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Twitter debuts customer service chatbot for brands

News   •   Dec 05, 2016 11:00 GMT

Twitter is rolling out two new chatbot features for businesses, Welcome Messages and Quick Replies, designed to help brands offer automated customer services for social media users.

Brands already signed up to the service include Evernote, Pizza Hut and Airbnb. The move follows a similar service offered by Facebook earlier this year.

‘Welcome Messages’

The new Welcome Messages let brands automatically “greet” people who engage in their direct messages and also “set expectations” for the ensuing conversation.

The automated welcome message shows up whenever a customer begins a conversation with a brand’s business account. Businesses can create multiple welcome messages and deep link directly to a specific greeting from tweets, websites, or apps.

‘Quick Replies’
The second new tool, ‘Quick Replies’ prompts users with best responses to automated direct messages, either through a list of options or guidance for specific text values.

The tool asks customers for more specific information about their request before a private conversation has even started.

For example, if a customer tweets a brand with a query or a complaint the company can kick start a private chat in order to find out more.

Buttons will then prompt the customer to give further information so the issue can be resolved within Twitter’s walls.

Twitter has demonstrated that brand interactions have tangible returns on its platform: The company released a study last month in conjunction with Applied Marketing Sciences that showed consumers are likely to spend up to 20% more on products and services provided by businesses who engage with them on Twitter.

“Using data intelligently”

Commenting on the move, Sam Madden, UK Director of Wiraya, said: “Twitter’s latest delve into the world of chatbots is another example of how rapidly artificial intelligence is taking over as a communication tool. This is the first time the platform has recognised the possibilities of AI for improving customer service specifically on a large scale.
“AI has suffered some backlash with many imagining sci-fi movies depicting robots taking over the world, or stealing people’s jobs. However, AI isn’t just about chatbots and futuristic tools – it can be applied and integrated intelligently and subtly across existing communication channels, helping to create a more personalised, relevant dialogue between a brand and the customer. It’s about uncovering data that helps to understand how customers behave and react, then using that insight to adapt the message and approach.

“Machine learning and elements of AI are applied across many of the services we already use on a daily basis. The reason services like Netflix and Spotify are so popular is that they use data intelligently to provide relevant content to users based on their consumption.

“Most importantly AI shouldn’t be seen to replace humans, rather just enhance human ability and help to communicate in a personalised manner, at scale. AI is a useful tool, but it’s important not to lose the human element – AI is just about making humans the best version of themselves, not about completely removing the human aspect of the interaction.”