Sprout Social brings chatbot tool to Facebook
- Sprout Social launched a self-service tool that enables brands to build chatbots for Facebook Messenger, according to a press release from the social media software manufacturer made available to Mobile Marketer.
- The tool, called Bot Builder for Facebook Messenger, offers a simple, wizard-based interface that promises brands the ability to build and launch a customized chatbot within minutes, and without a need for extensive support from internal developers, consultants or Sprout Social.
- Once built, the chatbot uses simple rules-based logic to move users through a series of queries that can answer customer questions and/or deliver marketing messages.
One of the key barriers to brands’ adoption of chatbots is that the interface can seem clunky and machine-like. This is particularly problematic when the bots are used in customer service. Consumers remember painful interactions with an automated phone system that seemingly doesn’t understand a word being said long after the interaction is over. Brands, and consumers, are wary of duplicating that unpleasant experience in text.
However, there are indications that brands, using simple-to-operate tools, may now be starting to get things right.
Bot Builder for Facebook debuts a month after the launch of a similar Sprout Social product for the Twitter platform. Evernote, the note-taking and organizing app, was one of the handful of brands to try the tool for Twitter, using it to create a chatbot for its customer-support handle, @EvernoteHelps.
According to a case study published on Sprout Social’s website, the results were positive. Evernote saw an 18% decrease in replies sent per conversation and an 80% increase in customers helped per week on Twitter.
Chatbots have had to overcome issues with discoverability and applicability across the board, but enhanced tools for developers could help brands deploy better bots. Facebook Messenger's chatbot program struggled early on when bots on the app failed to respond appropriately to user requests. Constant improvements and continued efforts to enhance the development of chatbots may address some of these concerns.
Getting the technology right could be a boon for brands looking to engage with users, who at least in theory don't oppose the idea of using chatbots for automating help on sites.