this new paradigm: their virtual bartender in Messenger provides a code, which consumers then present to associated bars that are integrated with a point-of-sale system. After receiving their free drink, consumers also receive a free ride home via Lyft—all carried out over the Messenger platform.
A Frictionless Experience
Very soon, companies will retire their own mobile apps in favour of Messenger, which will allow them to provide the very same services and functionality to their customers, but with minimal development work. Kemal El Moujahid also notes how Messenger provides a frictionless experience for customers, because the app is likely already installed on their phone (1.2 billion people have Messenger), they are already logged in, and they automatically receive notifications. Dealing with a company through a dedicated app, however, is a journey fraught with friction. On top of this, consumers are experiencing app overloads on their home screens, giving rise to massive app deletions.
Do You Have Your Chatbot?
Messenger, WeChat, Line, Whatsapp: these apps will soon form the new digital world where we’ll seamlessly interact with businesses and each other, assisted by cyborg processes that blend human intelligence with artificial intelligence to create engaging and highly-efficient customer experiences. The digital world moves fast and shows no mercy to technological feet-draggers, which is why everyone is rushing to launch a chatbot. Do you have yours?
Want to know more about messengers and chatbots? Book your demo with InTheChat and prepare yourself for the new world of cyborg customer experience!