“I tested the Messenger bots, that’s not it yet, but…!”
Mark Zuckerberg announced on April 12 the launch of Messenger Platform during the opening conference of F8.
This platform had been expected for several months and had already been talked about last December since it allows companies to get in touch with their customers by instant messaging. The robots (abbreviated as “bots”) behind this innovation make it possible to help customers in their shopping experience by recommending products for an e-commerce site, by reserving an Uber or by purchasing a plane ticket.
On the Messenger Platform home page, Facebook highlights three brands that already have a bot and with whom we can test the service. I took great pleasure in testing them and here is my feedback.
Facebook is deeply connecting to all sites. It is obvious that all the bots created will be used to create a unique bot with enormous monetization potential: Facebook M.
Spring is a fairly innovative e-commerce site and mobile application that replaced the traditional shopping cart and tunnel with a swipe. When you go to the Spring desktop site, you can start a conversation with the robot directly from the home page using the “Send to Messenger” button. When you click, you receive a first introductory message on your Messenger account.
I am not very comfortable with this button. Will brands really agree to redirect their (often purchased) traffic to Messenger? In addition, this mobile experience seems even more complicated to me since it is complicated to navigate between two apps open at the same time. It would have been much better if it was possible to converse with the bot directly from the site via a chat window as we can sometimes see on some sites that offer to chat with customer service.
This first question asked by the bot is also strange when we know all the data that Facebook holds on each of us. Besides, sex is the first information you give to Facebook when you register, couldn’t the bot have offered me men’s clothing directly?
Then I started chatting with the bot while testing it but soon realized that I was going to talk a lot more than the bot would. I’ll let you read our conversation below.
As you may have read, the Spring bot doesn’t really like to read you. After explaining to you for the first time that he doesn’t like it when you write messages and that you have to use the displayed buttons, he will simply ignore your next messages even when you decide to leave him. Not really polite this bot! A few minutes later, he comes back to you to ask you if you want to continue chatting with him, but obviously the developers have forgotten the “Leave me alone!” Button. And even if you decide to continue, this one will ask you the question of your budget. Question he already had the answer to earlier in our conversation.
Even though I know for a fact that it is a robot and that I had a good idea about the brand that I already knew, this conversation left me with a bitter taste… I feel like the same feeling as when you have one of those telemarketers on the phone who doesn’t know anything about it and can’t give you any information, but absolutely wants to sell you his current offer. I have a negative feeling for the brand.
Hi Poncho bot
It’s a bot that tells you the weather. I didn’t know him before and our conversation was relatively… strange. I still didn’t understand what he tried to tell me and obviously neither did he.
Spring was not exceptional but it passes for a first bot, Hi Poncho was strange but amused me. On the other hand, the CNN bot… But how can Facebook promote such a bot?
Develop a bot but do it well
To conclude this first test, I would like to remind you that this feature is very recent and that it is understandable that this technology is not perfect from the start. It will obviously improve with companies and developers who decide to help improve it.
The risk that you can face while developing a bot is to disappoint your interlocutors, or even worse to create negative sentiment towards your brand. If you decide to go for it, I recommend that you keep in mind the basics of a conversation (“Hello, Goodbye, Thank you…”) and optimize responses as soon as possible.
From a user point of view, if he finds himself confronted with many badly designed or useless robots, it could divert potential customers from this type of technology. Facebook therefore has every interest in helping businesses and developers create successful bots. By anticipating a little, we can easily imagine that Facebook will be able to take advantage of all the connections made with the brands that will decide to launch out to offer a single messaging service (Facebook M) with which we can interact about any brand. . Attention, big potential for monetization!
I have great respect for the work David Marcus (Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook) and his teams have done on Messenger and I believe this is just the start of great things.
Article originally published on Medium FranceIn addition to this, you need to know more about it..
Johan Ayache is the Mobile / UX Designer product manager within the Yves Rocher Group. He also co-founded and directed Louis Valet.