Chatbots of all varieties are growing in popularity at a staggering pace. In a world where consumers are looking to make purchases faster than ever, businesses have had to rush to provide turnkey solutions that offer potential buyers what they need in record time; and this is where chatbots come in.

Facebook Messenger bots utilize AI in order to converse with potential clients. They can answer questions, harvest valuable information, and help convert leads into sales. Below, we’ll cover how these chatbots work, who should be leveraging them, and why they present an opportunity that few businesses can afford to miss. 

What are Facebook Messenger Bots?

Facebook Messenger bots are much the same as any other chatbot. Like most bots, they’re designed to help reach and retain leads who– for whatever reason– aren’t inclined to make contact with a company through other means. These individuals often have questions that they need answered before they’re willing to drop cash on your products and services; Facebook Messenger bots do the work of addressing those questions for you.

Facebook Messenger bots are chatbots like any other; they simply live exclusively in Facebook Messenger rather than having use around the web. These bots converse with leads to answer questions and provide information. They can be searched for by name in Facebook Messenger, but most businesses find that they need to promote their bots to customers in order to see maximum usage.

Who are Facebook Messenger Bots For?

Facebook Messenger bots can help businesses in a wide variety of industries address that gaps that keep them from meeting an array of goals. Whether your company is focused on cutting costs, using time more efficiently, identifying more leads, or connecting better with its audience, a Facebook Messenger bot can help make meeting your goals significantly easier.

Research has indicated that we’re almost four times more likely to open a Facebook Message than we are a marketing email. That means that if you’re using your bot to reach out to leads, you’ll probably see better results than you would through traditional marketing tactics like email campaigns. It also means that consumers who’ve had their interest piqued can open up a dialog and begin asking questions right away.

Let’s face it: today’s customers are demanding. They want (some may even say that they require) access to your company or to assistance nearly 24/7. With that being said, they don’t want to spend time stuck waiting on hold or dealing with the finer nuances of communicating with another human being– and thanks to chatbots, that’s okay! Your business’ Facebook Messenger bot will provide your company with a 24/7 service desk that tends to itself.

Who aren’t Facebook Messenger Bots For?

If you’re in a sector that involves a lot of complicated back-and-forth between clients and companies, a Facebook Messenger bot may not be the best choice for your business. There’s virtually always some way to leverage the powerful combination of AI knowledge and excellent software to benefit your business, but you’ll likely need to think a little harder to find those opportunities.

Facebook Messenger bots, like all chatbots, perform best when they’re tasked with answering simple questions with clear and concise responses. Businesses in industries which focus heavily on sensitive or classified information or convoluted processes may struggle to program Facebook Messenger bots properly or come up with enough usable questions and responses to be helpful.

How Much do Facebook Messenger Bots Cost?

The price of designing, developing, testing and testing a Facebook Messenger bot will vary wildly depending on your company’s needs and abilities. One company elected to analyze the costs of each chatbot built by them or their partners over the span of six months in 2017. Their findings are summarized below:

  • $1,500 to $2,000 for bots that required no coding; oftentimes, they were built using external platforms like Manychat
  • $2,000 to $3,000 for bots without coding, but which featured a few Zapier integrations (i.e. Google Drive)
  • $3,000 to $6,000 for chatbots with custom backends and minimal coding
  • $6,000 to $10,000 for chatbots featuring complex backends; usually integrated with existing systems
  • $10,000 to $15,000 for bots connected to third-party integrations; often used with sales tools and CRMs such as HubSpot or eCommerce platforms like Magento
  • $15,000 to $40,000 for AI customer support and customer service bots (often automate 20-50 FAQs)
  • $40,000 to $100,000+ for chatbots designed for enterprises; bots play into larger systems that involve dashboards and other features/capabilities

Facebook Messenger Bots Alternatives

There are a host of ways that you can integrate chatbots into your business’ website; and while these provide excellent opportunities to capture and convert leads, the fact of the matter is that there’s no direct alternative to using chatbots through Facebook Messenger. 

If you want to leverage the immense reach an audience that Facebook has amassed, a Facebook Messenger bot is your only option. Other alternatives make for excellent additional sales and customer outreach opportunities, but cannot be utilized within Messenger. 

Pros of Facebook Messenger Bots

  • Facebook Messenger bots are accessible time-savers for consumers and businesses alike. Potential customers won’t need to spend time waiting for their needs to be addressed and your business won’t need to spend time addressing them.
  • As many as 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger each month– in fact, it’s the third most-used app in the world. You won’t need to spend any time worrying that your business’ Facebook Messenger bot won’t be exposed to enough people. Most consumers indicate that messaging is one of their preferred ways to talk to businesses, too, which translates to a greater chance of success. 
  • Conversations can be redirected to amplify positive aspects of the business or subtly push consumers towards sales; not only that, but they can be physically removed from public spaces and carried out in private. This is especially beneficial in scenarios where a consumer has something negative to say

Cons of Facebook Messenger Bots

  • Bots will never replace the human touch. While communicating with other people can present its own social challenges (differences in the way we express ourselves, confusions about tone and inflection, and so on), some customers feel that bots are cold and impersonal. Some consumers seek empathy during the customer service experience
  • In the event that the Facebook Messenger bot can’t solve a customer’s issue, they may become more frustrated than if they’d just had to wait to speak to a human being. The lack of human interaction can be risky if you know customers may be left without answers of resolution after a chat
  • Users must be logged into Facebook in order for any of your Messenger bot efforts to pay off

Integrations 

There are a number of integrations that businesses looking to leverage Facebook Messenger bots can take advantage of. You can integrate with Hootsuite, Zendesk, Shopify, and a host of other tools designed to help craft a seamless consumer experience. Facebook has outlined the core platform components that present opportunities for integration here