I was talking to an insurance agent friend of mine about using chatbots for his business and it set me thinking. Chatbots can be used in a variety of ways but for insurance agents, I can see how it could be useful for getting new leads and qualifying them before getting on the phone with them.
AI is fascinating to me. Automated cars are already happening and Google is really committed to pushing the technology. Go check out the latest Google I/O if you haven’t.
You don’t have to have floors of scientists and engineers to build a simple chatbot for your business though. I’m going to use a free tool called Chatfuel to build our chatbot in this example.
#But why a Chatbot for Facebook Messenger?
Imagine having an assistant helping you chat with your customers and answering their questions 24/7. A series of menus or keywords guides customers to the next steps, saving time and eliminating frivolous requests that don’t lead to sales. I can see this come in very handy for insurance agents – instead of using Facebook Lead Forms or having them fill up some other online form to get their details, a chatbot allows you collect data in a ‘conversation’ style.
Nobody is being fooled into thinking that your chatbot is a real human being but the interaction is fluid and doesn’t feel as tedious as filling out a form.
This is definitely not useful only to solopreneurs though. Businesses can use chatbots to allow their customers to buy tickets for an event, get directions, see a menu, set up an appointment, or ask a common question.
How it works
The CNN Facebook Page uses a combination of a simple menu-based bot and an artificial intelligence component. When you click the Message button on their page, a Facebook Messenger window opens. Click Get Started from inside Messenger.
The page responds with several options to choose from: Editor’s Picks, Topics and Help. The menu is self-explanatory and depending on the answer you choose, you’ll see a second menu with more options.
In this case, I typed ‘boo’ instead of choosing a menu item. The artificial intelligence bot thought I was unhappy with it and asked me what I didn’t like. When I typed ‘help’, it responded with some helpful keywords I can try and pointed me to another menu.
#Let’s create a Chatbot
As I mentioned, I’m going to use Chatfuel. However, there are also other tools like Flowxo, Botsify, It’s Alive and Rebotify. They all allow you to create bots without any coding.
In this walkthrough, we’ll learn how to use Chatfuel to create a free chatbot based on a menu system that you preselect. Users will see options they can click, which will lead them through the menus you’ve created.
Head over to Chatfuel and sign up. Note that you need to have a Facebook Page to connect it to later so make sure you have a Page already set up and ready to go.
Chatfuel offers you some templates to work off of but we’ll start with a blank canvas. This is where the magic happens!
Slide the yellow slider to reveal the components of the interface.
As you can see, the default welcome message is on a text card. When users enter your Messenger, that’s the first thing they’ll see. You can keep this text card, add another one to it (such as an image), or start over with one of the other options available, like a gallery or plugin.
Then, you can add buttons to the card. Users can click to these buttons to take the next action such as get a phone number, visit a URL, or open a new block.
Note that you can add more than one button under this card! So if the most common customer requests are your hours, location, phone number, or directions, create additional blocks with that information to return to the user. If you’re an online business, you may want to include blocks in your buttons that give more information on a particular segment of your business.
If you want to create a new block, click + Add Block.
Now, you can start fresh with new cards and buttons to send the user down a new path.
Once you’re satisfied with your bot, you can click on Connect to Facebook and choose the Page you want. Click Test This Chatbot to save your work.
Your bot is ready. Click View on Messenger.com to test it out.
#Check out my Chatbot
For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ve created a simple chatbot that asks the user some questions.
You can see AnantBot in action here.
#Run Facebook Ads to drive targeted traffic to your chatbot
Let’s say you’re targeting Singaporean fathers between 25 and 35 years of age to sign up for term insurance with your Facebook ad, your chatbot should ask questions targeted questions for that demographic.
If you’re running another campaign to target retirees, you would create another Chatbot for that demographic.
I should probably create another post on creating Facebook Ads but that’s another tutorial for another time!
#Push your Leads to Google Sheets
We’re going to use Zapier.com (on the free plan) to push the answers we get from the user in the Chatbot to a new row in a Google Sheet.
For this to work, you’d need:
1) Zapier.com account
2) Google.com account
I’m assuming you’re more familiar with Google Sheets than with Zapier so I’ll spend a little more time on Zapier.
Zapier basically lets you connect two different services to each other. It’s a souped up version of IFTTT. But before we dive into Zapier, make sure to create a Google Sheet first. Create the columns with the queries in your chatbot and add an example row of answers.
You’ll see that I’ve created columns according to the queries in AnantBot.
Now, it’s time to dive into Zapier.
We’re in luck! Zapier already has a Zap built for us to connect Chatfuel and Google Sheets so just head over here and click Use this Zap.
From here on, it’s a matter of just following instructions. First, Zapier will prompt you to connect your Chatfuel account and your Google Sheets account.
After you select your Google Sheets account, you’ll be prompted to choose the spreadsheet and the worksheet. This is why you need to have already created your spreadsheet earlier.
It’s pretty much the same idea for Chatfuel as well. You’ll be prompted for the Chatfuel key and you can find this in your Google Sheets (Zapier) block in your chatbot. You can also stop and test your Zap at various points to troubleshoot.
And finally, you should have a working Zap!
This is just one example of a chatbot you can create with Chatfuel. You can build different chatbots depending on the nature of your business and/or what you’re trying to achieve.
What do you think? Would you consider building a Facebook Messenger chatbot?