Case Study: Facebook Bots + Jellystone = Happy Campers 

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Robert, LA has over 25,000 fans who Like their Business Page on Facebook. More often than not, excited campers are looking to gather information ahead of their next visit. Of course, having tons of traffic is never a bad thing. It only becomes an issue when customer questions aren’t addressed in a timely manner—or, worse—get overlooked entirely.

Customers just can’t stop messaging Yogi, and that’s a good thing! The Page’s inbox is inundated, on average, with more than 150 private messages per month. More broadly, the customer service paradigm is experiencing a monumental shift towards social. A recent study by Forbes revealed that 67% of consumers have used a brand’s social presence to get a customer service response.

Of the numerous inquiries received through Messenger by Yogi, a significant portion are frequently asked questions. For the most part, these questions can be answered fairly easily. Still, taking the time to read and understand each individual request, and then crafting a unique response isn’t always optimal. Additionally, real people tend to get busy—a human customer service rep might not always answer fast enough to satisfy every customer’s needs. Facebook’s emphasis on a Page’s response time compounds the problem, where a slower response rate can actually discourage users from heading to your inbox altogether. In fact, 42% of Facebook Users expect a response within an hour. When built correctly, a chatbot can help customers get what they need, as soon as they need it.

Chatbots are nothing new. They’re already a pervasive part of our culture, thanks to services like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant—but go as far back as AIM & MSN’s SmarterChild. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the undeniable future of customer service. Through Facebook Messenger, however, brands are presented with the unique opportunity to connect with customers on their own grounds: Facebook. There are already more than 1.2 billion people who already use Facebook Messenger. It’s safe to say that your customers are part of that group.

Our team knew a chatbot was the answer to Yogi’s customer service challenges. To get the ball rolling, we analyzed their inbox to see what information customers were looking for most frequently. From our research, two distinct categories became immediately evident:

  • Pricing & Availability
  • Renovation Updates

Starting with those topics, we were able to map out the overall flow of Yogi’s chatbot, making sure that each step in the customer service process progressed naturally and made logical sense. Of course we understood two broad categories alone couldn’t possibly cover everything—so, we added a Something Else option to our main menu, directing users to a live person.

We consciously decided on the subtlety of “Something Else” versus “Talk to Human”. The idea was to encourage users to explore other options first, instead of immediately opting to begin a live chat — still making a live human accessible when necessary. The final structure we landed on looked something like this:

To be successful, a conversation with the bot needed to be almost indistinguishable from one with a live person. Nailing down the perfect tone for this bot was no easy feat. We worked hard to craft a friendly and helpful personality inspired by the voice of Yogi. Knowing that they increase engagement and add flair, we focused on including relevant emoji at key points of the conversation. Other personal touches—like using the user's name throughout the interaction—helped to make our dialogue feel dynamic and personal.

As customers began interacting with the bot, we started to notice usage patterns we couldn’t have anticipated. Using that raw customer data, we tweaked our program based on how people were navigating their way through the experience. After all, a customer service bot is only useful so long as customers are able to easily and quickly find the information they’re searching for.

Since implementing Yogi’s chatbot, the Page’s average response time has sped-up significantly, making the leap from “A Few Hours” to less than 1 minute. Facebook has also turned on the Page’s “Very Responsive - 100% Response Rate” badge. As a result, the amount of users starting a conversation with the Page has grown by over 20% in under 1 month. The bot’s task automation also eased a major burden on Yogi’s social media staff, eliminating the necessity of having a live person monitoring their Messenger inbox 24/7. That combination of fulfilled customer requests and increased labor productivity is what we in the marketing industry call a win-win!

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