Chat Bots Don’t Need Coffee
Imagine: a customer with insomnia decides to get some shopping done at 2am. She goes to your website and finds some products she is interested in, but she has some questions about fit, or size, or care instructions.
Instead of sending a message using a contact form and waiting for you to get back to you (or giving up on your site entirely), she can start a Live Chat with a Chat Bot that has been programmed to respond to common customer inquiries.
The Bot answers her questions, and she places her order right then and there. Meanwhile, you’ve been sleeping soundly and wake up to another new order at your store.
Systems like this have been in development for years, but only recently have they become smart enough to do anything except answer the most basic, specifically-worded questions. Companies like Apple, Amazon, Slack, and Google have invested billions of dollars into improving the performance of natural-language artificial intelligence programs and that research has tricked down into other fields, like chat.
But the thing that really lit a fire under the Chat Bot market was when Facebook got into the game.
Facebook Messenger Chat Bots: A Robot Friend for Everyone
Even better, with integration plugins you can use Facebook Messenger as Live Chat on your own site, as well as using it on your business’s Facebook page. And when you’re online you can tell your Chat Bot to take a break and answer questions yourself.
The biggest advantage that Facebook Messenger Bots hold over other Chat Bots is that most of your customers are already using Facebook and Facebook Messenger. They’re familiar with the interface, they already have an account, and already have an established trust relationship with it. This gives you a huge head start in getting your customers comfortable with connecting with your business via chat.
Setting Up Facebook Messenger Chat Bots for WooCommerce Websites
- A Facebook Messenger Bot that is connected to your site so it knows all about your store and its products; and
- A Plugin that lets you integrate the Facebook Messenger chat window directly on your site.
You can skip #2, but customers will have to leave your site to go to Facebook or the Messenger App in order to chat, which adds complexity and confusion to the whole process.
The Facebook Messenger Bot API is still new and the product landscape is very much in flux. So I’m not going to make any product recommendations at this point, but will update this article with results of my testing once the market matures a bit.
That said, here are some options that are out there today for creating Facebook Messenger Chat Bots for WooCommerce:
And here are plugins that will add the Facebook Messenger Chat window to your WordPress + WooCommerce site:
Tips for Building Useful (and Friendly) Chat Bots for WooCommerce
- What are the most common questions you get from your customers?
- What are the most common reasons customers have for requesting returns or refunds? How can a Chat Bot help head those issues off before the sale is made?
- Are there any pre-purchase concerns or anxieties that customers might have, and how can your Chat Bot help allay them?
- What kind of questions can the Chat Bot ask the Customer to get a better idea of what the Customer needs?
Most of all, remember that to be worthwhile a Chat Bot needs to make buying from your store easier. A Chat Bot that’s simply a novelty item, or that makes the purchase process more complicated or frustrating, is worse that not having after-hours customer service at all.
Integrating Facebook Messenger Chat with your WooCommerce store is a huge opportunity to expand your store’s selling exposure, and a way for you to be in more than one place at once. So dive in to the brave new world of Chat Bots and AI, but remember that no matter what technology you use to run your business and help increase your sales, the goal is always the same: to help the customer and provide them with an unforgettable, exceptional experience at your store.