Why Facebook Messenger Will Lead the Next Customer Communication Revolution
In the last two decades businesses faced major challenges and opportunities as the Internet has shaped the way they communicate with customers. There have been the website revolution, app craze, and the powerful raise of social media. Things have been moving so fast that companies often struggle to catch up. It is difficult to tell another revolution from another empty obsession of the tech industry. When apps just appeared few businesses realized their true implications. However, being the first one with an app among competitors turned out to be a huge advantage. Recognizing a game-changer while it’s still young may make a tremendous impact on business. So the hot question is what’s the next opportunity to seize?
Facebook looks set to lead this revolution with its Messenger. It has a massive user base — now more than one billion users. This is rivaled only by WhatsApp, also a part of Facebook’s suite of apps.
Okay, it’s clear that Messenger is big and popular, but what does it have to do with businesses? Many businesses already have pages on Facebook and can sometimes contact customers via messages. “Nothing revolutionary there”, that’s what marketers may think unless they have heard something from the recent chatbots talks among hi-tech people.
What is the role of chatbots in this revolution? They can seamlessly match the product to the request of a customer. Instantly and through a familiar and friendly interface. No need to wait several hours until the customer support from the Facebook page, if any, replies to you. No need to browse the website, which may be particularly awkward from a mobile. No need to install or update another app.
It is already possible to imagine how customer relations of the future may be channeled through messaging apps with chatbots. Talking with bots will enable customers to discuss their needs and make orders in the messaging interface that they use and know. This will in many cases be faster and more natural than using a website or app. Over time this development will transform internet commerce as much as the website and app revolutions. Customers will use conversation with chatbots as one of the key ways to interact with a company online.
The chatbots revolution will happen because customers already spend most of their online time in messaging apps. Data from Business Insider show that people now use more time in messaging apps than on social networks.
Companies will have to response to this shift in customer habits by seeking them out where they are, that is in messaging apps. Therefore, companies will use chatbots as their company representatives, because they offer significant cost savings compared to employing humans.
This development would have happened faster if not for the stumbling block of bad and awkward chatbot AI. Earlier many chatbots lacked almost any contextual understanding and did their best to annoy users. Now better chatbot AI has greatly reduced this problem, and it keeps improving all the time. Many chatbots already provide a pleasant user experience, and may soon be little different from talking with an actual human. As the technology becomes more common users will also grow accustomed to talking with chatbots and learn their quirks.
Messenger couples this user base with extensive resources and a focus on developing a platform for chatbots and online commerce. Zuckerberg has recently said:
We think you should be able to message the businesses in the same way you message your friends.
Now, wouldn’t that be another revolution?