Enel offers a news bot through Facebook Messenger which shows some promise for corporate communications
Enel, the Italy-based power company, offers a Facebook Messenger news bot which it has named ‘elen’.
The bot is accessed via a Facebook Messenger icon in Enel.com’s navigation, positioned prominently next to the hamburger menu icon on the right hand side of the header. It can also be reached via the group’s Facebook page.
The bot begins by introducing itself as a news bot and informing the user that they can tell it what topics they are interested in, or use a menu presented in the bot, which is a series of links to areas on the corporate site such as news, press releases, and stories.
It also offers an introduction to the company and its sustainability activities. Users can ask elen questions or type in topics, and the bot automatically produces basic answers or links to the corporate site.
If it gets stuck, as it did on a question about the company’s position on global warming, elen allows the user to request an answer from a human – which we received promptly.
Elen will be useful to audiences who want basic, general information and news, and the informal tone helps to humanise the company. It also sends a signal about the company’s innovative approach, but those wanting more detailed information are still better off sticking with the corporate website.
Ultimately, the bot works best as a way of funnelling Facebook and mobile users back to the corporate website, and presumably deflecting contact about basic company information (but still needs humans for more complex answers).
It is something of a risk to tie the bot to a particular platform, in this case Facebook Messenger. Not all corporate website users will have installed Facebook Messenger, and may be unwilling to do so or to log in on desktop.
Promotion of elen is weak too: although the Facebook Messenger icon is located in the header, some users may not be aware of what it is. It is not clear, before clicking on it, what exactly the user will get in return.
T-Systems Germany, by contrast, has a careers chat bot offered directly from its website which does not require any third party platform installation, as we wrote earlier this year, and which states clearly what it can be used for.
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