Facebook’s annual global developer conference was held in San Francisco on the 12th and 13th of April. As planned, Facebook announced the launch of their much awaited bot store. But that’s not all! Facebook also announced new features for their different apps and Mark Zuckerberg talked about Facebook’s roadmap for the next ten years. As for customer experience, here is a recap of the key announcements made by David Marcus, Vice President of product for Messenger on the subject:
It’s time to bring back interactions at the heart of commerce
Day 1: David Marcus, VP of product for Messenger, tells us about the evolution of commerce:
Before the internet era, every single transaction had to go through a conversation between merchants and their customers. You had to talk to someone in order to get what you needed. Then, came the web and eCommerce. They changed our purchasing habits, they created a rupture between merchants and consumers. Before you always had the possibility to rely on someone in stores, but now, you are left alone in front of your computer. Consumers lost the connection they had with merchants. Therefore, Messenger’s challenge is to bring back interactions at the heart of commerce.
It’s now quite difficult for brands to know where their consumers are: we do not live in the age of the web anymore. A couple years ago, we entered the age of mobile and we are currently living in the age of applications, more specifically, the age of messaging apps. Therefore, brands are currently facing a major challenge, that of ubiquity. Brands have understood that they have to build a strong connection with their online consumers: they have to interact with them just like they interact with consumers in stores. That’s why they try to be present for their online consumers via different channels: emails, live chat, social media, messaging apps, etc. But being available on every single device and every single channel at the same time is impossible for them. That’s why Messenger’s ambition is to gather brands’ online customer service within its application, both available on mobile and desktop apps.
Key elements for brands to succeed
According to Messenger, here are the 4 criteria that show why companies using the Messenger app to interact with their customers will succeed:
- The immediacy of interactions
- Persistent identity
- The personalization of messages according to the users’ context
- An intuitive interface that is well-known by most users
With more than 50 million active companies on Facebook Pages and one billion private messages sent every month between companies and customers, integrating Messenger in customer experience was the logical next step for Facebook.
If some people are still questioning the value of yet another customer service channel for companies and their customers, the figures speak for themselves. No doubt that, among Messenger’s 900 million active users, a large majority will be happy to test these new features. That’s why Facebook will deploy Messenger globally and will help companies develop their conversational commerce.
The Messenger Platform and the Bot Store
Today, the API “Bots for Messenger” is available in beta test. Companies can start creating bots. Facebook has created a guide to help them do it. We are currently in the first stages of a new age in which customers will be able to ask questions and interact with bots when questions don’t require the expertise of humans: that is to say 20% of conversations.
To ensure smooth customer experience, three features are integrated to a rich interface: the identification of the conversational bot, replies in the form of sentences and call-to-action buttons.
Thanks to these elements, conversational commerce enables visitors to:
- Research brands they want to interact with on the bot store
- Receive rich and accurate information (photos, description, prices of products…)
- Do actions without effort: “Buy this item”, “See more products”, “browse between products”…
“We really believe, in order to create a better experience, you need a hybride approach of conversational elements and UI” David Marcus – VP of Product for Messenger @Facebook
Human management of customer service
What if you don’t want your customers to talk to bots? What if you want your customers to interact with humans? In addition to the bot store, Messenger wants to help companies improve their customer service. The Messenger app, already available for any company that want to interact with its customers, will enable brands to have the same features, whether they have a bot or not.
Thanks to Messenger’s rich interface, you can offer all the elements of an eCommerce website to your customers within their favorite messaging app. Templates are available for companies in order for them to personalize the interface as they want and build customer loyalty.
All customers are identified and registered to create a long-term relationship with their favorite brands. Messenger has built a tool that enables companies to link their customers’ phone number to a Messenger account.
The Messenger team has developed call-to-action buttons that enable customers to interact with brands in Messenger to help them engage with customers and acquire more of them. You will be able to integrate them on your website, application, emails or even on Facebook Ads. Therefore, it becomes very easy to encourage your customers to act and engage in conversation.
By opening their API to some partners, Messenger is entering the age of conversational commerce platforms. Brands will be able to handle all the interactions they have with their customers within the Messenger application. That’s why iAdvize chose to integrate Messenger within its conversational commerce platform. Thanks to iAdvize, companies have a unique conversational display on which they can manage all the real-time interactions they have with their customers.