Resisted Facebook Messenger chatbots so far? That’s your call, but with Facebook leading the way on this one with its Messenger service and acquisition of WhatsApp, it’s going to be hard for any business on Facebook to resist much longer.

Facebook Messenger Bot

True, implementing a bot to carry out a human task such as, oh, I don’t know, talking to your customers over social media sounds super risky, and you’re probably worried that it could ruin your brand if the bot does something silly.

The thing is, developers have already eliminated most of our worries: for example, bots will never say anything you don’t want it to if you write a script. And how can you resist stats like these:

  • The average open rate is 98% — compare this with your floundering email open rates!
  • 55% of consumers use messaging apps to help them solve teething issues they have with a business and its products or services
  • 47% of consumers have already said they would make purchases from a bot

Bots are irresistible, and Facebook is one of the key players in messaging services: it's working hard to make the messaging experience between chatbots and customers more seamless.

Facebook made them easy to implement too, and customers actually like them. If you still haven’t made a move with them, don’t worry — there’s still time. But the longer you wait, the more ahead your rivals will remain.

Bring your Facebook marketing into the 21st century and improve your relationship with your customers, your lead gen strategies, and boost conversions and sales. Here’s what you need to know about Facebook messenger bots and traffic.

What do Facebook Messenger bots do in a nutshell?

In one sentence, bots automates customer support, which means they save you time.

But they do more than this: Through surveys and conversations, bots collect vital info on your customers so that they are then able to engage them in personalized, meaningful conversations that, over a series of micro-commitments, can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, conversions, and sales.

The more helpful a chatbot is, and the faster it can respond to queries, the more loyal a customer becomes towards a business.

Bots, then, help to solve problems and build relationships. Because they’re a form of Artificial Intelligence, they use machine learning to understand what each customer wants.

In short, they might get to know your customers better than you ever could, which is awesome for your business.

Here is why you need to use bots to help grow traffic, conversions, and sales:

1. Bots keep customers happy

Billions upon billions of messages are sent each month on Facebook, and 2 billion are exchanged between users and businesses alone. That’s a huge amount, and we’re going to guess that your company receives a lot of messages, just like all companies do.

Some small businesses fail on this front — and indeed, how do you keep on top of all those messages and respond to queries promptly?

This is problematic, though. As AdEspresso pointed out way back in 2014, customers expect good service on social media. They expect you to reply to their concerns and questions as soon as possible.

How soon? According to research, 60 minutes is good response time.

Can you manage that, partner? If not, you need to start using bots. Bots do exactly what customers want you to do:

  • Respond quickly to concerns and queries
  • Resolve problems
  • Provide detailed, satisfactory answers

More crucially, Facebook’s users are interacting with bots more and more because they give them what they want.

Domino’s Pizza’s Bot
Domino’s Pizza’s bot is on hand to respond to queries an instant

If you can’t keep on top of customer service, chatbots can. Instead of putting a customer on hold, a bot will solve their problems there and then.

User engagement is key. If a customer is in Vietnam, but your business is in Germany, it will take you a few hours to reply to their concerns if you’re not using a bot and you’re asleep in bed. This isn’t good practice, especially in an “always on” world where customers expect their questions to be answered almost immediately.

2. Bots can contribute to higher conversion rates

Imagine you’ve got a sale or a promotion on and want people to know about it.

What do you do? Ordinarily, you’d run an email campaign and a Facebook ad.

These are two ways of doing it, but email open rates are a bit sucky and Facebook ads usually require lots of exhausting and costly split testing. Across all industries in the UK in 2016, email open rates were 24.79% and click through rates were 4.19%.

Not bad, but imagine if there was a way to improve both KPIs?

There is, and bots provide it.

We’ve already pointed out that bots have an open rate of 98%, but here’s the slam dunk: Just Eat’s conversion rate grew by 266% when they started using bots.

This means that if you’ve got a sale or promotion on (or any big announcement) and want people to know about it, the best thing to do is use a bot on Facebook.

Why are bots so good at this stuff? Is it the way they smile adorably at people? Or are they just better than us at conversations?

Especially if you’ve got an ace copywriter writing your scripts, chatbots are probably a lot better than you at talking to people and getting them to take action.

See, a bot is basically a computer, and computers are better than humans at crunching data and numbers and understanding what the heck is going on. This means they understand the needs and desires of a customer to a tee.

More than this, customers are happy to see what a bot has to say when it pops them a message on Facebook, because bots also deliver product or service recommendations the customer will probably love.

Burger King’s Bot
Burger King’s bot uses automatic prompts to guide customers

And unlike an email or an ad, a customer can ask the bot a follow-up question and receive an answer almost instantly.

One final reason why bots have such high open rates is because they’re still a bit of a novelty. This will fade in time, of course, which is why you need to join the party as soon as possible.

3. Bots can increase retention rates

So, open rates and conversion rates are good. But what about retention rates?

As Forbes points out, bots have never really fared too well with retention rates, but it is getting better and better all the time as bots get smarter and smarter. Moreover, it will increase as businesses learn to understand how to use bots more effectively.

For example, brands need to understand why they’re using a bot; what are your goals?

Secondly, brands need to focus on producing top-notch content that their customers will love.

Thirdly, the chatbot has to be able to answer the questions and solve the problems their customers have.

From the sign-up phase onwards, a bot’s aim is to keep the customer onside and making it as interactive and as personalized as possible is important. Bots by their nature need to be conversational and — where applicable — even entertaining.

It’s also key that your bot doesn’t do too many things at once. It should have a USP that will help you reduce churn.

Lastly, a bot has to provide value and it has to help the user.

Do all these things, and your retention rate can start to match your open rate.

Convinced? Here's how you can implement a Facebook bot for your business

The good news it that you don’t need any coding knowledge to setup a bot. All you need is a Facebook account and access to chatbot building tools, such as these free ones. As well, you can build your own bot directly through Facebook Messenger.

Once you’ve signed up and set up an account, you’ll then need to do a few things to make sure your bot is as effective as possible:

  • Give the bot a unique name — you want to make it easy for your customers to find your bot, so giving it a unique, distinctive name that stands out is essential.
  • Make it conversational — your customers will be talking like humans, which means your bot needs to mimic human conversation as much as possible. If it doesn’t, the conversation will be awkward, the customer’s queries won’t get answered, and things will die out.
  • Help customers out with prompts — a Facebook bot isn’t like a website, and your customers might not know what to do unless you give them hints and prompts. Set up automatic prompts so that your bots are able to lead conversations and guide your customers along the way.
  • Keep things simple — it’s Facebook, a place where we all hang out with our friends, share memes, and chill. In other words, your bot should avoid big words. Avoid awkward grammar, too. That kind of stuff is likely to confuse and alienate people. Also, keep the options you offer to your customers simple. If your bot offers everything all at once, that too will be confusing and overwhelming. Tweak your bot so that it offers the right things at the right times.

If you’ve already been using Facebook Messenger bots, what experiences have you had so far? Leave us a comment below.