Alex Pokatilo, founder at Nerdy Bot, co-founder at Nerdy Tutors, active investor in EdTech world is discussing the Messenger possibilities in business and people’s post-purchase behavior.

Business use of Messenger: who and how

Facebook Messenger is no longer just a nice place for private conversation with your friends. The chat has been gradually transforming into increasingly interesting and prospective tool. And brands are gladly bouncing this idea off. Now messaging application connects users with businesses. Royal Dutch Airlines KLM was among the first companies to establish partnership with Facebook since “Business on Messenger” was officially announced several years ago. The clients use chat window to store boarding passes, flight updates, reminders, automated check-in procedure and a number of other useful things far beyond regular customer service functions. 24/7 customer support via live chat helps passengers to address the issues. Any place, any time.

Hyatt Corporation introduced its Messenger customer support channel in 2015 and appreciated the pleasures almost immediately (the annual report figures spoke for themselves). Furthermore, the chat window multiplied the guest request numbers by twenty. Let’s take Uber. Well, yes — much controversy from here to there. However, the online ride service earned its own place among these examples. The customers were given a chance to book a ride through Messenger, while chatting with friends. No Uber app needed. All the information — cost, expected arrival time — is displayed and can be shared with friends. The younger audience, Muppets fans in particular, can talk to their favorite characters. This sort of changed the character blogging concept.

In addition to online shopping and customer support Messenger can endow businesses with extra convenience. From a certain slant the platform can be regarded as mechanism for accumulation and analysis of data. Thus, messenger helps to detect local businesses via locations mapping. Finance is also a domain where customers want to access their banks at a moment’s notice. On the other hand, there are market participants who use the Messenger enhancements in order to connect with customer and provide him with rich experience. The convenience of paying comes hand in hand with personalization. Basically, financial service companies are now like technology providers. And here private information security is at the core of customer loyalty.

Why use Messenger?

Facebook Messenger has come into people’s lives to change the interaction manner between the user and the data or online service. Today’s consumer is tech-savvy and sophisticated: we need no less than two-way interaction with businesses. Simultaneous developments in the AI and people’s minds have led to conversational commerce phenomenon, where conversation itself is a new platform.

Speaking about the messaging in business-customer relationships, people use app for a number of purposes. Depending on the business domain Messenger chatbot can assist the client as the customer service, social advocacy and emotional support, information provision about the product and entertainment. Chatbots can serve as personal virtual assistants or stewards, helping user through the specific tasks. They are convenient and immediate and are now seen by many as the Trojan Horse of online content exploration.

What motivates people to use Messenger? Despite being armed with numerous devices we need those devices and applications to speak human language. And efficiency is not a compromise at all. Chatbots are productive. They provide speed, ease and convenience. Chatbots spare the user of having to talk to representatives and managers in the flesh.

Messenger for business: the possibilities

We should take a look at the contrast between the past non-digital experience and messaging options. First and foremost, the latter can resolve the issues in a blink of an eye. Literally. Actually, this is the reason people tend to post complaints to Twitter or Facebook — the reaction follows immediately. Historically it took a while to find the customer support number, make a call and wait for the response.

Messaging provides an option of creating, modifying and upgrading customer queries. Facebook Messenger is operated as an outlet for reaching people prior to making booking, order or purchase. Being a proactive customer service, messenger helps business to get out in front to solidify the relationship. This is the key to positive experience in the long run. Communication with the client is fulfilled via automatic instant replies and traditional expectation is rooted out.

Messenger’s prospect is to become the application for everything. That is why integrating payments capabilities into Messenger revolutionizes the platform and the chatbots as a result. Let’s take App Store as an example: in-app payments did change a lot. Although chatbots in messenger offer brands a way to reach customers in a scalable, personalized manner, for many, the appeal ends there. Thus, adding payment capabilities to messaging not only increases usage of the chatbot, but also increases revenue to a great extent.

Our experience with Messenger

Nerdy Bot was created by Nerdify as a smart Facebook Messenger bot. Nerdy Bot operates in the Edtech area and its calling is to deal with college-related tasks via Messenger. Artificial intelligence is the basis of instant response to simple questions. It works on advanced requests such as solving math equations, plotting graphs, looking up definitions, and finding historical events.

While other bots still sound unnatural and mimic human language, Nerdy Bot’s speech is plain and friendly, and this feature is attained through the use of open source and proprietary NLP engines. That is why Nerdy Bot can easily and quickly recognize the question and react accordingly.

The calling of Nerdy Bot is to wean the students off using Google as the main search tool. Tons of irrelevant data is simply the waste of time. Basically, Nerdy Bot gives a chance to weed out the links which do not contain the answer to a specific question. It is our strong belief that artificial intelligence can significantly improve and optimize the educational process, raising effectiveness and productivity. However, AI should not be regarded as the panacea that will work on its own. Because it will not work this way. Coherent cooperation between AI and ‘human touch’ will make things happen.

Tips to keep in mind

Chatbots, truly new-gen tech, are expected to become an essential attribute of 80% of businesses by 2020. So, no more waiting. It is high time to absorb the trend, provided the product complies with the requirements. A few points to remember while developing chatbot:

– The customer of today loves tech just as much as exploring it. The task is not to disappoint the user. Ensure the chatbot is providing fine linguistics and well-defined tasks. The product must be bug-free and works seamlessly on any device.

– Fact: chatbots will never become a substitute for people. So just deal with it. Chatbots are there for assistance: they are able to determine client’s initial query.

– Chatbots do come in handy in terms of cutting the operational costs. They work 24/7 and will not ask you to increase their salaries. To be serious, chatbots are saving 29% of customer support service costs. Chatbots are applied for the repetitive tasks and provide lucrative productivity from the human employees’ investment.

– Chatbots require consistent assessment and optimization. In fact, tracking the progress and working on the product enhancement is the core success factor of any product. Chatbots are to be estimated with regards to linguistic capabilities, ability to retrieve relevant information.

– In case proper cybersecurity is not provided, chatbots are the pervasive equivalent of man-in-the-middle cyberattacks. Private channels are secure, however, a user would not give their personal information and bank accounts. So, the key advantage of chatbots — is to be able to cross the channels in order to collect the data required for the task. Encryption employment ensures data protection both — in motion and at rest.

The hype around these chatbots is not without a reason. Organizations do realize the huge potential and vast array of possibilities, but before jumping into the ‘bot pool’ it is essential to analyze the product quality. Chatbots converse like humans and people love it. But this naturalness is backed by massive technological framework with security and precision among its pillars.