Up until now we were used to Twitter being the ultimate customer service tool. Facebook, as the world’s biggest social network, is making fast steps towards acquiring a larger share of the pie though. And by debuting chatbots at its latest F8 event, that position is being strengthened.
Chatbots are programmed through Facebook Messenger’s Send/Receive API and they are able to send receive structured messages. Programmers who have been given access to chatbots will be able to implement them to send comprehensive messages which include images, text and even call-to-action buttons.
All you have to do is trigger the conversation through chat with a brand page on Facebook using natural language syntax. So far, there are numerous chatbots up and running, including one for CNN, Uber, 1-800-Flowers, Sure and Hi Poncho. These already give people information about the latest news, cars, restaurant reservation and weather updates.
Chatbots could prove to be very useful for e-commerce websites, or even news sites. This development comes as the natural extension of Facebook’s previous attempt in launching M, a virtual assistant on Messenger. Furthermore, at last year’s F8 conference, the social network had set a pretty clear target of taking the platform in a whole new business direction.
AI has been on Facebook’s radar for quite some time now. Mark Zuckerberg himself has declared his interest in debuting even more integrations that will bridge the virtual and physical world. So far, we have only seen a handful of campaigns taking advantage of the API and AI capabilities that the platform has to offer.
It makes sense for the social network to want to block related initiatives from competitors, such as Kik, which debuted a bot store recently, designed to give businesses a helping hand when it comes to customer service.
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