So, what makes and breaks the best Facebook Messenger chatbots out there? In this article, you discover common themes great chatbots share. See, Messenger bots launched in Spring 2016. 2 years later, in 2018, there were 300,000+ active Facebook Messenger chatbots already. These bots were facilitating over 8 billion messages between customers and businesses monthly! Amazing, right? One of the main reasons why chatbots became so popular was their ability to leverage FB’s 2 billion+ MAU. And so, Facebook’s chatbots had an outright advantage over other bots. Especially when integrated given tech like AI… As these work best with big data, something that Facebook has in plenty. So, it’s no wonder FB’s bots can deliver 80%+ better engagement than other channels, like email.
It’s this (and more) that makes Messenger a crucial part of any marketing strategy today. That said, not all Facebook Messenger chatbots are great… But, the ones that tower above the rest do have some common features.
Here’s what’s common about the best Facebook Messenger chatbots today:
Features Of The Best Facebook Messenger Chatbots
Unmatched NLP integration
It’s not enough for a Facebook chatbot to use trigger keywords anymore. This tech must be integrated into your bot to stand out with a functional purpose. The best Facebook chatbots use 2 leading AI technologies; machine learning and NLP. While the 2 technologies can work on their own, they deliver an unmatched chatbot experience. If you’re able, integrate your chatbot with NLP (DialogFlow). NLP allows your Messenger bots to understand natural language patterns and derive intent. NLP makes it possible to train your bot to respond to related questions and keywords… instead of individual phrases and questions. Basically, adding the human touch to conversations.
Machine learning makes it possible for bots to identify patterns in datasets. Then, it can use those patterns to make decisions linked to previous actions. NLP is the reason why the best Facebook Messenger chatbots can offer the most relevant and accurate answers. The bots can learn directly from interactions, a live agent’s actions and responses to different situations. They have a better capacity to offer more human-sounding responses than typical bots. These bots can apply AI to complex multi-stage dialogue.
Chatbots which offer repetitive one-word responses are annoying. The best messenger bots incorporate randomized and automatic pass-through responses eliminating robotic-sounding conversations. They have a wide variety of response options for users to select, depending on factors like intent and responses. This makes the bots usable. Unlike typical bots, the best Facebook chatbots keep attracting repeat usage.
The best bots have simulated emotional intelligence. They can sense a user’s mood/feelings and adjust responses accordingly. For instance, instead of responding bluntly to an FAQ… they will include phrases like “I am sorry” when they sense a frustrating problem such as a flight cancellation inquiry.
Seamless Escalation to a Real Live Chat agent
The best Facebook Messenger chatbots are also capable of escalating questions to real support agents. While AI-powered chatbots can answer any FAQ you can think of, bots do get “stuck” sometimes. Users with complex problems need to take to fellow humans. The best bots don’t make customers go “round in circles”. Nope, the smartest bots understand customer sentiment. They can sense complex problems beyond their scope. This way, bots can escalate those problems fast and quickly without frustrating customers.
The best Facebook Messenger chatbots won’t force a frustrated customer to restate their issues… Let alone, having them connect to a different channel. Many bots have a problem making complex escalations. It can hurt CX and brand reputation if customers are “left hanging” for too long. What’s cool is that NLP makes it possible for immediate, seamless escalation of issues. This includes specific trigger keywords that give subscribers direct live support from a real human.
This capability is possible for bots integrated with a back-end knowledge base and CRM. Instead of customers being forced to restate their issues… the human agent gets a detailed context of every escalated chat so they can offer immediate help. The best bots will not only escalate to a live agent. They also give other options, such as email or phone communication. This works well for users who no longer wish to continue chatting.
Great Messenger chatbots are more than question-answer tools. One distinct feature of Messenger bots that stand out is their ability to broadcast. Broadcasting messages has been proven to boost open rates, especially within the first hour. Your Facebook Messenger chatbot suite of choice should have the option to broadcast many people at once. If it has segmenting options and conditions, even better! Broadcasting is an effective way of maximizing exposure and engagement with customers.
The best bots are also CRM ready. They can be integrated seamlessly with existing CRMs to enable them to perform real-time actions. Actions such as helping customers change passwords and perform other support tasks. Typical bots don’t purpose to make CRM easier. Instead of only acting as a FAQ tool, the best chatbots free up time by handling many tasks in a simplified manner. Tasks that usually take many steps are fast and easy when the best bots are in the picture.
The best Messenger chatbots are also GDPR compliant. This is critical, especially for businesses that serve international markets. The GDPR, implemented in 2018 by the EU, is there to safeguard customer data and privacy. Besides putting customer data and privacy at risk… businesses using non-compliant bots risk fines that can amount to €20.000.000. GDPR compliance dictates that personal data be used for stated purposes only. GDPR guidelines also need customers to be given access to their data. The best bots meet these guidelines. They are also used alongside updated privacy policies. Clepher
A chatbot needs a personality to stand out. While it’s enough to have a bot that has a clean appearance and delivers straight answers… such bots don’t enjoy a competitive advantage. The best Facebook Messenger chatbots are designed with uniqueness in mind. The design process begins with matching the identity of the bot with its actions. A classic example is Facebook’s Poncho Chatbot (RIP). This was a weather chatbot with a unique persona. It even could understand what was shown on an image. It also was knowledgeable, friendly, and trustworthy.
Besides having different visual aspects… The best bots have different communication styles that match the brand image. Plus, the bot talks about the language of the target audience. They are also designed to interact like a friend chatting with another friend in a messaging app. You can enhance chatbot personality as well. You do this by having different versions of the same bot and split-test the conversations.
Complex technology is a turnoff for many people. Designers of the best bots understand this very well, which is why they go to great lengths to offer simple UI/UX. The best bots are text-driven with widgets and images to allow a smooth interaction with customers.
Simple interfaces are inviting. When combined with easy-to-use features, they make chatbots that are effortless to use. Instead of interfaces packed with graphics, simple texts and images are enough. The best Messenger bots in the future will offer hybrid messaging and GUI experiences. Adding structured images and content to conversations increases the possibility of interactions.
The best bots also incorporate augmented reality (AR). AR is now on Facebook Messenger and Instagram. AR makes it possible for customers to have a closer look at products. For instance, it’s possible to try out shoes, lipstick, or eyeshadow. Customers can also include AR camera effects like those on Snapchat.
When users talk with the best Facebook Messenger bots with AR capabilities, they can get prepopulated filters from the brand. Pictures and videos made using AR effects can be added to a Facebook story… or shared with other friends on Messenger.
The best Facebook bots incorporate the subscription feature, which is a critical part of any marketing strategy. Subscription Messaging allows businesses to send content like News and personal Trackers. The best bots can schedule subscription messages periodically. The Subscription Messaging API hook is only reserved for News Sites like CNN or BBC nowadays. But, that doesn’t mean you can still set some sort of a Subscription Feature in your bot. You only need to be a bit more creative. With the One Time Notification setup, you can be as creative as you can be.
Pro Tip: Users should also be able to opt-out if they don’t want to continue receiving messages.
Lastly, the best Facebook Messenger chatbots are also knowledge-centered. GDPR guidelines aren’t enough. KCS friendly bots ensure organizational knowledge according to specific guidelines. KCS helps bot creators have a roadmap for making ethical and helpful bots that improve over time.
That said. You now know what the best Facebook Messenger chatbots have in common. Now it’s time to focus on the mistakes to avoid when you design your own bot:
Common Facebook Messenger Chatbot Mistakes to Avoid
Look, you can have all the for mentioned features of the best bots in your new bot. But, this doesn’t mean you can still fail miserably because of poor planning. Designing a Facebook messenger bot is like building a house. You need to have a purpose, a goal if you will, first.
So, what is the purpose of your bot?
When you answer this question, you can focus on the design aspects. To do this, you must prepare a blueprint. If you don’t plan, your chatbot building experience will be confusing. It may also miss the goal in the end.
Go here for a unique Guide. Join the Facebook Group, and go to the Files Section. Look for a PDF called “Give Your Chatbot a Soul”, thank me later!
A plan will help you assess your needs for a bot. You should proceed only if the bot were beneficial to you/your business. A great purpose for a bot can be managing an overflowing inbox. If your business gets countless questions from customers. And 80% of the answers to those questions can be automated, you will benefit from a bot. But, the bot needs to engaging and focused on answering individual questions at a time. No point in a bot resembles a website FAQ section. Bots should be designed to build relationships. They should be customer-first.
A Facebook Messenger chatbot builder like Clepher takes care of everything. You should use this tool to design your chatbot. Clepher will help you identify points of confusion and dead ends in your bot design. You will also be able to achieve your goals easier than you would do it yourself. You must plan to the end, from the bot’s purpose and what you hope your bot should look like and do in the end.
Tasking your user
The best messenger bots are easy to use. If you make your users work too hard, you will have failed to meet one of the most important reasons for having a bot. The last thing any bot designer wants is to confuse users and waste their time and effort. Bots should be like super-attentive assistants.
When designing a bot, you must think of this intelligent aspect. Chatbots shouldn’t leave users wondering what assistance they require, let alone what they should do next. Users who need to “work” to get help will leave. Exceptional bots don’t have dead ends. There should be a clear next step to be taken at any given time; otherwise, users will be left wondering how to proceed with the conversation.
You should design the bot to offer quick replies, galleries, buttons, save user input plug-ins that can be used. What’s more, any content that is offered should be accompanied by a step forward. This should be done even to the last blocks in your flow. For instance, you can add a button taking users to your FAQs or main menu in case they want more assistance. You should also consider giving explicit instructions to newbie users, I.E., instructing them how to navigate. For instance, it helps to include a message like “tap the button/s below”.
Lack of an unsubscribing option
However useful you think your bot is, you must make it easy for users to unsubscribe. In fact, failing to include unsubscribe is against Facebook’s policies. Some users will want to opt-out of your bot. You must make such requests easy for them; otherwise, you risk damaging your brand. Disgruntled users can report your bot or page to Facebook. And this can lead to restrictions or blocking of your page in extreme cases.
The best Facebook Messenger bots are designed to offer proper conversations. They don’t make users feel uninvolved, detached, or unimportant. Bots that monopolize conversations irritate and make users walk away. It’s like talking with a person who often cuts you short when you are talking and barely listens to what you are saying.
Bots should be designed for two-way dialogue. Long sentences or texts that require little to no input from users won’t be useful. Your bot should encourage frequent interaction from users. Use Quick replies and buttons! People love clicking and tapping things. QRs and buttons shouldn’t be preserved solely for gathering information or navigating. They can be used for user interaction, and they should. Phrases like “Tell me more!” Or “I see!” can be incorporated for simple engagement.
Preserve big blocks of text for your website or blog. Remember, bots are short-form. Text within bots should be brief and concise. The messages should also be eye-catching and engaging (images, emojis, and GIFs can be used for this). There should also be many user engagement options between messages. The more you keep interactions going and engaging, the more sales you make.
Poor user testing before launching
Bots are bound to have bugs or UX issues when they are deployed. This is common with all product development processes. But, this doesn’t mean you launch a bot that isn’t tested. Bots should undergo vigorous user tests to ensure they work perfectly. You can even have your users test your bot and provide feedback. You can then use this feedback to make edits. Involving users in the testing stage makes them feel privileged. It also allows you to collect insightful information. Bots should be treated like any other builds. They should include user research, user testing, and iteration phases.
In the past, most businesses use Messenger bots in a “spammy” way. While Facebook Messenger bots offer some of the best opportunities… overdoing sales and promotions does more harm than good. It’s meant to be a conversational platform, after all. Messaging is intimate. Especially when done through the same platform used to communicate with family and friends. Spammy chatbots are a marketing nuisance. They also end up being banned when users report them. To avoid this mistake, target users who have proactively reached out. Never send unsolicited messages because you have an open channel with potential customers. That said, on the 4th of March, 2020… Facebook pushed new policies that make spamming with bots near impossible.
Abandoning your bot after setting it up
Lastly, and perhaps a weird tip… Treat a bot like a Blog. Meaning, keep going back and updating, making tweaks, and fixing issues. While the best Facebook Messenger chatbots need little to no input after being set up… you need to check on your bot at least once every week or risk missing out on many opportunities. And, if you have ads/promotions, you’ll need to check the progress. Regular checks will also reveal bottlenecks. Think of bottlenecks, such as why some users are abandoning the bot. You also stand to gain direct feedback from users.
The Best Facebook Messenger Chatbots in Conclusion
Now, there are other common Facebook Messenger bot mistakes. The truth is that there is no real “cast-in-stone” rule that makes your bot the best Facebook Messenger chatbot. If you avoid the above mistakes… and include the best bot features discussed above… you are bound to end up with the best Messenger chatbot for your business! And to get there fast and easy… Use the best Facebook Messenger chatbot builder available, Clepher. Clever is designed with the best features and safeguards against common mistakes. See you on the other side!