Facebook has made some interesting moves with Messenger in recent months, ones that further show its intention to build it into an essential tool for businesses. By doing so, it’s ushering in a new era of social-led customer service.
Shortly after announcing a new milestone in Messenger’s monthly active users – a none-too-shabby 900 million, according to internal stats – Facebook announced four key new features. The updates make it easier for customers to chat with brands, whether it be in-app or on the web, and include:
- Custom URLs that open new threads with brands (try https://m.me/MRY)
- Custom user names for brands on Messenger
- Scannable codes to open threads with brands (akin to Snapchat).
Delivering the news via its business blog, Facebook also showcased a new feature that allows a static greeting to await any customer messaging the brand for the first time.
Facebook still has its eye on business
These latest updates – while not earth-shaking in their own right – point toward a continued effort on Facebook’s part to better permeate into the business world. Plenty of rumors have been swirling over Menlo Park’s machinations in the recent past, centering on everything from Messenger Bots to its Facebook for Work platform.
While we anticipate larger announcements during next week’s f8 Conference, brands can get started in a few ways:
The simplest is to set a greeting for customers who may message you. This pops up before they’ve even started typing.
Often, users seeking to message brands aren’t too happy. So why not leave a pleasant message to greet them, even if they’ve never messaged before? Could help cool a temper, if slightly.
Messenger also incorporates auto replies and away messages, so check out these features, which could save a customer or two.
Where to next with social customer care?
Next, analyze your customer care program to better integrate social, thinking beyond Messenger or even Facebook.
When millennials have a customer service issue, they’re still as likely as previous generations to pick up the phone – however, they’ll use social media, web chat or a branded app instead of voice calling.
According to Dimension Data’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report for 2015, nearly 1 in 4 millennials prefers social as a contact point. Add in SMS, web chat and apps, and you’re left with barely 1 in 10 who’d prefer to speak with someone directly. Compare this 28.5% of Generation X and 63.5% of Boomers.
At the same time, that very survey found fewer than 4 of every 10 contact centers have social media capability – a tremendous gap as consumer demographics change.
Twitter, a long-time go-to for brand complaints, has also beefed up its customer care offerings in 2016, debuting simpler ways to solicit direct messages from brands. Additionally, customer service representatives can follow up with a customer about their experience.
All signs point to social leading the way for customer care going forward. As brands shift channels to adapt to new demographics in marketing, they also need to take care in utilizing those same channels to care for their customers.