The company announced its intention to connect more small businesses to customers through enhanced chatbot features. This will enable consumers to order goods and services, get answers to easy customer-service questions and more.
Facebook’s vice president of Messenger, David Marcus, told Fast Company:
We’ve created an ecosystem of developers that are now enabling large companies to do different types of things, whether they want to do brand stuff or whether they want to plug into their huge call centers with thousands of people and allow them to answer Messenger messages instead of phone calls.
The feature called “Smart Replies” will automatically answer common queries, but requires a human response when questions fall outside of commonly asked questions. The tool will launch with restaurants in the United States first, then expand to additional organizations on Facebook, both in and outside of the U.S.
Facebook is helping businesses inform their customers about their chatbot features through a system called Messenger Codes, which are QR-style codes that organizations can display.