5 Ways Chatbots Are Redefining Customer Service

Posted by Alison Arthur on 04 Sep 2018

Chatbots are popping up in more places than ever, whether we realize it or not. From receiving personalized product recommendations to simply checking the news or local weather, bots are designed to deliver seamless on-demand experiences without relying on human intervention.

One of the most popular platforms for chatbots is Facebook Messenger. It’s estimated that some 300,000 chatbots are now on Facebook Messenger, facilitating approximately 8 billion messages per month between businesses and users. Facebook Messenger is far and away the most used messaging app, with almost twice the users of its nearest rival, Snapchat. Considering that 81% of adults ages 18-29 use Facebook, Facebook Messenger is a natural place for businesses to invest in chatbots to reach younger consumers.

With all the chatbots currently available on Facebook Messenger, what are some ways that businesses are using them to deliver better customer service experiences? Here’s a closer look at five different ways that chatbots are being leveraged to create positive brand interactions.

1. Facilitating personal banking

From Bank of America to Wells Fargo, banks are investing in chatbot technology to help serve their customers. Bots are being used to facilitate everything from balance transfers and credit report updates, to locating the nearest ATM. Chatbots can help make common banking transactions quick and seamless, helping customers resolve inquiries without intervention from customer service representatives. The result is a more personalized and on-demand experience for banking customers.

2. Paying bills

Chatbots are also being used in Facebook Messenger to facilitate bill payments across a variety of industries. From anticipated monthly charges associated with mortgages and auto finance payments, to unexpected bills related to healthcare expenditures, payments can now be made without leaving the Facebook Messenger app. Our chatbot Ella is a prime example. As part of our Orbipay electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution, Ella lets customers perform tasks such as making account inquiries, resolving issues, and paying bills. All within the convenient interface of Facebook Messenger.

3. Hailing rides

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber have introduced chatbots into Facebook Messenger as well. Customers can hail rides simply by using their existing Facebook Messenger accounts, meaning that they don’t need to sign in to a separate app. Riders are now able to request, view, and pay for their transportation directly via Facebook Messenger, making the process of hailing a ride simpler than ever.

4. Driving in-store visits…and sales

The retail beauty giant Sephora uses its Facebook Messenger chatbot to facilitate reservations for in-store makeovers. In a few easy steps, customers can choose a store location and book an appointment with a beauty professional. Using its chatbot to drive these in-store visits and one-on-one consultations have paid off for the company. Sephora reports in-store spending of over $50 for every service booked via Facebook Messenger.

5. Managing hotel reservations

Hotels are also leveraging chatbot technology in Facebook Messenger to service their customers from booking their reservations to settling their final bills. But the real power of these bots might just be in the personal touch they can provide guests throughout their stays. Chatbots can process everything from extra pillow requests to room service orders without tying up hotel staff, creating efficiencies for guests and employees alike. In addition, chatbots also give hotels a unique view into their guests’ preferences and behaviors. This data can be used to help identify upsell opportunities during guests’ stays and provide rich data to help personalize future visits.

What’s next?

Facebook Messenger is just the first frontier for chatbots in customer service. While typing requests through the interface is quick and easy, using voice commands is an even simpler way to deliver on-demand customer service. Intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant take chatbots to the next level by responding to voice commands and performing specific tasks, like paying bills. The result is a faster and more personalized customer service experience than ever before.

The Bottom Line: Customer service delivered via chatbots is a force too big to be ignored. Understand the touchpoints in your business where chatbots can be leveraged to create positive interactions through the channels your customers use most, like Facebook Messenger.

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Alison Arthur Product and Content Marketing Manager Alison creates timely product marketing and thought leadership content that keeps Alacriti's community informed on the latest developments in billing and payments technology. With a background in payments and financial services, Alison specializes in composing content related to technology, security, compliance, and overall industry trends.

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