Facebook introduced a new feature called “Bots for Messenger” that allows businesses to provide automated support to customers using these chatbots, which are not operated by humans. By sending a message to a company’s chatbot, you can make an order from them, request a service that they provide and much more, all from Facebook’s Messenger app. These bots will automatically reply back with structured responses which could be images, links etc.
Right now, there are currently thirty companies which have bots including 1-800-Flowers, Bank of America, Burger King / Tim Hortons, Business Insider, CNN, eBay, Expedia, Fandango, Great Western Railway / Conversocial, HealthTap, HP, LivePerson, Mic, Operator, OwnerListens, Philz Coffee, Poncho, Rogers, Salesforce, Shopify, Sonar, Spark Central, Spring, Staples, StubHub, theScore, Thrillist, ToyTalk, Twilio, UNICEF, Zalando, Zendesk and Zingle.
How to search and use chatbots in Facebook Messenger
Step 1: Make sure the Messenger app for Facebook is updated to the latest version.
Step 2: Launch the app, go to the Recents tab and search for a company’s bot you want to chat with. In my case, I have searched for ‘Shop Spring’.
Step 3: Available bots will appear under the ‘Bots and Businesses’ section. Keep in mind that not all of the results under this section are bots. It is a mix of business Facebook pages and bots. Tap and open the Shop Spring bot.
Step 4: Bots will usually have a welcome screen with a ‘Get Started’ button as shown below. Tap on Get Started to start chatting with the bot.
Step 5: The bot will now ask automated questions and based on your selections, it will respond appropriately. For instance, using the Shop Spring bot, you can view items for men and women and order the one you want.
For some bots, you can also send them a custom message after which they will try to figure out what you have said and serve your needs accordingly.
If you can’t find a company’s bot, you just have to hang on tight because chatbots were announced recently by Facebook and it will take time until companies develop their own bots and roll them out to Facebook.