Bots are like auto-reply messages. Particular conditions trigger actions from a bot whether you’re using it within Facebook Messenger or any other application that needs to interact with people. Web chat applications already have customized bots that people can use to automate certain aspects of business communication. Whilst many will still prefer to use Relentlessly Positive to train human interactions, these bots could prove helpful in many manners.
According to this Verge update, Facebook has incorporated capabilities so that developers can build bots for Facebook Messenger. Facebook is aggressively working towards enabling people to run mobile apps and do shopping within the social networking messenger. And when it comes to shopping and running business, and automated chat interface can be indispensable.
What exactly is a bot in terms of using it within a chat messenger?
It is a small program that responds to particular actions and queries. Siri is a bot although a fancier word for it is “digital personal assistant”. Google Now is a bot. Basically a bot is a small piece of software that can help you automate certain type of tasks, for example bringing up information about a particular product when the name of that product appears within the chat or when a particular FAQ is asked.
In terms of Facebook Messenger, as mentioned above, Facebook is encouraging people to carry on business transactions from within the messenger, it means customers will be asking questions from companies and individuals providing services and products. Most of these questions can be answered by a bot – a program that responds to certain queries or certain strings within the queries.
So with these new capabilities, a mobile application development company building business apps that can run within Facebook Messenger, will also be able to incorporate bot-supported responses.
This New York Times article gives an example of how you would use bots to interact with your favourite business within Facebook Messenger. There is a company called Spring that sells shoes. When you want to buy a pair of shoes, you ask for a preferred price range and the company immediately presents you with a smattering of choices. If you don’t like the choices, it will show you different options.
As a customer you may think that you are talking to a human being representing Spring. It is not. It is a piece of software called chat bot that is simply responding to the sort of queries you are making.
Facebook announced the arrival of chat box within Facebook Messenger at its annual F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco. The company said it was opening up Messenger so that any outside company could create a bot capable of interacting with people through the chat program.
According to the New York Times link mentioned above, there are way over 900 million regular monthly users of Facebook messenger and more than 15 million businesses have their official brand pages on Facebook that would be ready to open up outlets within Facebook Messenger.
Providing real-time support is a big part of doing business and normally you have to hire multiple people, costing you lots of money. If you can run bots within Facebook Messenger there is no need to hire actual people to answer questions that can be easily answered by a bot. Good move.