What is a Facebook chatbot, and how do you make one?

Seamlessly meet customers and prospects right where they are: Facebook Messenger.

A guide to using Facebook messenger bots

Last updated May 3, 2023

In 2019, consumer retail spending via chatbots reached $2.8 billion. By 2024, that number is set to increase approximately 500 percent to $142 billion. It’s clear—consumers love chatbots. Between their 24/7 accessibility, self-serve model, and social media-friendly interface, chatbots give customers the fast and personalized experiences they want as modern buyers.

In fact, the same Insider Intelligence report referenced above found that 40 percent of global internet users actually prefer interacting with chatbots over virtual agents. This means chatbots are quickly becoming a customer preference trend your company can’t afford to ignore.

Chatbots may feel intimidating to implement, but they don’t have to be. One of the most prominent chatbots on the market due to its built-in consumer base and ease of use is Facebook Messenger. In this comprehensive piece, we’ll cover:

What is a Facebook chatbot?

A Facebook chatbot is an automated software application that interacts with users via Facebook Messenger based on pre-programmed answers and keywords. Once installed, these chatbots are your 24/7 frontline agents. They take on the bulk of your social media communications, providing customers instant, accurate responses to day-to-day questions so that your human agents can remain available to address complex tickets.

What do Facebook chatbots matter? Let’s dive deeper into the components of FB chatbots and statistics on their current usage.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a software application that uses AI to automatically communicate with a user. Chatbots are primarily used as time-saving tools between businesses and consumers—usually as a means of problem-solving or rerouting.

For example, if you travel to the Zendesk website, a chatbot pops up in the bottom right-hand
corner ready to help. By interacting with it, our system can either answer your simpler questions with automated answers or reroute you to a sales or customer service rep who can talk you through your questions in more detail.

Zendesk chatbot

Using a chatbot helps both the business and the consumer have a more satisfying conversation. If customers have simple questions, they can get clear answers without waiting to speak to a rep. On the business side, if reps are swamped, chatbots ensure that the customers who need more complex help are moved to the front of the line. Speedier service improves the customer experience and keeps your reps’ time more flexible.

Of course, this is an example of the average website-based chatbot. What about chatbots for social media?

What is Facebook Messenger?

Facebook messenger is the private instant messaging application within Facebook, now called the Metaverse. While built into the Facebook platform on laptops and desktops, Facebook Messenger requires a separate (but free) app when used on mobile devices. As of the Meta launch, Messenger is now easily integratable with other Metaverse applications, including Instagram, through the Meta Business Suite.

As of 2020, an estimated 2.77 billion people worldwide used mobile phone messaging apps (that number is set to hit 3 billion by the end of 2022). Additionally, 93 percent of businesses are currently active on Facebook, and sponsored Facebook advertising continues to be one of the most cost-effective ways to reach large audiences at about $1.72 per lead click.

With the number of Facebook users increasing alongside the number of businesses using Facebook, this social media hub has rapidly become a gold mine of customer interaction. After all, why go to a website to use a chatbot when you can message the company directly from Facebook?

Of course, if you work in sales and customer service, you can already see where this is going.

Most companies don’t have the staff power to respond to a slew of Facebook messages while also managing their standard industry channels. With the modern customer experience depending on fast service, what are companies to do?

What is a FB Messenger bot?

FB Messenger bots are AI automations that integrate with Facebook Messenger. They function like website chatbots, but are accessed by users via Messenger and Facebook Business pages. Much like their website counterparts, FB Messenger bots automatically respond to inquiries and reroute any complex issues—providing speedy service and efficient distribution.

Facebook launched its first Messenger bots in 2017. In the same year, they passed 1.2 billion Facebook Messenger users. That number hasn’t stopped growing. Combining the service of chatbots and the convenience of social media, FB chatbots are a necessary addition to your customer service package.

The benefits of using Facebook chatbots

As we mentioned earlier, Q&A efficiency is the greatest gift to your business Facebook chatbots can offer—but that’s not all they can do. FB chatbots increase efficiency across your sales and customer service process.

With these bots, users can:

  • Engage with your marketing materials
  • Track shipments
  • Locate nearby business locations
  • Make secure purchases
  • Save time on customer support
  • Provide lead information
  • Ask sales questions

That’s the beauty of interacting with your customers on social media—they’re already comfortable with the medium, so they’ll be more likely to interact with anything you program into your bot.

Here are a few more ways FB chatbots benefit your business and your customers:

Conversational experience

Social media channels are the top engagement spots for consumers in 2022. In fact, 68 percent of US consumers already use social media to engage with brands and/or receive post-purchase customer support.

The numbers are clear: consumers want more fast, casual experiences when interacting directly with brands. That means keeping the conversation light, and well, more conversational.

Bots are becoming more and more sophisticated every day, but their premise remains the same. They use simple language to get right to the root of the problem so they can solve it as quickly as possible. Consumers love that. A quick chat and a few key words to solve all their issues? That’s CX magic.

By keeping language simple, bots offer every single user a conversational experience that actually provides relevant information.

Any time, anywhere

According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report of 2021, customers say the most frustrating part of bad customer service is not having support offered through their preferred method of contact.

Customers are busy people, and their preferred type of interaction is usually based on their schedule. If you have customers who work a night shift, for instance, only having support offered via phone 9am-5pm is an incredible inconvenience.

Using FB chatbots not only provides your customers quick and easy assistance through a popular and familiar platform, it also gives them access to you 24/7—no matter their time zone or physical location. Even if a customer has an issue that needs to be escalated after hours, a chatbot can instantly create a ticket for them so they’re right at the top of the list when your reps arrive the next day.

Benefits CS and sales

The last thing your CS or sales teams need is more on their to-do list. Depending on size, companies can receive nearly 20,000 support inquiries every month. Handling that volume in a reasonable amount of time, especially when you factor in time for complex tickets, is impossibly daunting.

Chatbots reduce the workload and give your reps’ time back to them. Even in situations where tickets need to be escalated, bots can send the escalation with existing customer information so your reps don’t have to start from scratch.

The more time your reps can dedicate per customer, the more positive the customer experience will be. It’s that simple.

How to create a Facebook chatbot with Zendesk

Creating and connecting a Facebook chatbot with Zendesk is a simple, flexible, and scalable process through our two sets of APIs:

  1. Facebook chatbot for live chat:

    This Facebook chatbot integration is for live chat on your website and mobile apps. This chat conversion API syncs conversations with Zendesk chat, builds synchronous messaging experiences (i.e. the text version of a phone call), and builds simple workflows and automations native to Zendesk Chat.

  2. Facebook chatbot for messaging:

    This Facebook chatbot integration is asynchronous and created/integrated through Sunshine Conversations. Asynchronous chatbots integrate across web, mobile, and social media apps while allowing users to respond or leave at their own convenience. With Sunshine Conversations APIs, you can integrate your Facebook chatbot to Zendesk support or any other third-party system, use carousels and forms, and enable escalation triggers and automations.

The benefits of using Zendesk to create Facebook Messenger bots

Zendesk is built for reps and agents. All of our work is geared towards simplifying the sales and customer service process—especially with our Facebook integrations.

Our Agent Workspace combines our fundamental mission of ease and efficiency with the power of Facebook chatbot. With a Zendesk and Facebook chatbot integration with Agent Workspace, your reps can:

  • Track conversation updates
  • Receive live alerts through multiple channels
  • Update ticket data
  • Reroute and transfer conversations
  • Unify conversations across all channels
  • Minimize repeated processes
  • Increase work productivity
  • Increase customer experience and satisfaction

Especially if you’re already a Zendesk Sell or Service user with Facebook integrations, using Agent Workspace just makes sense. Unified software streamlines your daily activities and creates alignment and transparency throughout your company.

Facebook Messenger chatbot best practices

Bots are extremely useful, but only if they’re implemented in the right way. Here are a few proven tips and tricks for how to best use your bot:

  1. Be honest about the AI

    Users know what chatbots are, so don’t try and pass your bot off as a human. If users need to be rerouted to a human rep, they’ll ask for it. Your customers live in a modern world, and 48 percent of people find it “creepy” when a chatbot pretends to be human—so don’t pretend. You’re trying to build trust with your customer base. Deceiving them isn’t a great way to do that.

  2. Include an option for rerouting

    Not all users want to speak to a bot, but sometimes your bot is the only way to reach a live rep. If a user asks to speak to a rep in your chatbot, don’t try and persuade them otherwise, just reroute them. It’s not worth it to frustrate your customers. Frustrated customers end up either irritated with reps, or they simply leave your brand altogether. Neither option is ideal.

  3. Keep the bots on the simple issues

    Bots are not designed to handle complex problems. They are fantastic for providing links, answering FAQs, or communicating outside of business hours. If a customer is asking for specific technical support however, that ticket needs to go to a rep. Look carefully at the common, simple issues your CX team faces and assign them appropriately.

  4. Use bots to prep your CX team

    If a bot escalates a ticket, chances are that the user has already explained their problem in detail to the bot. Make sure your software forwards the chat text to your reps. Otherwise, your customer just has to start all over again and may become (justifiably) irritated. Key observations, like identifying exactly what primary topic their issue is about, can also help you redirect the ticket to a rep qualified to handle it.

  5. Always go back to the data for improvements

    Like any other sales data, bot data is crucial in understanding where your weak points lie. Take a look at reports on your bot. When is it failing? How often is it rerouting? When are customers walking away unsatisfied? What questions are asked most often? How many questions are asked in a given time frame?

  6. Understanding the answers to these questions will allow you to improve your bot and your customer experience. They may even prompt you to edit or update information on your website, knowledge base, or user instructions!

Frequently asked questions

Still have questions? Here are a few Facebook chatbot questions we hear all the time:

How do I get a chatbot on Facebook?

The fastest way to get a chatbot on Facebook is to integrate one. Whether you’re using an existing chatbot or building your own, you’ll need to integrate with Facebook Messenger software. Your chatbot provider/builder will usually walk you through that process, but you do need to invest in the chatbot first.

What is the best chatbot for Facebook?

That depends. As the market soars, chatbot companies are becoming more and more prolific, making the options seemingly endless. However, one way to narrow down the best possible chatbot for your purposes is to filter based on feature availability. The most important things to look for in a chatbot are:

  • Facebook Messenger Ads
  • Integration with existing CX software
  • Website integration
  • Purchase carousels
  • Ticket routing
  • Escalation triggers and automations
  • Mobile-friendly platform
  • Chatbot templates
  • Multilingual options

Zendesk Support and Zendesk Chat provide all of the above features alongside our standard, robust CX features.

Is chatbot on Facebook free?

It can be. Facebook doesn’t charge for chatbot integration, but prices for third-party chatbot creation vary. Some chatbots are free within a larger CX software package (i.e. Zendesk Service and Sunshine), while other companies may start at a lower price point for creating an independent chatbot. If you’re already a Zendesk customer, your chatbot is free and waiting for you. Follow our guide for how to set it up.

Does Facebook have a chatbot?

The short answer is no. Facebook Messenger does not come equipped with a chatbot, but it does easily integrate with nearly every available chatbot whether pre-made or custom. You can always use Zendesk to build a Messenger chatbot for Facebook. If you truly want to start from scratch, Facebook also offers a step-by-step guide for the more adventurous coders.

Try Zendesk for free

With a user-friendly interface and all-encompassing CX software, Zendesk makes it easy to create and use your very own Facebook chatbot provide efficient, personalized interaction at scale. After partnering with Zendesk Service and Sunshine Conversations, one of our clients saw a 10x Facebook Messenger productivity boost and a decrease in rerouting needs, with 79% of bot requests completed via self-service.

Request a demo from Zendesk and experience how chatbots can simplify and speed up your service conversations today.