Facebook is focusing on the chatbots for its Messenger service as they present a huge potential and are capable of replacing 1-800 numbers. Building chatbots require a lot of resources and technical skills that are not available with most of the businesses. This is the reason Facebook is providing developers with API tools for building chatbots and Live Chat web plug-ins for business clients, says a report from TechCrunch citing multiple sources and the leaked deck that Facebook shared with the developers.

Facebook To Announce ChatBots And Live Chat At F8

Assist businesses with chatbots on Facebook Messenger

At Facebook’s F8 conference next week, the company is expected announce the tools. Last year at F8, the company teased big expansion of Messenger into connecting potential customers with businesses via chat.

TechCrunch spoke to a few developers, who informed that Facebook has not formalized or named a specific Messenger platform partner program as yet. Expectations are, it will refer businesses to Messenger developers, and later come up with an official partner program.

The businesses will be able to build automated response systems for fielding messages from potential customers with the help of chatbot providers. Also, the businesses now will not need to develop the complex technologies themselves or fumble around the Internet to find someone help them with it. Rather, they will be able to easily find ones that have got Facebook’s approval.

The social networking giant already has a directory of approved marketing partners. This directory helps the businesses find technology and service providers, who can help their businesses with ads content, measurement and community management. There is no distinction, badge or separate directory that Facebook provides to its partners that can specifically assist with messaging.

Live Chat buttons

Facebook sent a presentation to some Messenger chatbot developers that TechCrunch reviewed. The presentation explains in detail how the chatbots will be able to respond with what it calls ‘Structured Messages.’

Structured Messages, which goes beyond the text replies, include a description, a URL, a title, image, and calls to action such as visiting a website, viewing an e-commerce order or making a restaurant reservation. The developers will be able to build systems similar to Uber’s and KLM’s integrations with Messenger using the Structured Message functionality.

Facebook is working with Live Chat developers as well to build plug-ins for ‘Message Us’-style contact buttons for websites. This way instead of pushing customers to email or call, they will be able to interact with a human support agent over Messenger chat. On tapping the Live chat buttons, the users will be send to the Messenger app on mobile or Messenger.com on the web.