Facebook Chat Bots: The Future of Self-Service?

Facebook is determined to take customer service to the next level. The company recently revealed its Businesses for Messenger platform, highlighting the perks of its popular messaging app for customer engagement. Now, Facebook has announced it is granting businesses access to its API to further develop one feature of its Messenger platform: chat bots.What exactly are chat bots? Essentially, they are a kind of software with an intelligence capability, such as the kind used in virtual assistant or live chat programs. Through textual or audio means, chat bots are intended to engage in conversations with users and provide accurate answers through their artificial intelligence function. As more and more brands strive to strike a balance between personalized and automated customer service, Facebook chat bots might hold the answer.When customers have a direct question to ask a brand, such as a delivery date or the nearest location of a retail store, chat bots may serve as the fastest way to provide a clear answer. In theory, the more these chat bots are equipped with the right intelligence tools to handle low-level tasks, the more brands can shift complex tasks to employees and thus allocate human resources more effectively. While some may be skeptical of the idea of robots replacing live customer service representatives, the overall customer service experience could improve if customers find answers more quickly or are given more time to spend with live agents who otherwise might be occupied with low-level tasks. In this manner, Facebook chat bots could serve as a great automated complement to the overall customer experience, much as IVR menus are intended to facilitate customer service without necessarily replacing the option for a customer to speak to an agent when needed.Just as with virtual assistant software, time will tell how effective Facebook chat bots will be and if companies will be able to adapt them to their specific needs. Language processing can often prove a challenge depending on the speaker’s tone or accent, and foreign spellings or multiple listings can also be problematic for delivering accurate responses. The intelligence needs to be sophisticated enough to sift through these potential obstacles, and brands must ensure that customers are able to interact with these bots in a manner worthy of their trust.As automated customer service is often hailed for saving customers time and frustration, Facebook chat bots may very well serve as a new tool for achieving such results. Or perhaps, as some may argue, it should seek to complement the customer experience by enabling a balance of automated efficiency with human support as needed. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for delivering excellent social customer service.

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