Conversations have always been a core part of commerce. What is emerging now at a rapid rate is the automated part of a customer’s journey from pre- to post-sales. This automation is birthing a new paradigm often referred to as “Conversational Commerce” and it’s forecast to be a multi-billion-dollar industry in less than ten years, according to an April report from MobileMonkey.

 

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“A sale isn’t made until a conversation is started. Marketers need to focus on creating conversations, not leads. Conversations create revenue.” —David Cancel, CEO Drift

 

More and more people are using online chatbots to start conversations with businesses. That includes people who work at companies of every size, sector and industry.

 

To help shed light on how chatbots are reshaping online experiences today, the teams at Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever came together to create The 2018 State of Chatbots Report. The report is based on a survey of 1,000+ U.S. adults.

 

Key findings include:

 

  • The top perceived benefit of chatbots is the ability to get 24-hour service, according to 64 percent of respondents
  • The second most popular benefit is getting an instant response to inquiries, said 55 percent of participants
  • Key decision-makers are using online chatbots: 41 percent of people starting online chat conversations with businesses are executives

 

A Messenger chatbot is a third-party software system that integrates with your Facebook business page and helps to automate responses when people send a private message to your Facebook page, via Messenger. Plus, within the Messenger terms, you can send broadcasts to those people who have begun a conversation with you. In an era when email open rates are declining, Messenger open rates can be as high as 90 percent, according to Chatbots Life.

 

There are numerous Messenger chatbot platforms on the market today. The one that I’m favoring and recommending is MobileMonkey. The Boston-based company is free to get started and they provide excellent customer care – including a toll-free phone number.

 

Installing a Messenger chatbot on your Facebook business page is quick and easy and can instantly give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

 

Various messages that you might want to automate include:

 

  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Common customer support or technical help questions
  • Directions to your store/business
  • Support navigating various product choices
  • Order confirmation and shipment tracking
  • Follow up once a parcel has arrived and ask for a product review
  • Make product recommendations

 

     Related Content: How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook

 

“Businesses are turning to Messenger to help their customers find the perfect gift, book appointments, get personalized deals, receive shipping updates and so much more.” —Andrew Kritzer, Product Manager, Messenger Platform.

 

Chatbots can help you to guarantee a great user experience by providing instant replies with pertinent information.

 

Here’s the key, though: don’t think online chatbots should ever be “set and forget.” One of my favorite options to include in a chatbot sequence is, “Talk to a human.”

 

A couple more notable stats from the 2018 State of Chatbots Report include:

 

  • 43 percent of consumers said they prefer dealing with an actual person (this was the No. 1 potential barrier to using chatbots, which makes sense)
  • 34 percent of respondents say they would use a chatbot to find a human customer service assistant

 

     Related Content: How Good Is Your Customer Service? Here Are 6 Steps to Find Out

 

So, look for ways to use a Messenger chatbot that can partially automate the customer experience. Your chatbot should augment and supplement your community managers and online customer support teams, not replace them.

 

For a comprehensive resource, check out The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce by Matt Schlicht, founder of Chatbots Magazine.

And, if you’re looking for some helpful ideas to get started, here are 20 Examples of Facebook Messenger Chatbots to Inspire You in 2018.

 

     Related Content: Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

 

About Mari Smith

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

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