This is an in-depth article on one of the many changes that Facebook has announced coming to the Messenger platform August 15, 2019. To see our full overview on those changes you can do so here.
At Automated Dreams, we’re heavy users of ManyChat, so I’ll be using references and terms from that system.
A convenient feature is going away
Within the User Input element in ManyChat, there are quite a few things you can ask for and have the system validate for you. And there are some that will even trigger Facebook to auto-populate a quick response option with the user’s data they have on file.
Currently those are:
Current Location (this is a bit different)
When you ask for a location response, Facebook currently allows a user to click a quick reply “Send Location” that opens up their maps and allows them to drag a pin point from their current location and send that through.
What businesses used it for
A prime example of a business that would have used this feature is one that has 2 or more physical retail locations, such as a restaurant.
Users would send their location which comes through in the format of map coordinates. Then, if you have some more advanced bot work happening in the background via API, the bot would respond with the locations nearest to the user.
This feature also could be used for data collection purposes, where you could collect each of your participants’ coordinates and consolidate the data for a better view of where your users are concentrated… and much more.
One use case we have using this functionality was for a window washing company:
Users were able to get a quote, schedule a service, and pay within the bot. We’d have them send and confirm their location, and then closer to the date of their service, we’d send the coordinates to Zapier to then check the weather forecast for the service date, and if it came back with a probability of precipitation over 40%, we’d automatically ask the user to reschedule at a later date.
What you can do to prepare
Remember, if you’re actively relying on this feature, you need to prepare to make changes now because this is disappearing completely August 15th, 2019.
Without diving too deep into the details on your alternatives, I’ll list the general steps below:
Swapping out Location Response with Text and asking user for their ZIP Code
Use API or a Zapier-supported app that will lookup a user’s ZIP Code
Have it verify that it’s valid or respond with a “Try again” if invalid
If valid, save the ZIP Code/City/State/Country/County/Neighborhood as separate fields.
If you still need their exact address and need to be able to validate it, you can follow the same steps, but instead of asking for their ZIP Code ask for their address and give an example of the format you’re looking for. You’ll be able to then use an address validation tool to spit back all of the information you’d need.
I’m not really sure what Facebook’s exact intentions were when they decided to phase out this feature. Their overall announcement was that they were creating a more user friendly and simplified Messenger experience. This feature made life easier for both business & customer; But, oh well, we can’t change it.
There are a variety of ways you can go about replacing this functionality, it just may take a little more development than you’re used to.
About Automated Dreams
We are a Business Automation firm based out of Portland, Oregon.
At Automated Dreams, we’ve got 3 ManyChat Messenger Marketing Experts on our Bot Team — try and find another company that can say that!We treat Facebook Messenger as an extension of your business -- not a one-off tool.
Our Bot Experts & Specialists are well versed in advanced development; If you need our team’s help with this change, or if you would like to optimize/enhance your current flows, schedule a free consultation today!