A New Dawn for Customer Service: Instagram Chatbots
It seems we are finally saying goodbye to a gripe of many customer service departments.
Juggling multiple service channels.
FAQs come through Facebook, Instagram, email, phone and more.
Few businesses have the luxury of being able to have wide teams of agents that specialise in a single channel.
Many agents have to split their attention across multiple channels, or businesses have to make do with a handful of channel-specific agents while managers try to navigate a range of channels.
With advancements in technology, tools now help take the pressure off a range of channels.
In early- to mid-2021 Instagram announced its support for chatbots. An announcement that came as a welcome sigh of relief for many customer service departments.
No longer do customer service departments have to worry about an avalanche of FAQs coming through Instagram, allowing them to dedicate more time to the customers that need it most.
The rise of Instagram chatbots presents a few questions. What benefits do Instagram chatbots provide? Compared to chatbots on other channels, how do Instagram stack up? Are there any best practices for Instagram chatbots?
Response times that match expectations
At their core, social media platforms exist to provide a fast-paced form of entertainment.
Quickly read a headline, meme, or post, and then scroll on to the next.
For example, it takes less than 3 seconds for the average adult to read a headline. In the space of a minute, a user could have read 30 different posts.
With Instagram being a predominantly image-based platform, the fast-paced nature is amplified.
This has led to users expecting a brand to respond to a message within less than an hour (source).
In reality, the average brand response time is 5 hours (source), five times slower than their customer’s expectations.
This is where chatbots come in.
With customer service chatbots, response times average within a second (source). For the vast majority of users, this means they can instantly receive the answers they need, going above and beyond matching their expectations of the channel.
See this case study of a customer service chatbot that reduced enquiries by 83%.
Every FAQ, automated
FAQs are a chatbots bread and butter.
The user asks a question and the chatbot answers within seconds, all while agents are spending their time where it really matters, with the customers that need it.
With the potential to, quite literally, automate every single question ever received, where should customer service departments draw the line?
We recommend a customer service chatbot handles between 150 - 200 separate FAQs. This number often more than covers the typical list of FAQs a business receives (and then some).
Sticking below 200 helps improve the overall efficiency of your chatbot.
This ensures the chatbot can answer a wide range of questions, taking the pressure off agents, without becoming bloated.
A reach further than Instagram
Doing more with less.
A phrase that, in all honesty, I imagine a lot of us are sick of hearing.
Putting annoyances towards an over-used phrase aside, the sentiment is a very real part of modern business.
While the phrase conjures images of cutbacks cost-savings, it often has a different meaning.
Doing more with less means avoiding tools and practices that can’t be scaled.
Take an Instagram chatbot.
If the chatbot only works on Instagram, while extremely beneficial for the channel, it’s never going to provide benefits outside of the channel.
However, provided you have a multi-channel chatbot provider such as ubisend, your Instagram chatbot can assist with different channels.
A single chatbot can sit on Instagram, Facebook, your website, and more. This provides customer service departments with a single tool that enables doing more with less, in every sense of the term.
Instagram chatbots vs other channels
It’s worth mentioning that Instagram chatbots are at the start of a huge rise in potential. The initial teething period present with any new tech launch has long since past and we’re now looking at future iterations providing a realm of new possibilities.
At the time of writing, Instagram chatbots support the core message types:
- Text-only messages
- Image messages
- Carousel messages
- Quick replies (buttons)
These four message types are the building blocks of any chatbot conversation, letting customer service departments answer a wide variety of questions.
Experienced chatbot creators may notice that website chatbots support a wider variety of message types. We can expect to see Instagram chatbots also support a wider variety of message types as time progresses. Until then, we’ve got everything we need to build conversations that provide an exceptional user experience.
Helping customer service help the entire business
Instagram for business was typically a megaphone for brands. It was a way for them to say ‘we’re present and here’s our brand personality.’
Over recent years, Instagram for business has evolved to become a central hub for all business communications.
Customer service interactions, marketing and sales efforts, and brand building all take place within a single platform.
Until the launch of Instagram chatbots, it was difficult for these efforts to be succinct, all working in tandem to drive the business forward.
Customer service departments can work with the wider business to perfect chatbot responses, creating experiences that help the customer while building the brand.
Additionally, the following events often lead to spikes in customer service enquiries:
- Seasonal events
- New product launches
- Sales and similar events
What do these events all have in common? They’re marketed on Instagram.
Instagram chatbots can be used as a follow up from marketing activities, answering any initial questions the customer may have.
This first line of defence helps reduce the pressure customer service departments face during their busiest times of the year.
This makes life easier for agents while improving the efforts of the wider business.