What exactly is a Facebook chatbot? At its most basic level, chatbot applications provide a platform for businesses to automate most any low-intermediate customer support functions. Rather than waiting on hold with a customer service representative, consumers can chat with a chatbot to quickly answer basic questions or complete the initial stages of an on-site RMA request.
A chatbot application is also commonly known as “customer relationship management” (CRM) program. There are many different types of CRM programs. Some of the more popular chatbot applications include AWeber, Bluelift, Clear Channel, Epsilon, LinkedIn, MegaOffice, Salesforce, Threelac, and Wordtracker. In recent years, many web-based applications such as Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk have become conversational platforms. These platforms enable users to have conversations with other users and initiate chat. In the same manner, chatbot systems may also be used to facilitate communications between web-based systems such as e-commerce sites.
The goal of chat Bots is to replace customer service representatives. Chat Bots provide agents with additional resources to facilitate customer service. When using chat bots, an agent’s interaction with customers is limited to what the user tells the chatbot. For example, if the chatbot’s user wants to suggest a pizza place to a user, the chatbot will not initiate a conversation with a person because that person has told the chatbot that he/she likes pizza. Instead, the chatbot will search through its database for matches of user inputs and then suggest the best pizza place for that particular user.
Many chatbot applications such as AWeber use the Facebook interface to deliver its services. AWeber’s chatbot, called HootSuite, is used to provide personal customer service to clients. By using HootSuite, a user can create an account, enter in their email address and specify how often they want to receive updates from the chatbot. HootSuite then searches through Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels to deliver updates on the latest status of a given product.
Since Facebook’s announcement, other chatbot developers are beginning to look at Facebook as a means to reach potential clients. The bot builder from SocialDeck uses Facebook’s fan page functionality to allow its users to post a message button on their Facebook pages. When someone clicks on this button, it automatically starts communicating with the person that posted the message. In turn, the bot contacts the user, explains the bot’s business model and then performs the required customer service. SocialDeck is currently working with Botox, Lululemon and Onesta to provide chatbot solutions.
AWeber also integrates Facebook with chatbot technologies, such as the “chatfuel dashboard”. The chattel dashboard is essentially a site where a user can keep track of conversations that take place on their accounts. They can specify what they want to chat about, types of conversations and who they want to chat with (such as a parent or spouse). Each conversation is then assigned a level of priority. If a chatbot user doesn’t like the way something is being handled, they can easily change it, making it easier for other people to have the ability to participate. AWeber offers an extensive range of chatbot solutions, ranging from the chattel page to chatbot voice integration.
Finally, we’re looking at the future of chatbot technology with the news that Yahoo! Answers are integrating chatbot technology with their Answers service. This will allow customers to use chat Bots to provide answers to questions that customers have. Yahoo! Answers already has a lot of tools in place to provide for this, including their trademark handoff protocol.