Technically, “messaging” and “live chat” are similar. It’s the same basic foundation with the same basic use cases. However, in reality, they couldn’t be further apart from each other.
The experience used to be horrendous. It was slow, ponderous, and made you question why the company even had it in the first place.
Today you’ll still get the odd experience that takes hours to receive a reply to your message.
Thankfully, that’s all beginning to change.
Messaging has become a multi-purpose tool. It’s proactive, instead of reactive. And there’s no greater example than Facebook Messenger.
But did you know that you can use Facebook Messenger for business?
Using Facebook Messenger is one of the best tools for customer service. Here’s why you should consider adding it to your arsenal.
Facebook Messenger: Why it’s Great for Customer Service
Facebook Messenger has gone from a relatively obscure, almost annoying feature initially to a behemoth.
The first chat iteration dates back to 2014, where it was basically a glorified AOL Instant Messenger.
It used to be the thing that made you remember to hide your status as “offline” because that weird person from high school kept bugging you at inopportune times.
However, things have changed in the last few years. And things have evolved dramatically in just the last few months.
Today, there are billions of people (and climbing) using it. Like, daily.
And there’s also over 100,000 bots and developers tapping into its potential. They’re creating custom chatbots that can do everything from update customers about their product shipping status to acquire new customers or process new purchases.
Just saying that “customers like messaging now” is a complete understatement.
It also helps issues get resolved within a shockingly low 42 seconds.
One glowing review from the unlikeliest of sources, Harvard Business Review, showcases the promise of messaging.
The author, Joshua Gans, started a customer service chat with Rogers, his Canadian cable company.
Joshua received notifications each time a response rolled in, so there were no long delays in between. It only required about ten words for the issue to be addressed and resolved.
The chat details stick around after, too. Even if the support rep changes, the new one is able to scroll up and review prior contact history.
That all sounds great, right?
- People prefer messaging.
- Messaging resolves issues faster and easier.
- Facebook’s built-in version is one of the most widely used on the planet.
Seems like a no-brainer to me.
However, there is one other important reason. It’s not hidden per se, but subtle.
Facebook Messenger ads are starting to gain steam. Most of the options look like basic ads that drive people to start chatting with a brand.
But one of them allows you to send targeted messages directly within the app to people. So there’s no middle-step. No additional friction. You can just send people updates directly in the same spot they’re already spending time talking with friends and family.
You can only advertise to people you’ve already chatted with. There must be a history between the two of you.
Which brings us to the subtle benefit of using Facebook Messenger for customer service.
It can drastically expand your reach to target Messenger-based ads. They’re like custom ads on steroids because of their location and our already established affinity towards messaging.
It might be easy to miss a right-hand sidebar ad, even if it’s tailored to your past purchases. It’s still often white noise.
But there’s no chance you’re missing a Messenger ad when it’s in the same stream you use to talk to friends and family.
However, before we can get to any of that, you need to start moving more customer service over to Facebook. (Or at the very least, start integrating it into daily operations.)
Here’s are the top three reasons you should be using Facebook Messenger for customer service:
1. Centralize Social Messages and Respond Rapidly
We already saw how messaging can resolve issues within just a minute or two.
Which is why most people do the same exact thing when they have a complaint: post it to Facebook or Twitter.
Try to email or call in and they’re looking at a few hours before getting a response. But put something nasty on Facebook and almost half of your customers expect a response within an hour.
And that’s exactly what they get a majority of the time.
Consumers have been trained to head over to social for customer service issues because it’s the likeliest place they’ll get a fast response.
So embrace it.
Facebook’s unified inbox can help you centralize a lot of the messaging that’s already happening. First and foremost, it can help you centralize communication across all of Facebook-owned properties.
That way, you’re not logging in-and-out of different services or letting things slip through the cracks.
Working inside the same inbox can also help you speed up response times, using similar answers to questions that were already asked so you can blow through dozens of responses within minutes.
Click on each customer profile to get details about who they are and if there’s any previous contact history.
Think about email or a phone call for instance. You’re commonly working with very little insight about each customer.
Unless your company has a strong customer database and there’s some past history, you’ve got nothing. No context to properly respond to each person.
Moving customer service issues over to Facebook gives you the ability to tap into their already-rich database. You can literally find out about each individual within just a few clicks.
Each profile also provides a few places to add extra notes about each contact, along with a follow-up folder to prompt you at the right time. So there’s no need for an overly complex CRM that nobody else within your organization uses.
But that’s not even the best part.
Sure, the unified inbox and helpful profile tools can help you create a more efficient, streamlined customer service approach.
However, you can also augment that with chatbots. Some reports show that using a chatbot to help customer care can reduce labor costs by 30%.
So you can use low-level machine learning to help spot patterns or repeated requests and process them before someone on your team even needs to lift a finger.
Chatbots can respond to simple requests to help filter out the important messages that do require a human touch.
Especially when people want to spend more money with you.
2. Create, Modify and Upgrade Customer Queries
Hyatt Hotels was one of the first companies to embrace Facebook for customer service.
It wasn’t even publicized at first. And yet, their Messenger-related customer messages have grown over 20 times since the beginning.
One of the first interactions came from a customer who was traveling for a business meeting. He simply provided the location with the date and asked if they could simply make the reservation for him.
A virtual concierge if you will.
The first thing you think of with customer service on social media are the complaints. Or at least I do. Maybe I’m a cynic. Don’t worry, we’ll get to those in a bit.
However, there’s also the potential to create new revenue that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Messenger ads are one example. But this Hyatt example shows a glimmer of how Facebook customer service can be so much more.
Uber was also an early adopter of Messenger, creating a direct channel for customers to hail rides directly.
Wired also reported that in Asia, users do everything from book movie tickets, play the lottery, shop, and book travel through WeChat.
The Dutch airline, KLM, also uses messaging to provide customers with travel updates, booking confirmations, boarding passes, and more. They’re able to use technology to scale care as if there was a personal assistant with each customer throughout their experience with the brand.
So Facebook’s Messenger gives you a powerful new outlet to reach people before they make the trip, booking, or purchase. It’s proactive customer service, where you’re getting out in front, solidifying that relationship to increase the chances of a positive experience later on.
And once again, chatbots make this easier, faster, and more effective.
1-800-Flowers is one of the best examples, bringing in 70% of their new customers through chat.
Chatbots give you the ability to create scenarios. You can predict what’s going to happen ahead of time or use past interactions to choreograph the sales process.
Someone can elect to speak to an individual at any time. Otherwise, they can go through the entire booking process for simple orders without ever requiring your team’s expertise.
This approach is perfect for transactional, low-priced products because there’s not a lot of thought involved.
Look at Amazon. They’ve been able to dominate almost every transactional product market imaginable because of one reason alone: convenience.
They make it easier to shop and get what people want, when they want it.
Facebook Messenger gives you the same power, without the same level of eye-watering investment that would typically be required.
Companies with longer sales cycles can still use a combination of approaches.
For example, you can use chatbots to serve as the front line of defense. You can even use them to filter out prospects with qualifying questions.
Then, you can loop in people when they’re needed.
You can also direct them to the right person faster, too. Most sales reps are divided up by territory, deal size, product/service, etc.
So you use chatbots to help collect that information for you and then allow them to automatically route messages to the right team or individual instantly.
That way, you’re also able to offer a better experience to the customer because they’ll be able to speak to someone knowledgeable who (a) actually knows what they’re talking about and (b) actually has the authority to help them.
Unlike the vast majority of traditional customer service interactions.
3. Use Facebook Messenger To Privately Resolve Public Complaints
Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked directly in social media.
Like, managing the front-lines every single day. Including nights and weekends.
Most other people have no idea what you do. They think you just mess around on Facebook all day watching cat videos.
Unfortunately, it’s nothing like that. It’s often a total grind. You’re constantly on alert for any potential issues that might blow up in your face.
Allow customer frustration to filter too long, and you’ve got a mutiny on your hands.
Seriously. People get a mob mentality.
The trick is to move those irate conversations privately ASAP. You address the issue head-on, as quickly as possible, apologize, and then move it private.
I’m speaking from experience. I did this job years ago. Before all these new fancy tools.
Back then, in the days of like-gating, we created a company Facebook account so we could try and message customers. This was pre-Messenger. It was even pre-Company accounts where you could respond as the company. Instead, you risked your private information, otherwise.
Messenger now helps resolve this issue — again, in a single inbox.
When you’re a page admin, you’ll see a new “Message” option in line with the normal reply.
Now, you can reach out with a single click. Facebook will help you keep track in a separate business-related inbox.
But it will even show the status off to other people as well, like this example from Mari Smith.
I realize this is about to sound stupid, but this really matters.
Other people need to see that you’re actively responding and addressing issues. It makes a difference.
They’re much less likely to get even more pissed off. Other people are much less likely to pile on because they’ve had similar issues that have gone unaddressed.
And brand new, potential customers can see that your company actually cares. That you actually give a sh!t about them.
That matters. This is why:
Facebook Messenger now reaches over a billion people.
But Facebook has already reached over a billion people for years now.
Social media has taken on customer service issues because it often presents the best way to get a fast response when you have an issue.
The problem was that the tools weren’t good enough back then. You had to create all these separate workarounds. And the quality of service usually suffered.
Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore.
Facebook’s Messenger is a game-changer for customer service by streamlining all customer communications. Chatbots also allow you to better scale the number of people you can communicate with, faster, at the same time.
You can better handle disgruntled customers.
More importantly, you can use it to grow. It gives you the ability to reach more people, help them purchase more products, and then use Messenger ads to re-sell, up-sell, or cross-sell more stuff in the future.
But only if you create the 1-on-1 connection with them, first.