If you’ve been creeping on my Facebook page, you’ve probably seen me mention “Hope”, my new chatbot assistant a few times. You may be thinking “So?” or “I don’t know what this is so I’m ignoring it”. Don’t run away yet! I’m going to give you a quick crash course on what chatbots are and how they can help you get information quickly and easily:
What is a “Chatbot”?
Basically, it’s a little computer robot that can understand your questions, provide answers, and complete tasks for you. Kind of like your own mini-servant, always ready to assist you. It’s pretty similar to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s iHome, and Google Home. A Facebook Messenger bot lives in and interacts with you through Facebook Messenger, no separate app to download and take up space and data on your phone.
Why interact with a chatbot when I can just do a Google search for information?
Well, you certainly could just do a Google search, however you would have to search for the business, hope they have something set up in Google to show you all the info first thing, if not, scroll until you find the website, click on the website, find the business hours and services, …………. or you can click on the business’ Facebook page, hit “Send Message” and actually have a conversation that provides you with all of that info and more! Let’s say you wanted some information about Road to Hope Counseling’s’ services (shameless self promotion) but didn’t really want to write a comment on the page due to confidentiality. You would click the blue “Send Message” button, Facebook Messenger would open, and “Hope” would greet you and give you buttons to tap to explore your options. You don’t even have to talk to a real person! (Unless, you want to, then you would type “Talk to Human” and you would actually talk to me.)
When Can I Start a Conversation With a Chatbot?
Anytime! Chatbots are ready and waiting to assist 24 hours a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 7:00pm at night or 3:00 in the morning. Did I mention it’s free? There is no cost to start a conversation with a chatbot. Businesses may send you promotions or sale alerts through your conversation, but Facebook has put pretty harsh restrictions on how many times a business can send a “promotion” as a message. It’s really more about starting conversations and giving everyone resources and content that will actually help them rather than just spamming them with sales and discounts on product.
OK, Fine. I’ll Try It. How Do I Get to it Again?
There are a few different ways…
- Go to Road to Hope Counseling on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/roadtohopecounseling,Click on the blue “Send Message” button, start your conversation! (Hope will guide you through)
- Click “Send to Messenger” in the purple pop up that slides in from the right side of my website.
- Click Open Messenger Now!
I hope you are more comfortable with Chatbots now! Have fun!