The writing has been on the wall, yes on the Facebook wall too, in the form of “Direct Messages” – the private messages that users have been sending to businesses to interact with them. Socialbakers, the social media management company studied 256 companies and looked at 3.1 million private messages and 1.5 million Facebook wall posts. The numbers show that people prefer to interact with companies on one-to-one basis.
Private messages were about five times the volume of wall posts. Hidden behind the walls of Facebook, the real interaction of the customers with the businesses happens via Direct Messages. The scenario is similar on all chat and networking platforms. Direct messaging channels of twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp are far more busier than the public walls or open timelines.
According to eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark Survey when different customer service channels were compared, it was found that Live Chat with 73% was the most satisfactory channel followed by email at 61% and App at 53%.
These numbers clearly show that there is a need for a better communication channel –something akin to a private live chat, between businesses and their customers. Something that engages on one-to-one basis. And Chatbots fit in the requirement smartly. Chatbots help businesses engage in a better way with clients. A business provides the services of its Chatbot via a chat interface of a messaging app.
The chatbot thus lives in major chat platforms of Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Telegram or Slack. It makes perfect sense that bots inhabit the ecosystem of messaging or chat platforms as Messaging Apps have surpassed the social networks in terms of number of users. Businesses need to be where their customers are and the customers are on messaging apps.
Kik has this interesting video about bots that you must watch.
So what exactly are bots?
Bots are software that conduct automated interactions with people in real time. These micro applications live inside your chat apps. They are interactive apps (called Bots to avoid confusion) within an app. Instead of communicating with your favourite shopping etailer or a pizza delivery center via apps, you can communicate with them through chatbots in a messaging app (provided the said etailer and the pizza delivery center have developed and integrated chatbots in there to respond to you).
People want to talk to businesses like they talk to their friends. They want quick personalised responses. Engaging and re-engaging with bots is easier. For businesses, it makes more sense to talk to their customers directly via chatbots. People have too many apps on their smartphones and they are not interested in installing any more apps.
So, are these chat apps and messaging Apps like Facebook messenger, Telegraph and Slack now bot platforms with their own OS ?
Yes. Businesses have a great opportunity. They can be in the friendly chat space where users spend a lot of time talking to their friends and family. They can now build chatbots for platforms like Facebook Messenger, Telegraph, Slack or Kik.
What is conversing with a bot like?
It is like talking to a person who knows your name and a few other details. Bots are not very fluent in interactions as of now. They are slowly entering the marketing and customer support space. As time goes by our experience with a bot can only get better and better.
Here is what a CNN bot on Facebook messenger looks like.
And the weather bot Poncho in Facebook Messenger which can answer most of your questions, if not all.
What do bots do?
Bots converse through messages. They can read and write messages. They are programmed to carry out automated actions. Bots can respond to requests from users and they can also initiate action. Food bots can bring your dinner. E-commerce bots can help you buy shoes and other apparels. Banking bots can provide financial service. Weather bot can tell you about weather. Content bot will share content. Watcher bots will remind you to send your car to car washer. Business processes and workflow bots will help you at work. The sky is the limit here.
Who is building these bots?
The companies that built quality apps are now making bots for different businesses. They have evolved automatically and naturally towards bot development. They have been providing quality bot development services.
What are the advantages of developing a bot ?
There are several advantages of developing a bot for your business. Let’s discuss them.
#Bots Solve the App Retention Problem
The space on a user’s phone is at premium. There simply isn’t enough space for more apps. You can build bots for clients on a chat platform. You would be able to connect to your users directly. You don’t need to worry about the number of installs and uninstalls in the same way. No need to scramble your brains over deep links or meta tags to get to the top of the app store. It will be easily discoverable.
#Integrating With an App Helps With Discoverability
Launching a new app is far more tedious than launching a bot. According to comScore’s 2015 U.S. Mobile App Report most of the app users spend their maximum number of smartphone minutes in the top 3 apps they like, and out of these 3 apps one app invariably is a messaging app. To get to the users, integrating with that one messaging app which occupies a premium space on user’s smartphone and in user’s mind will be the right strategy. It will help with the discoverability.
An average smartphone user is happily busy with the top 3 apps he has chosen to engage with. The users may never discover or install the new app you build for your business.
#No Need to develop different bots for different Operating Systems
Bots work in the same way on all the phones. They interact with all the users in the same way. No need to develop and upload different bots for iOS or Android or web.
Yes you could make bots for different chat platforms though. One for Slack, one for Facebook messenger and so on, to reach all your customers.
#Updating a bot will be simpler
Compared to updating an app, updating a bot will be simpler. The process will provide more controls in the hands of bot developers and bot publishers. However a lot remains to be seen and not to forget the whole of bot-scape is currently evolving. As a bot publisher you can however learn constantly from the interactions and iterate your bot and update it.
Bots operate in the environment chat users are already familiar with. The interface is simple too. There isn’t a big learning curve. All these factors will ease the process of bot adoption. The best part is most people spend a lot of time on messaging apps so there will be better engagement. To talk to a brand they would not need to open another app or access a website, all they would need are a few taps on their smartphone and they can be directly connected to the brands and businesses they want to connect to. The best part is businesses will be able to talk to their clients spread across the world, 24×7. There will not be any geographical or time zone hindrances.
#Helping Live Chat & CRM teams
Managing interactions with customers – both current and future has always been an important task. With bots in the picture, Live Chat and CRM teams can take a step back and let automated bot responses take care of the initial processes and other repetitive tasks. They will be more efficient by choosing to step in and focus on more complex matters as and when needed. Bots add one more helpful layer to the CRM processes.
#Easier to use
Everytime a user needs to order food, get a taxi, buy clothes with the help of apps, he has to open the app, and then tap and tap to get to the right page, complete the transaction and get all that he needs. Not to forget he needs to download and install all those apps to begin with. Then there is the sign-up process for each app before a user can use it.
With bots, there is no need to download or install. No separate sign-up process required either. All you need is a messaging app. Bots of different businesses that provide you services you need are in that one app waiting for your ‘Hello’ to start conversations.
How can OpenXcell help?
OpenXcell, a leading app development company has all the technical chops in place to develop a bot for your business. OpenXcell has a good understanding about the technology that goes into bot development process. Instead of making an entire app, you can now make a bot for popular platforms such as Telegram, Slack or Facebook to interact, engage and even transact with your users. OpenXcell can help you with Telegram bot development, Slack bot development and Facebook bot development.
#Telegram Bot Development
Telegram is one of the most popular messaging apps with an active user base of more than 62 billions. It has a high MAU and high retention and is proving to be a good bot platform. Telegram bots can be integrated with other services such as YouTube bot, IMDB bot etc. You can read more about Telegram bot development here.
#Slack Bot Development
Slack has a huge DAU base of more than 1.7 million users. It can target high value users. Slack is a very important platform for many organizations which makes it a very valuable platform for businesses to develop bots on. There is scope for developing bots for a myriad of functionalities. You can read more on Slack bot development here.
#Facebook Messenger Bot Development
It has over 900 million users. Almost everyone is on Facebook. If your business needs to stay connected to customers, you should have a Facebook bot. According to Facebook’s messaging platform, Messenger’s head of product Stan Chudnovsky, there are more than 10,000 developers building bots for messenger. You should be there too. Read about Facebook bot development here.
The bots-scape will continue to evolve and the bots will continue to get smarter and smarter. If you have a business which needs to be where your customers are – you should consider building a bot for one of these messaging/chat platforms. Explore the possibilities. You can read more on messaging bots here.
The bots that are already with us on different platforms are on Botlist here. If you have any questions about bot development, if you want to talk to our experts – call us or you can send your queries here.