Facebook has announced a new deal to acquire customer service automation platform Kustomer, which will provide more tools to help businesses manage their customer queries, especially via direct message.
Kustomer specializes in AI detection of customer queries, then either responding automatically, based on context, or re-routing messages to human service agents.
As per Kustomer:
"Our chatbots enable end-to-end resolution across chat, social and messaging applications to handle repetitive conversations and help customers view and their update information."
It essentially provides an advanced set of automation rules for message replies, which aims to reduce the amount of manual time spent on simple queries in order to maximize staff hours and response.
That, for Facebook, will provide specific benefit for DM customer service, with WhatsApp business being the main focus.
As per Facebook:
"Every day more than 175 million people contact businesses via WhatsApp. This number is growing because messaging provides a better overall customer experience and drives sales for businesses. To that end, we recently announced several API updates for WhatsApp and Messenger, allowing for further integration into our partners’ tools and faster onboarding to help businesses manage their communications with customers. That’s where Kustomer comes in."
Kustomer will enable businesses on WhatsApp to automate more of their interactions, while still ensuring that problematic or complex issues are dealt with quickly, via Kustomer's advanced processes for monitoring and managing your direct messages.
Business on WhatsApp will get more focus in 2021, especially in developing markets like India, where Facebook is working to expand its presence - and where WhatsApp is already the most used messaging app. If Facebook can expand its utility, and become a key platform for businesses in the region, that could put it in a position to see major growth in the Indian market, and become the essential tool for SMBs as the Indian economy looks to recover in the wake of COVID-19.
Facebook has already invested big in the region, buying a stake in mobile provider Jio, while it's also gained approval to expand WhatsApp Pay in the market, improving its payment tools. These new options will provide more ways for businesses to streamline their operations on the messaging platform - while Kustomer's tools will also have wide-reaching benefits for all brands looking to maximize their customer service efforts via message.
Facebook will provide more details as to how it will implement Kustomer's tools over time, including whether they'll be available for free, or businesses will need to pay for such. But they could provide a range of benefits.