Facebook to Add Customer-Service Chat Bots to Messenger App

April 12, 2016 DATAMARK

Facebook is anticipating a day when the 1-800 number will be a customer’s call of last resort.

At its F8 developer’s event on April 12, the juggernaut social network is expected to announce the launch of a software “robot” capable of handling customer service issues–for any company–through Facebook’s popular Messenger app.

The “intelligent virtual agent,” as it is described, has been developed by [24]7, a provider of software platforms for customer engagement.

In a blog on the [24]7 website, Chief Marketing Officer Scott Horn says the smart chat bot technology, officially known as “[24]7 Messaging for Facebook Messenger,” will allow companies to send customers updates on things such as order status and shipping confirmation. The bot will be able to respond to common customer inquiries in a conversational way.

“Using our solution, businesses can provide their customers with the ability to initiate a query using natural language and receive accurate responses within seconds,” Horn writes. “Built on predictive models that anticipate a consumer’s intent, our technology provides automated self-service through an intelligent chat bot and determines when to escalate a consumer’s query to a live chat agent.”

According to media reports, Facebook is envisioning a future where companies will have buttons for live chat on their websites that will transfer customers over to its Messenger app or Messenger on the web. The strategy will allow consumers to continue their interactions with the smart bot or live agent on Messenger across devices and channels.

At the F8 conference, Facebook is expected to announce API tools that companies can use to build chat bots for automated customer service.

[24]7’s Scott Horn says his company’s solution will help reduce costs for provider customer service after the sale.

“Previous conversations are accessible in Messenger, including order tracking and shipping details,” he writes. “As a result, businesses can reduce contacts from other channels and eliminate up to 40 percent post-order inquiries.  Businesses can also drive a 3 percent to 8 percent lift in customer satisfaction and lower average handle time by 2 to 3 minutes with shorter, more effective conversations.”

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