Now you can deliver even better customer service with automated replies on Instagram
Developments on Instagram aren’t just relevant to those responsible for running social media accounts or marketing managers. That’s because customer service teams everywhere can get a major upgrade with Facebook’s recent release of Messenger API for Instagram.
It offers the same functionality that was already available for Messenger and WhatsApp—the ability to automatically respond to messages sent via chat with pre-set text. Now, with Instagram added to the mix, automating customer interactions on Facebook’s complete trio of online platforms is something every Customer Service manager should be looking at.
After all, these are key online spaces for ecommerce, where billions of users are shopping, looking for product information, interacting with brands and asking questions. That last part is where Messenger API for Instagram is a real game changer for customer service—the power to automate answers to those questions opens lots of doors for anyone who puts it to good use.
Among other benefits, you can streamline your customer service operations immediately by automating your responses to simple, repetitive questions that take away time better spent on other matters. But that’s just the start.
If you’re curious about the concept of chat automation or what you can do with it, this is a great time to learn more. The introduction of Messenger API for Instagram is sure to accelerate the adoption of an already important trend in ecommerce and make it possible for brands to better serve customers on this crucial platform for online sales.
But before we get into the details of the advantages of chatbot automation, let’s take a step back and review some of the basics of how chatbots work.
What chat automation is all about
Chat functionality has become an expected standard in today’s ecommerce. You’ve certainly noticed it on lots of websites where a chat box pops up or is already waiting for you in the bottom corner of the page, with someone asking how they can help you.
It’s easy, it’s convenient and it allows (and encourages) visitors to ask a quick question and get a quick answer. Sure, an email address is still available on the “Contact” page for anyone who wants to take the time to send a message, but the option to chat is slowly becoming the default way to start conversations.
Of course, everyone knows that social media platforms like Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram offer chat functions, allowing users to easily communicate with others. But the same function that allows for easy chat between friends has become a key touchpoint for interactions between brands and their followers on those platforms.
All chat functionality, whether on familiar social media platforms or an individual company’s website, depends on someone on the other end of the conversation being ready to reply with the answers to customer questions. But what if the volume of incoming messages or the time when they’re received make it impossible for each one to be handled in a timely manner?
It’s one thing for a small or medium-sized business to get a handful of inquiries via the chat box on its website but when a major global brand gets hundreds or even thousands of messages a day through social media, a different kind of solution is needed.
That’s where chatbot automation comes in.
A chatbot is software designed to answer customer inquiries sent by chat. Chatbot automation is simply the ability to respond to those messages with pre-set texts that are matched to certain kinds of questions. It means humans don’t need to get involved in answering simple and usually repetitive customer inquiries. Instead, everything is handled by the chatbot and customers get instant answers to their questions while customer service teams are free to focus on other things.
How it works
In the case of automated replies on Instagram, it starts with the release of an official API, a kind of digital bridge that integrates different software applications. That’s what Facebook recently made available, allowing chatbot experts like Zowie to make our service available to Instagram users.
Now, in addition to using automated replies on their websites and other social media platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp, Zowie users can apply the same convenience to the chat function on their Instagram accounts.
Setting everything up in Zowie is easy. You simply supply the text you want to match the questions you expect to receive on Instagram and Zowie takes care of the rest.
Effective chatbots are self-learning and use AI-powered algorithms to recognize questions and match them with the most appropriate response. They provide a very high degree of accuracy and they are flexible enough to adapt to different variations of the same question.
On top of that, anyone who has automated responses set up on all of Facebook’s social media platforms—Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram—can use Zowie to combine customer chat histories in a single inbox, making communication and account management easier.
This means you can receive and respond to direct messages and get notifications about comments and mentions across all three platforms in one place, thanks to Zowie.
And you can automate a lot more than you probably think. Zowie automates about 30% of customer inquiries sent through chat on day one and the number can rise to 60% or even more after a few weeks. Exactly how much can be automated depends on how much data is gathered, the nature of the questions asked, how many automations you set up yourself and more.
What chatbot automation on Instagram (and everywhere else) does for you
Now that you know the basics of what chatbot automation is all about and how it works on Instagram and elsewhere, it’s time to look closer at what you can do with it. How can you Messenger API for Instagram to work? What opportunities does it bring? How can you turn the power of automation into concrete advantages that grow your business and make customers happy?
Let’s divide the main benefits into what’s good for customers, what’s good for sales and what’s good for the business generally.
Improving Customer Service
What about customers? What do they get out of the use of Messenger API for Instagram? Well, a lot, actually. The two things that matter most to them—speed and quality of the service they get—are both greatly enhanced by the use of automated replies on Instagram. Here’s how:
Instantly cut wait times for everyone
The days of “Your call is important to us, please hold for the next…” are over. At least, they are if you want to be perceived as responsive to customer needs and dedicated to providing the best experience possible.
The speed with which you respond to customers knocking on your virtual door is a primary metric for the quality of your customer service. When you respond literally instantly, you’re making the best possible impression on customers who are often mentally prepared for a standard, less-than-satisfactory experience.
With Messenger API for Instagram and Zowie, automatic replies to simple and repetitive questions mean no wait time at all. For more complex issues that require personal service (or if someone simply prefers to speak with a customer service agent), wait times are greatly reduced thanks to all those simple questions being answered automatically and removed from the call queue.
They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. You’ll set the perfect tone for your customer conversations on Instagram and impress right from the start with automated replies.
See what today’s customers are asking about, use it to help tomorrow’s customers
When you use Messenger API for Instagram and Zowie, you’ll get valuable insights into what customers are asking about. Yes, many of these questions will be addressed by automations you’ve already set up based on your previous experience of what customers ask about, but not always.
By monitoring what customers are asking, you can be alerted to things like issues on your site, trends that might not be on your radar, some bottleneck in your purchasing process or something else that needs your attention. It’s easy to then create new automations for these questions for anyone else asking them going forward.
This means that something that requires personal attention from customer service today can be handled automatically tomorrow, to the satisfaction and benefit of everyone involved.
Ecommerce never sleeps, and neither does your automated customer service
In the age of Instagram, customers expect insta-answers. Even if you can’t provide live 24/7 human customer service, being available around the clock on Instagram is easy. Once you go live with Messenger API for Instagram and Zowie, you’re ready to respond to customer inquiries at any time, day or night, no matter if your customer service staff is active or not.
Ecommerce doesn’t have a closing time and your Instagram page doesn’t shut down overnight. Asking customers to contact you during business hours or promising to get back to them on Monday simply doesn’t work anymore. Your sales efforts are live 24/7 so your customer support needs to be too.
By responding immediately to customer issues, you’re staying top of mind and helping them take another step in the sales process. By making them wait, you’re risking being forgotten and leaving them in the same place they were before. Sounds like an easy choice, right?
Don’t ask (or make) anyone wait for a reply from you—use automation on Instagram for instant customer support.
The deeper engagement made possible by implementing Messenger API for Instagram through Zowie creates new opportunities for sales and a better overall environment for supporting marketing activities. Here are some of the ways that automating responses to direct messages on Instagram can help you drives sales:
Growth without customer service bottlenecks = more growth
Growth in ecommerce requires alignment across all the moving parts of your operation. You can often see this during periods of rapid expansion when Customer Service teams are the first to feel the pressure of a larger customer base and the higher number of issues they create. The problems start when the team is unable to handle that suddenly larger volume of issues.
When the team is stretched too thin and the recruitment and training process can’t keep up, automation steps in to keep things operating a high level that both satisfies customers (we’ll get to that in the next section) and lets your team deliver the standard of service that customers expect and you want (we’ll get to that, too).
This means you avoid the negative feedback that comes with a bad customer experience, keep the positive reviews coming, make sure word of mouth stays on your side and deliver the same satisfaction at high sales volumes that you did when things weren’t so busy. The runway to continued growth stays wide open and your Customer Service team becomes an asset, not a liability, on the way to more sales.
Turn conversations into conversions
When an Instagram follower sends a message asking about your product or service, it’s an obvious sign that they’re at least in the first stage of wondering if what you’re selling fits their needs or interests.
Using automated replies to customer inquiries lets you instantly join the conversation. By engaging with customers right away, you’re keeping their interest active and moving the conversation forward. In addition to answering questions, automated replies make it easy to take the next step in the sales funnel, keep customers on your site or page and send the most important message of all—that you’re listening and ready to talk.
With an automated response to customer questions, you keep their focus on you and your brand, keep them on your site and keep them thinking about how your product is just what they’re looking for.
No one wants to be told that you’ll “get back to them” later when you start your business hours. Take advantage of the chance to move every conversation a step closer to a conversion with automated responses on Instagram chat.
Use limited-time offers to close the sale now
The ability to send limited-time offers is a very useful advantage of instant replies to customer messages on Instagram. What better way to take advantage of a moment of high interest and engagement than conditional, limited offers designed to close the sale now?
Messenger API for Instagram and Zowie give you the endless flexibility needed to tailor offers to any conditions you like. You can, for example, respond to questions for certain products with a code that will offer free shipping or a discount if the customer buys in the next thirty minutes or twenty-four hours or under whatever conditions you want.
It’s a well-known fact in the world of ecommerce that getting a first-time customer to buy is an important breakthrough. Limited-time offers can be just the thing you need to overcome this psychological barrier and welcome a new customer to your brand.
Take advantage of a golden sales opportunity at the moment of greatest interest. Use codes generated by your CRM platform to turn customized responses in Instagram into conversions. After all, what better time to reach out with a special limited offer than at the moment when the customer is ready to buy?
Other Benefits for Your Business
Improvements to sales and customer service are the primary benefits of automated replies powered by chatbots on Instagram but the good news keeps on going.
The efficiencies and streamlined processes made possible by automation bring these advantages too:
Greater satisfaction and better work environment for your Customer Service team
Automating replies to simple and repetitive questions, which typically make up a significant portion of all customer inquiries, means that your Customer Service team is free to focus on issues that require more personalized attention.
This is not only a bonus for the customers who get the time and attention they need, but your CS benefits too. Removing the repetitive, monotonous elements of anyone’s work is always a bonus, but it’s especially helpful here.
Also, without automation the queue of phone calls, emails and social media messages waiting to be answered is much longer. This means that CS agents are under pressure to handle more issues more quickly and process as many issues as possible. It becomes a numbers game rather than a matter of quality. This is a recipe for serious customer satisfaction problems.
Using automated chatbot replies not only means happy customers, it means a less stressful work environment where your staff can feel free to do their jobs the way they should be done.
Cost efficiencies and savings
Automating replies to chat inquiries helps to make CS teams more efficient by allowing them to handle a level of issues far beyond what they could manage without automation. Scaling up delivers more savings, since doubling your customer base, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean doubling your CS team since the portion of customer questions handled by chat can be increased.
So there are direct savings that come from being able to meet CS goals with a smaller team.
Secondly, automation can deliver indirect savings by reducing a standard and always difficult issue in the world of customer service—turnover. As described in the previous point, a better working environment is one result of automation and that certainly has an impact on turnover. Recruiting and training CS agents can be a serious bottleneck that holds back growth or cause a previously stable team to quickly fall behind.
Automation of repetitive tasks can improve the work conditions of your customer service team and eliminate some of the impact that comes with an already stressful task. Decreasing your turnover by just a bit or extending the average employment period can deliver major benefits when your accounting year comes to a close.
Instagram is crucial online touchpoint, enhancing your presence there is a must
We mean much more than just sales here. It’s about your brand image, the experience you deliver and the overall space you occupy in the minds of customers and followers on Instagram in particular.
You already do everything you can to create great content for your Instagram page, attract new followers and engage with existing ones. Using automation when they reach out to you is simply a continuation of that same desire to make being part of your online community a rewarding and convenient experience.
Remember, these are the customers most likely to become brand ambassadors, evangelists and your biggest online cheerleaders. Automating your replies to the messages they send you is part of the experience they expect. It’s also an easy way to reinforce the positive image that existing followers have already have and to impress new ones.
Upgrading your presence on Instagram in just about any way you can is a no-brainer—automated chatbot replies are a shortcut to all the benefits we’ve listed here and more.
Using automated replies on Instagram is just the start
When you operate an ecommerce business in multiple markets, languages, and time zones, automation is a must. Without it, you simply cannot deliver the seamless 24/7 support across multiple channels that today’s consumers expect.
Automation powered by Zowie helps you provide quality customer service while also creating sales opportunities and streamlined processes that save money.
Put Zowie to work and you can automate 30% of your customer inquiries on day one and watch that number rise as the AI-powered algorithms learn as they process more data. After a few weeks, you can automate 60% or more of your customer service issues and enjoy all the benefits described above.
Cost efficiencies, a better experience for customers and a better working environment for your customer service—it’s all ready to go with Messenger API for Instagram and Zowie.
Ready to add all this and more to your Instagram presence? Want to know more about what chatbot automation can do to boost your customer engagement? Just click here and set up a demo with Zowie and get all your questions answered while discovering a new world of opportunities!