Facebook announced Tuesday that it was preparing a plugin to its popular Messenger platform that will allow visitors to a Web site to chat with a human or a robot without leaving the place. ]
The customer conversation is one of the best. a number of changes in version 2.2 at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
The cat plugin, which is currently in closed beta,
will be available on desktops and mobile devices. The first testers include airlines such as KLM, Volaris and Air France.
Chatbots deployed through the plug-in can perform a number of tasks, including delivering order status updates, scheduling appointments, answering questions, and providing after-hours service.
"Companies want to reach consumers where they are and make it easier for them to interact with the company," said Ross Rubin, Senior Analyst at Reticle Research.
"Companies are already marketing to consumers, especially younger consumers, via channels like Messsenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat, so it's a natural extension to use them for service," he said. he told CRM Buyer.
Marketing and service can also feed each other.
"By serving a user, you can become aware of the needs that can lead to income opportunities," said Rubin.
For large and small businesses
According to Charles King, a senior analyst at Pund-IT, the cat's initial appeal can come from Facebook's followers.
"Companies that already use Facebook to interact with their customers are the most likely to be interested," he told CRM Buyer.
However, "Messenger's size – about 1.2 billion global customers – could prompt others to try the service after it's released from the beta," added King.
The new offer has something for small and large businesses, observed Jack Kent, senior analyst for mobile media at IHS Markit.
"Small businesses can take advantage of Facebook's infrastructure rather than investing in their own infrastructure," he told CRM Buyer, "but larger companies can also benefit from the same." another channel to communicate with users. canals. "
All businesses using Customer Chat hope to benefit from Facebook's reach and engagement with their users, Kent said.
"The ability to reach consumers across platforms will also be important," he added.
Customer Chat offers businesses the opportunity to present users with a consistent interface when interacting with them via chat.
"Until now, companies could interact with customers through the Messenger application, but the experience was fragmented," says Beerud Sheth, CEO of
"Customers who visit the company's website will see a different experience than they have experienced with Facebook Messenger," he told CRM Buyer.
With Customer Chat, visitors to the site not only meet a familiar interface, but are also recognized. For example, a new user of a website can be greeted by his name because even if the company does not know who the user is, Facebook does.
"For the user, it seems that the company knows them," Sheth said. "It's great for the business and more engaging for the consumer."
What price cat?
Despite all its advantages, chatting could be a disadvantage for some companies.
"The Facebook plugin is not as comprehensive as many dedicated and professional-grade chat applications," King said. "Companies that are already using these types of solutions are not likely to adopt the Facebook plugin."
There is also the danger of relying too much on Facebook.
"Companies may worry if Facebook becomes the main or dominant channel for customer engagement," notes Kent Kent, of IHS Markit.
"This could have an impact on existing multichannel marketing activities and operations and reduce the data they own themselves," he said.
Moreover, the data lost by the company would probably be recovered by Facebook.
"Like all other social media sites, Facebook derives value from the data it collects during interactions with users," King said. "Companies that are not comfortable with this point or with other Facebook practices should avoid the new Messenger plugin."
Benefits for the social network
Facebook will benefit from the customer conversation in many ways, suggested Kent:
- It can boost engagement by increasing the time spent on messenger because users would no longer have to use an alternative channel for client communications.
- He can help Facebook collect more information about its users to support its advertising activities.
- It can contribute to Facebook's desire to expand the Messenger platform and increase its corporate presence to boost monetization.
"Facebook is putting a little more emphasis on Messenger's professional features for quite some time," said Kent. "Adding chat support to third-party business sites is another way for Facebook to expand its presence as a communications and commerce platform to connect businesses and consumers." . "