Facebook buys chatbot startup Servicefriend for Calibra customer service

Facebook has acquired Servicefriend, a startup with chatbot capabilities that will help its Calibra platform.

When Facebook revealed that it would be launching a cryptocurrency and a digital wallet in June, the announcement was not well received. Governments across the globe slammed the corporation for developing an unregulated financial product. However, the social media company isn’t slowing down the development of Libra and Calibra.

On Saturday, TechCrunch reported that Facebook acquired an Israel-based startup called Servicefriend. The social network purchased the firm to gain access to its customer service chatbot technology.

Why Facebook Bought Servicefriend

Founded in 2015, Servicefriend specialized in producing branded messaging and automated conversational interfaces. Using platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, the startup’s chat software helped companies effectively manage large call volumes. Instead of depending entirely on artificial intelligence (AI), however, the company’s solution brings together machine and human resources.

When a consumer initiates contact with a company, Servicefriend snaps into action. It’s warm and focused robot agents don’t annoy customers by inundating them with promotional material. On the contrary, they scan the client’s message for contextual information and reply appropriately. Using data from a host firm’s system, the AI provides quick and accurate responses.

Since Servicefriend’s AI has a robust understanding of natural language, its answers are clear and conversational.

Furthermore, when Servicefriend’s program receives a question that it can’t answer, it brings up relevant data and relays it to a human agent. As such, customer service representatives can rapidly find the information that a customer is seeking. The software’s integration with platforms made by Microsoft, Salesforce, and Zendesk also makes it a powerful search tool.

The firm’s hybrid agent-AI system has been highly effective at optimizing call center operations, boosting customer satisfaction, and increasing conversion rates. For instance, Servicefriend helped Filipino wireless carrier Global Telecom reduce its customer interaction time down to 20 hours per 1,000 contacts.

Calibra Chatbot

As Facebook intends for Libra to be a global cryptocurrency and for Calibra to be a global digital wallet, a chat client could be very useful in helping the company realize its ambitions.

Currently, the social network has a monthly active user base of 2.4 billion people. As such, Calibra couldn’t use a traditional call center to handle its customer service needs. Even if only five percent of Facebook users (120 million people) signed up for its digital wallet, the customer service demand would be too high.

However, Servicefriend’s system interpolation and natural language features will help familiarize cryptocurrency novices with digital assets.

It’s worth noting that Facebook offered businesses chatbot support through its Messenger service back in 2016. However, accuracy issues and a lack of genuine conversation hobbled the program soon after its launch. Acquiring a company that specializes in making remarkably lifelike AI agents should give Facebook better luck the second time around.

That said, with Libra’s development facing pushback from regulators across the globe, developing a robust chat client might be the least of Facebook’s cryptocurrency concerns.