Messenger Bots Are DEAD [Why?]

December 10, 2019

Remember that Tarantino movie where Brad Pitt said, “We hear a story too good to be true…it ain’t.” That’s sort of how the death of chatbot came about. The open rates were crazy high when compared to email, but now many people believe Facebook Messenger Bots are dead.

Are messenger bots dead? Are chatbots dead? 


Currently, there are 300,000 chatbots on Facebook. Facebook Messenger chatbots are used throughout the journey to qualify leads, convert users, and nurture customers. Businesses can also broadcast messages to anyone who has messaged the Business page.

From the user experience, 59 percent of consumers are willing to communicate with chatbots to receive offers and coupons. Likewise, 39 percent of consumers are willing to receive advice from chatbots, 14 percent of consumers are willing to use a chatbot to conduct online banking, and 37 percent of consumers are willing to make a purchase through a chatbot.

With so much acceptance, how do we define “death”?


Well, another statistic is involved:  currently, 73 percent of users say “they would likely not use a company’s chatbot again after having a bad experience with it.”

With little room for trial and error, chatbots are effective, but they’re also somewhat of a time bomb, as a small mistake essentially ends all the work it took to land the customer or client in the first place. 

Chatbots, after all, are another link in the chain. Think of a cat moving from ad to landing page to chatbot to email. If there’s anything “off” about the conversion chat, you can scare off the cat. 

Customers are equally skittish and they know when something doesn’t feel right. If your bot feels too much like a bot without announcing itself as such, customers will move on to something else. 


How Did Chatbots Die?


When early numbers hit the public, there was a crazy rush to create a bot for every business, but people didn’t really think about how to use them properly. Therefore, if you had bad results – as a business or user – you’ve probably asked yourself, “Are Messenger bots dead?”


Chatbots were projected to become a billion-dollar industry within 10 years after hitting a marketing value of $703 million in 2016, with 80 percent of businesses expected to have some sort of chatbot automation by 2020.  

The opportunity to connect with customers anywhere, any time, with minimal human interaction is a fundamental change in the marketplace. Rather than seeing visitors stop on a web page, but not understand why they didn’t make a purchase, businesses could now interact with potential customers and get some feedback on what step stopped the conversion.

Chatbots can save up to 30 percent in customer support costs and over 50 percent of customers expect businesses to essentially be open 24/7, year-round. That said, you can’t have just anyone manning the gate. Interactions need to feel real and create value.

The potential of conversational interfaces is massive. It helps organizations connect to users in the most direct way possible, but the approach has to be laser-focused. Chatbots can be used as a digital personification for a brand, which means everything is stripped away but a conversation.


Best Niches for Chatbots

Companies in niches such as real estate, travel, education, healthcare, and finance are using chatbots to launch and nurture conversations with customers, but that doesn’t mean everyone is using chatbots in the best manner possible.

Emirates Vacations asks, “Tell me about your trip.” National Geographic provides witty responses to “Am I talking to a ghost?,” such as “Assuming my reputation precedes me, I enjoy spending my time in conversation on science, as well as a wide variety of topics.”

Hipmunk confirms it’s tech by saying, “Hi friend, I’m Hipmunk’s bot! Traveling soon? I can help you dig through some ideas. Ready?” Likewise, Lidl’s Winebot provides recipe pairing for wines and meals and Kia directs keywords, such as “How about the Stinger?” to connect users with info on cars.

On the negative end, however, many companies treat their chatbots like an email list or blast non-relevant content to followers. That said, emails are more like sending snail mail, while using a chatbot is somewhat like ringing a doorbell or sending a text message. Basically, if you overdo it, you can scare people away.

Emails can also be sent often, but spamming everyone constantly with chatbots or carrying on a long series is doing too much over Messenger. Likewise, you also can’t replace actual customer service with full automation as 75 percent of people want to know if and when they’re talking to a bot.

Basically, chatbots make out at 85 percent efficiency. So how do you use the chatbots properly? The whole idea behind utilizing chatbots is to streamline processes and remove friction. That said, chatbots aren’t capable of top-tier customer service, so sometimes they’re actually counterproductive.

So are chatbots bad for business? And, what’s the key to streamlining processes and removing friction? 

Return of the Chatbots

The “death” of Messenger bots is actually a good thing. 

First of all, the companies who are using the programs wrong are just sending business your way. Some users see chatbots as natural language phone bots, where they try to understand what you’re saying to direct the call, but come off as annoying or unhelpful. 

Therefore, the real value isn’t trying to appear human, but working to answer simple questions like a digital FAQ or collecting boring data to help people find answers in a helpful manner. 

Not many people thought voice assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa would surpass text-based chatbots, because many companies looked to Facebook’s M as an experiment that didn’t work.

The free service was given to 10,000 people in the San Francisco area, for booking restaurants, sending gifts, and changing flights, but while it was valuable to users, it was costing Facebook an arm and a leg.

This is because many of the tasks required from M were then assigned to real people to fulfill. Basically, it all comes down to artificial intelligence for major growth with chatbots and online assistants. The creators of M eventually said the problems they wanted to solve were simply more complicated than they realized.

But the major problem was that Facebook put no bounds on what M could be asked to do and when users could complete some tasks, they simply wanted more complex tasks, which meant more complex algorithms.


So what’s the answer? Are Messenger bots dead? When using Facebook Messenger bots for businesses, are chatbots effective?

Chatbots can be used but only in a limited manner until technology greatly increases. Chatbots should be used to interact with customers, but it’s vital to let customers know it’s a chatbot and that real help is available. Then, you simply have to deliver on any promises to the customer. 

Chatbots are a tool, but they can’t do everything. 

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