Facebook Messenger is becoming customer service component for brands. Ninety-two percent of Department Stores in L2’s recent report offer the service, a high number considering only 22% of those brands have implemented live chat on their e-commerce sites. Furthermore, 19% of those brands respond to consumers instantly and 14% respond within minutes, meaning select brands are using the feature as an opportunity to improve wait times.

Chatbots, however, are a different story. Reports say Facebook scaled back chatbots after a 70% failure rate, and none of the brands on L2’s Index currently use the platform. Within those brands that scaled back, Nordstrom, DSW, and TK Maxx built chatbots that were able to hold personalized conversations with consumers. These chatbots were debuted exclusively for the holiday season and acted as gift-concierges giving product recommendations and links to checkout.

TK Maxx’s chatbot, the Baby Oracle features the baby from the brand’s Christmas campaign and provides gifting suggestions compete with GIFs and emoji after asking customers a series of questions. Customers also received a personalized video they could share on Facebook.

Nordstrom’s holiday asks a series of lifestyle questions and provides tailored gifting suggestions based on the answers.

While chatbots themselves have proven ineffective in their current state, these efforts show ways brands can leverage messaging services to go beyond responding to general customer queries.

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