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Facebook's New APIs Bring Customer Service to iOS Messenger App

By Steve Anderson
April 11, 2016

Facebook as a marketing tool is not only well-known, it's also gaining a lot of ground. Recently Facebook drove that point home as plans emerged for new application programming interfaces (APIs) for the iOS version of Facebook Messenger.

The new features include chatbots for customer service operations, as well as live chat functions. Facebook is looking to connect users with businesses over Messenger, which is an advantage for businesses who don't have the time or technological know-how to build automated response systems alone. With the new APIs, chatbot developers will be able to make systems that respond to users with “structured messages”, which include things like descriptions, titles, and the marketing standard “call to action” like encouraging users to visit a website.

That's not the end of the development, as Facebook is also working to bring out new plug-ins for Messenger for contact pages. Users would then be able to route directly from a contact page to a chat system, which would eventually become more popular than calls and emails. The possibility for better-targeted advertising also emerged; available for a fee, advertisers would be able to select an option to send advertising to users who have previously chatted with that business.

Chatbots have previously been seen as part of both Kik and Skype, and Facebook even offered an airline information chatbot recently with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Those interested in getting a better look at where APIs might be set to take business as we know it will do well to check the upcoming All About the API event July 18 – 21 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. While there, attendees will be able to network, see new innovations in the field, and even participate in the building of these new innovations with a set of hackathons available at the event.

It's reasonable enough that users want access to other channels; that's most of the point of an omnichannel development strategy. Emails have a disturbing tendency to get lost in transition, and phone calls require a completely different device be used, often only during certain hours. A chat system, meanwhile, allows more rapid connection at different times of day, with less hold time and reduced waits to get answers. Backed up by proper customer service rep empowerment, it greatly improves the chances of first-call resolution, and in the end, that's most everyone's goal.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

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