Apr

Building Facebook Messenger chatbot: what they forgot to tell you.

                                     

There are lots of written tutorials and online videos on this subject.

Yet many of them omit important details of the bot building process. These details may vary from one user to another and are difficult to describe in a unilateral fashion. Consequently it is easier for tutorial writers not to mention them at all. We try here to fill the gap and provide some additional clarity.

1. Creating Facebook app.

One of the first steps in building a Facebook Messenger bot is creating a Facebook App. It requires a business Facebook page. This might seem obvious to avid social users yet worth mentioning: a business Facebook page can only be created from a personal Facebook page. If you already have a business Facebook page move on to the next step. If you have a personal Facebook page go on and create a business page. If you are among the lucky ones that live without Facebook presence now is your chance to become like everybody else.

2. Getting SSL certificate.

Next you need to setup a webhook. Your web application is hosted on a web server and the webhook’s role is to establish connection between Facebook and your web application via your web server. In order for the webhook to work you need SSL certificate because Facebook supports only secure connections (HTTPS) to external web servers. So first, you need to purchase it. The costs change from one company to another but it is important to buy a reliable certificate otherwise Facebook might reject it. All major ISP companies offer SSL products. Second, you need to install it on your web server. The installation process can be tricky. Sometimes you can get technical help from the ISP company that sold you the certificate (as a rule of thumb, the bigger the brand the better their technical support is supposed to be. But the cost may be higher too). You can also rely on popular tools, such as keytool command utility, assuming you know how to use them. In any case, it might be a good idea to allocate several days, up to a week, for this step when planning your project.

3. Choosing the server environment.

Your options are (almost) unlimited. Many online tutorials use Heroku which is a cloud-based web application platform, but a simple Tomcat web server would suffice too. Your decisions should be based on your business requirements.  A lightweight server such as Tomcat is a good fit when it comes to web centric, user facing applications. If backend integration comes into play, a web application server should be considered.

Your choice of programming languages is also broad. PHP is one popular option, Java is another but the list by no means ends here. Your chatbot app communicates with Facebook using POST requests, so any language that supports web protocols will work. Again, make decisions having your business goals in mind.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Top 5 Reasons to Use Artificial Intelligence Chat in Your Contact Center

1. Zero Wait Times

Do you suffer from long chat queues? How about any chat queues? Can you imagine a world where your customers are either immediately engaged in a proactive chat, or can easily decide to engage in a on-demand chat and get immediate service, no matter how busy your contact center is? Well, that day is today. With AI chat integrated into your contact center customers can be served immediately with no additional agent resources required. Now you can change your focus from calculating the time before a chat session starts to hcounting the number of chat sessions escalated to a live agent (We’ll give you a hint: It’s a lot less with Chat AI).

2. The High Efficiency Rate

The average chat session is completed in 42 seconds. With most questions being answered in just a few short seconds (Unless you’re Zappos, of course), Chat AI can quickly and effectively address most problems today, without having to engage a live agent. The savings in time and abandonment rate combined with the increased customer satisfaction, not only reduces costs, but delivers a measureable improvement in performance and customer perception.

3. It Really Understands Language

True Artificial Intelligence is not the robotic, sometimes irrelevant interaction of yesterday.  Answers are more personalized, relevant, and complemented by the newly acquired ability to access multiple data sources to deliver the best possible responses to inquiries. The technology “learns” the longer it is deployed, as a result customer  experiences improve with time without the need for additional investments in technology, people, or processes.

4. No such thing as a “Sick Day”

AI doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t get sick, you don’t need to train it, and it’ll never quit in the middle of a seasonal rush. You don’t even need to give it lunch, breaks, or let it go to the bathroom. Imagine how easy Workforce Management becomes when all you’re doing is flipping a switch. Scheduling becomes less and less of an issue over time, as the application continues to learn, making your investment more valuable over time.

5. 24x7x365

Imagine the increase in sales volume and support cases your business could handle if you’re able to offer 24x7x365 chat. And cart abandonment plummets when customers are offered chat. Today Chat AI can answer anywhere from 70-90% of customer inquiries meaning that only the most verbose requests require a human, and at an operational cost that is often 4 times less than the cost of staffing a contact center.

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Social selling for businesses

Social selling is one of the hottest buzzwords in the technology market. The popularity of social networks made the customer interaction and buyers hunting easier than before. More and more consumers are using social media to find deals, research products and make recommendations.

From the seller’s perspective the efficient use of social media is based on the mastery of following two major steps:

1. Finding the relevant audience,

2. Engaging with that audience.

The first step should be automated. This is exactly where the promise of Big Data, or Smart Data, as they now begin to call it, is supposed to come into fruition. Finding relevant information in the ocean of social data is the poster example of how Smart data can help businesses in the new world defined by computerized systems and networks. The companies should be able to use programs and solutions that accurately and efficiently deliver relevant data. If the company is spending time to sift through the ever increasing informational stream without automating the process, it is wasting precious time thus compromising its business growth and eventually losing competitive edge.

 The second step however is inherently manual. it is not a good idea to automate the engagement process. Social networks are designed to build trust, and trust cannot be won automatically. So it requires time and effort and knowledge. It also requires patience - trust cannot be built in minutes.

It is important that businesses looking to add social media into their arsenal of revenue channels, and we believe that all businesses should do just that, grasp this two-steps process. A clear understanding of the nature and requirements for each of the steps helps to plan strategically, manage the resources properly and avoid costly mistakes.

 

                               

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