Facebook held their F8 Conference last week where Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of chatbot services through the Facebook Messenger service.

To put it simply, chatbots are programs that mimic human conversations using artificial intelligence. They use natural language to be able to talk to people like we talk to our friends. The aim is to replace traditional communication methods like the telephone or email for customers who want to do things like order a bunch of flowers, ask a question, or even make a restaurant reservation.

What it really means is that businesses will be able to automate customer support, content and experiences by providing the information through the chatbots. We will be able to deliver personalised communication that makes the customer feel like they’re talking to real customer service representative.

While chatbots themselves are not brand new pieces of technology, having them available on Facebook Messenger for over 900 million people to access is a big deal.

But how much of an effect will this have on customer service? Will this become the way of the future? And more importantly, they replace customer service representatives?

In short, we needn’t worry about losing our jobs just yet. We’ll need to wait it out to see how receptive customers are, the quality of the interactions, and exactly how businesses will use them. At this stage it looks as though the benefit for businesses will be in automating low-value interactions and allowing customers to get the answers they need in a way that suits them – quickly and effectively.