A decade ago emails revolutionized the way our generation communicated and a few years later came the next game changer- social networking websites. With a new generation of users storming the web, a new form of communication emerges. This generation shows an influence of young adults shifting from highly public social media networks like Facebook to private micro-networks like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, WeChat, and Telegram for their to day-to-day communication.
The combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks.
Messaging apps are a clear indication of the rapid emergence of different kinds of communication tools serving the next generation of online users. For most small business owners, they add to an already complex and varied landscape of marketing options. You might have just mastered SEO or optimized the best time to post on social media and now comes along this new ‘thing’ to figure out before its too late.
Numbers that need your attention
- 1 billion+ monthly active users on Facebook Messenger
- 1 billion+ messages are sent every month between Facebook Messenger and Business Pages
- $19 billion invested by Facebook to buy free texting app WhatsApp
- 2.5 billion+ people have at least one messaging app installed
- 3.6 billion people will have a messaging app installed in coming years
- 7 trillion messages were sent on WhatsApp in 2015
- 200 minutes were spent by an average user each week using WhatsApp in 2015
Why Chatbots deserve your attention
When in the recent Facebook F8 conference for developers, Mark Zuckerberg announced to the audience “Friends, You never have to call 1–800-Flowers again.” He wasn’t predicting the end of 1–800-Flowers, but the rise of chatbots. Chatbots are a gift of artificial intelligence or AI and new research based turing tests show that with everyday they seem to get more and more human like in their interaction.
Like Messenger is a significant part of Facebook, chatbots are going to become an inherent part of Messenger in the near future.
Facebook recently announced that it was presenting a platform for developers to create chatbots that live on Messenger. You will find a number of bots already up and running. You can struggle a bit to find them, as not all will appear when you search for them in the Messenger platform. The ones you might come across may have certain shortcomings but you have to realize that the bots offer a glimpse of future changes in how we search for information and interface with businesses.
What chatbots can do for you?
- Weather bot will let you know the weather whenever you ask.
- Grocery bot can assist you in picking out and ordering groceries.
- News Bot keeps you updated whenever something happens across the globe
- Life-advice bot can be your counsellor. You tell it your problems, and it will help you think of solutions.
- Personal finance bot will help you manage your money better.
- Scheduling bot helps schedule a meeting through your team on Facebook Messenger .
- A bot that’s can be your friend. Currently in China, there is a bot called Xiaoice (built by Microsoft) that has over 20 million people to talking to like a friend.
Chatbots are a big boon to small businesses or businesses run by one to two individuals. As attending customer queries and complaints takes up a big chunk of a their time. A chatbot would not only take care of that but also help them sort, choose and purchase your product all through messenger itself. Not just that, it also keeps an active database of each of your customers previous purchase and selection history , to help them make the next purchase.
The above cited examples are just a drop in the ocean compared to the assistance possibilities which a chatbot can provide you with. Facebook is onto embracing a new virtual customer assistant and so should you. Its easy, quick convenient and chatbots will only get more efficient and functional with time.