Ever since Facebook announced the release of their Messenger Bots platform at their most recent F8 conference, brands have been falling all over themselves in an attempt to reach the platform's 900 million users for sales, marketing, and customer service purposes.
The following ten brands are experimenting with Messenger Bots in various ways, providing examples as to how your brand could also utilize the option in your wider marketing and customer service efforts.
The hotel chain Hyatt is one of the first brands to use Messenger for customer service, using the option as a way to have meaningful conversations with guests in a closed, private environment.
"The addition of Messenger to our around-the-clock social care efforts was a no-brainer," said Dan Moriarty, director of digital strategy and activation for Hyatt, in an article at Digiday. "It's just one more channel in which we get to have meaningful conversations with guests and help them to be their best, on the road and right away."
HealthTap's bot allows users to type a question into Messenger 24/7 and receive responses from their bot system free of charge, says MobiHealthNews. Users can also see answers from physicians to questions similar to their own.
If the bot response is not adequate, HealthTap has 100,000 U.S. physicians in 141 specialties who regularly review and provide provide additional responses to Messenger queries.
"It's now easier than ever to access top doctors immediately in a succinct and personal way," said HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman in a prepared statement. "The new Messenger Platform enables us to extend the ability of our dedicated and generous doctors to help people everywhere feel good."
I'm old enough to remember character blogs - a type of blog written by a fictional character (Captain Morgan is one that comes to mind.)
That same concept has come to Messenger in chat bot form. Muppets' fans can now talk with a "Miss Piggy" thanks to a bot built by Imperson, a conversational bot creation technology company, at the direction of Disney.
Miss Piggy is not Imperson's first Messenger character either. Previously, the company brought Doc Brown to life for a campaign to mark "Back to the Future" day.
CNN has become the poster child for its use of Messenger to share the news (TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal also provide similar service.)
People can now chat directly with CNN to get breaking news. They can also receive personalized and specific stories by messaging CNN with a keyword.
For example, if a user is interested in learning more about Zika, they can just message CNN "Zika," and the CNN bot will respond with the latest news or most relevant story about the virus.
Commerce is one of the most innovative ways in which brands are using Messenger Bots.
"Commerce is conversational," said David Marcus, Facebook's VP of messaging products. He feels Messenger fits the bill because it enables brands to converse with customers and prospects rather than broadcast to them.
To start the clothes-buying process, the bot asks the customer what he/she is looking for and then presents options from which to select, including clothing, shoes, or accessories. Customers can see thumbnails with links to the products that they can purchase using their mobile device.
"Customers aren't spending their time on a sprawl of apps anymore," said Spring founder Alan Tisch in a Digiday article. "But, there's a high concentration of engagement on Facebook Messenger. So we created an experience to fit into the natural behavior that's already happening on the platform."
Other brands testing Messenger for commerce include:
- KLM: Get Your Boarding Pass and More. Dutch airline KLM lets passengers "get on board" with a Messenger plugin. After booking a flight, passengers can receive their booking confirmation, be reminded when check-in opens, get their boarding pass, receive flight status updates, or ask a question any time, 24/7.
- Uber: Hail a Ride Using Messenger Transportation. Facebook launched a transportation component as part of Messenger late last year that lets people request a ride from Uber without the need to download an app. Also, for a limited time, passengers get a free ride the first time they use this feature (up to a $20 value).
- Everlane: Receive Updates After Purchase. Everlane was one of the first brands to partner with Facebook after it launched Messenger Bots in beta in 2015. The online retailer incorporated Facebook's services into its checkout page to allow consumers to opt-in to receive updates after making a purchase.
- Burger King: Order Ahead Using a Bot. Customers in the mood for a Whopper can now order it using Messenger. The fast food chain is trying out an order-ahead feature that's integrated into Facebook's Messenger app, according to the food blog Eater.
- HP: Print Photos, Documents, and Files, Oh My!. HP has created a bot for Messenger which enables its customers to print their photos, documents, and files to any connected HP printer as well as receive notifications to re-order toner cartridges, according to the tech blog Engadget.
These are just a few of the many companies that have begun using Messenger Bots to communicate with customers and prospects. To see a "definitive" and growing list, visit the website, Silicon Angle.