If you're in the world of customer service or customer experience, I'm sure you've heard a lot of chatter recently (pun intended) about chatbots, messengers, and other similar channels you can use to interact with customers.
These services can be great ways of boosting the customer experience when used properly. However, it's easy to use them in ways that do just the opposite, leaving you with frustrated customers. Two words you never want to read together.
While there are many solutions out there (just Google "chatbot" and see for yourself), it's no surprise that one of the worlds' biggest players got in on the action; Facebook. While Messenger has been around for a while, it's recently gotten some significant upgrades that make it a viable customer service channel for businesses small and large.
Facebook Messenger On Your Site
Facebook Messenger has traditionally been used solely for chatting with your Facebook followers. If you had a strong presence on the social giant this was a great thing, but for many businesses with a majority of traffic going to their own domain, it wasn't a solution to solve chat issues on multiple channels.
With Facebooks most recent update, however, this can all change.
Facebook has added the Customer Chat plugin (currently in beta) that will allow businesses to install Facebook Messenger on their own domain. It will allow customers to chat with their Facebook account but on the website of the business that they're chatting with. Not the Facebook page; the actual company website.
Think about it for a second.
Are you connecting the dots? Good.
You will not only have a live chat option on your site, but it will be a great way to interact with customers in a way they are comfortable with. It's also a great link back to your Facebook page, which could provide a strong boost to social interactions and give customers a place to be part of your community.
Be Mobile, Be Automatic, Be Smart
First things first, Messenger does all the heavy lifting for you in that it's already a mobile optimized solution. So if you're using it, congratulations! You have a mobile chat experience. Fancy.
It also has a wide array of options for creating bots. Now here's where things get a little tricky. You may recall I opened this article by saying how good they can be, but to be wary of making mistakes that will frustrate your customers.
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses making with bots happens all too often;
The bot isn't helpful.
It's fun, interactive, and maybe unexpected, sure. But guess what! The allure of a bot lasts about a second if it can't actually help a customer.
When creating bots, think about the paths to the resolution your customers using the chat will most likely be facing. If you can't have a set path that will solve your customers' issues, you shouldn't be using a bot. Or at least, you should be supplementing it with real humans manning the chat for escalated situations the bot cannot handle.
At KMS Lighthouse, we've integrated our solution with FB messenger to solve this issue.
The bots rely on backend knowledge bases to provide the right content in the right situations, and even when an agent takes over, they have all the info they need to provide customers with a resolution quickly.
Basically, it comes down to this; bots are great, but without the knowledge of a human or human-built system, they can be all smoke and mirrors.
Don't Forget the Basics
As with all new channels, it's important to remember that the essentials of customer service are still in play. Customers are contacting you in different ways, but they're expecting the same level of high-quality service, and you need to be prepared to give it to them.
Facebook has a lot of fancy tools to improve the chat experience on a technical level, but if you don't implement your own customer service standards into the experience, it's guaranteed to fall flat.
Don't let that happen.
Are you using FB messenger? Have tips to add? Comment below! I'd love to learn more about how you use it and what you've found to work well. Feel free to reach out by email or LI messages as well. I'm always happy to connect.
About Benjamin Payne
Benjamin is a knowledge management consultant at KMS Lighthouse.
From internal corporate use to customer self-service, Benjamin empowers companies to deliver consistent and accurate information to the people who need it, when they need it. With strong attention to proper strategy and best practices, Benjamin finds the solution that works specifically for each company he works with.