Marketers, business owners, and even online users have all become familiar with chatbots. Chatbots are a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allow a business to communicate with their customers, any time they land on their website automatically and without actually requiring any human interaction, or someone sitting on the business’ end answering questions and replying to customers.
Messenger bots are just like those chatbots, but they appear only in Facebook Messenger (the largest of the messenger bot market so far) or other texting apps. Facebook Messenger bots can be built simply and easily by using a bot platform such as manychat.com.
When creating these bots, local business owners can input simple language they expect to get from their customers such as, “What hours are you open?” or “What is your return policy?” Then the answers can also be inputted by the business owner. When an actual customer asks the question, they will receive the programmed answer.
Facebook Messenger bots, in particular, are very effective and unique from other types of messenger bots because they can actually learn as they communicate with customers. With every interaction, they will continue to learn and expand on their vocabulary and could actually become smarter. This is leaps and bounds over other messenger bots, and definitely, other chatbots that typically have very limited answers and language. In addition to making these bots more accessible and easier to use for customers, it also makes them easier to use by the business.
But, as much as people are starting to use messenger bots to interact with businesses, any local business owner knows that small businesses and major corporations are very different. They have different budgets, different capabilities, and use different technologies. So, are messenger bots really right for the local business owner? They are, just read on to find out why.
Why Your Business Needs Messenger Bots!
There are no reasons local business owners can’t reap all the same benefits of using messenger bots that major corporations can (more on those benefits in the next section). And while embarking on any new technology can seem scary and intimidating, it doesn’t have to be.
The fact is that most of the messenger bots out there are run by small businesses. While major corporations also use them, the simple FAQ interface that the majority of bots are using is perfect for small businesses. And while the big companies often have 1-800 helplines and round the clock customer service desks, local businesses simply don’t have the capital to invest in those. This makes messenger bots the perfect way to bridge the gap and provide the needed customer service without shelling out big bucks in order to do it.
Local businesses can also start small with their messenger bots, using a very basic platform and then building on it once they become more comfortable with the technology and learn more about what their customers want out of a bot. This can save them a lot of money in the end, unlike larger companies that often try to do everything at once and then have to spend big dollars in their budget to go back and fix problems.
The biggest reason why local business owners need messenger bots though? Because the time to start using them, for every business, is now. Facebook Messenger already has 100,000 bots within the service, and that’s just two years after they’ve been released. Imagine how many more will be on there in another two years, or five, or even ten. By not capitalizing on the technology and getting into the bot market now, local businesses could be left behind in the future. And, because messenger bots are already becoming so popular, when one business doesn’t have them, customers may turn to a competitor that does.
Benefits of Messenger Bots.
What are the benefits of Messenger bots? Think… Better customer service, increased sales, and improved communication with your customers. All of these and more are just a few of the benefits your small business can receive simply by utilizing Messenger bots.
Do you or your customers get frustrated when they want to ask a question, make a purchase, or interact with you another way, but you’re simply not around to give them the information they need? It can not only be frustrating for all parties, but it can also be a loss of business if the customer decides to go to another business, one in which the business owner is available to answer their questions. And even though Facebook pages and other types of social media have made it easier for local business owners to be more available to their customers, it still leaves gaps. After all, no business owner can be online all the time.
But Messenger bots can. One of the biggest benefits of Messenger bots is that they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
As long as your customers are online, the Messenger bots are too. So, your customers can get the answers they need without you even needing to be there.
Processing large volumes of requests
Just like you can’t be online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you also can’t interact with more than one customer at a time. And while you might have many customers with many different questions, concerns, and feedback, you can still only deal with them one at a time.
But Messenger bots don’t have the same limitations. And while other types of marketing may require some tweaking for receiving large inquiries and responding to them, such as email marketing, that’s not necessary with Messenger bots. After one bot is built, it can handle as many inquiries as possible without anyone having to tweak it at all. This means that all your customers can get the help they need. And isn’t that something every business owner wants to be able to do?
A better understanding of your customers.
Just like all business owners want to be able to respond to all of their customers in a timely fashion, they also want to be able to understand those customers better. After all, the more you know about what your customers want, the better able you are to serve them and give them what they need – all in the hopes that they will continue coming back to your business.
Messenger bots do exactly this. By installing Messenger bot analytics, business owners can study metrics such as what keywords are being searched to gain a better insight as to what they are looking for. This not only allows you to know your customers better, but it also allows you to build future bots better, as you will understand what questions are being asked, and what answers you need to program into the bot.
Low maintenance costs.
With all the benefits Messenger bots bring, it’s easy to assume that they would be one of the most expensive marketing resources out there. Truthfully though, they’re not. While they do have a bit of initial cost, how much that often rests with the business owner. Most developers and developing companies have different packages depending on what the business owner wants their Messenger bot to be able to do. For those that need just a basic bot, the fees can be very low.
In addition to having a low initial cost, once the bot is up and running, there are virtually no maintenance costs, unless the business owner wants to add more capabilities to the bot. Again, it is completely up to the business owner and if they believe that the bot is running effectively, the costs after initially developing the bot can be non-existent.
An incredible reach.
Any business owner wants to be able to reach as many of their customers, or even potential customers, as they can. Messenger bots make it much easier to do this. While it would be nearly impossible to give all the stats for all the messaging apps out there, let’s look strictly at Facebook Messenger, since it’s one of the biggest.
Facebook Messenger has approximately 900 million monthly active users a month. That’s not counting the people that have simply downloaded the app, but perhaps have never used it extensively. Within that 900 million are solely people that have downloaded the app and that use it regularly, as one of their main forms of communication.
Imagine the reach business owners will have when choosing to utilize a Facebook Messenger bot. That’s 900 million people just waiting for a bot to reach them, answer their questions, and make it easier to buy from the business!
Target your audience.
Targeting a market audience is another must-do for any business owner. And it can sometimes be one of the most difficult aspects of marketing. But Messenger bots can make it very easy to target any audience. Facebook Messenger bots allow business owners to target any person that subscribes to the bot, which typically requires them to give you their email address. Once you have it, not only can you build your email list, but you can also start to nurture the relationship with the customer so it becomes easier to sell to them.
These are just a few of the benefits that come with Messenger bots. Once business owners start to use them, the chances are good that a whole world of benefits will open up to them. So, while the benefits are there, and are very real, how is a business owner supposed to create and use bots in order to reap these benefits?