Late last week Facebook announced updates to its Messenger Platform, which include the ability to give bots different personas, a customer chat plugin for WordPress, and removal of template restrictions on Tagged Messages.
Messenger Platform Personas API
With the announcement of the Personas API, Facebook is allowing businesses to not only add a more personal touch to Messenger conversations, but also provide a more clear way to differentiate between business roles. The customizable virtual personas can be assigned to both humans and bots, and are useful in a variety of situations. One of the more obvious use cases is when a bot hands the conversation off to a customer care representative. When this happens, the message from the representative would appear with a new icon and name clarifying who they are and who they represent.
Check out the Personas API documentation for detailed information on how to get started.
Customer Chat Plugin for WordPress
Facebook also announced a big win for WordPress developers, a fully supported WordPress plugin for Messenger Customer Chat. The plugin is available in the WordPress marketplace now and requires WordPress version 3.9 or higher.
Template Restrictions on Tagged Messages Removed
Businesses are allowed 24 hours to respond to customer inquiries, with a few exceptions, one of those exceptions is Tagged Messages. One good example is the SHIPPING_UPDATE tag. A bot could use this tag to send a message that would update the customer on shipping timelines, well past 24 hours after the last interaction. With this update not only has Facebook announced a new tag, the BUSINESS_PRODUCTIVITY tag, they also removed the requirement that these messages adhere to template restrictions. By removing template restrictions, businesses can now use any template or just simple text. The BUSINESS_PRODUCTIVITY is designed to, “Send non-promotional messages to help people manage the productivity of their businesses or related activities.”