Social media, Facebook in particular, is becoming increasingly important to customer service for businesses. In addition to creating brand awareness, engaging users, and driving conversations, consumers are also increasingly turning to social for customer service inquiries. The numbers offer clear evidence of this. One study found that 67% of the people polled had used social media to address a customer service issue.
The same study found that younger age groups are more likely to engage with businesses online and that quick and quality customer service on social is important for consumer satisfaction with brands and businesses.
While the study is a bit dated, going back to 2013, it still holds true today. We can only expect social media’s role to expand in assuaging customer concerns and managing expectations.
It’s faster and more convenient for customers to contact businesses on social rather than having to wait for email responses or long-winded phone calls during which they may be put on hold interminably or have to explain the same problem to several different representatives. Besides, a high level of accountability is associated with social. Due to its reach and public impact, businesses are quick to respond on social channels.
To this end, the ability of Facebook pages to utilize the messenger feature can change customer service on social for the better. Let’s look at some ways businesses can leverage this feature.
Control Discussions on Business Pages
If not addressed immediately and satisfactorily, customer complaints can quickly spiral out of hand on social turning business pages into ranting grounds.
Such conversations are not just distracting for others; they can also cause considerable damage to the reputation of brands. People pay a lot of heed to what the fellow consumers are saying about businesses.
With the PM feature, businesses can immediately take such conversations offline by privately contacting the aggrieved parties.
It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of a problem via discussions on a page and too much of back and forth may further complicate issues. While a customer may have a legitimate concern, businesses cannot afford to let these views go unaddressed or let them remain in public view for long. With the help of private messaging your customer service executives have the chance to quickly take complaints and other concerns away from a public forum.
A proper and long discussion can ensue via PM leading to the resolution of the matter to the satisfaction of the concerned parties.
Generate Faster, Real-Time Responses
PM enables faster responses. Response time is crucial in addressing customer service issues on social. The longer the wait for the customers, the worse it is for the concerned business.
Customers expect their concerns to be addressed quickly on social. The consequences of not doing so can be dire for businesses. They risk losing the customer in question, and also sending out the wrong message to others interacting with the brand.
With private messaging your customer service executives/page admin can handle the situation better and act fast towards resolution of problems.
Fast response time also calms down aggrieved customers and goes a long way in restoring their faith in the brand.
Facebook has gone a step further to give business pages with quick response times a badge of honor. The ‘Very responsive to messages’ badge is granted to businesses that, on average, clock in a response time of 15 minutes and a response rate of 90%. This information is publicly displayed and can be yet another feather in the cap for customer-friendly businesses.
Reach Out to Customers Directly
Private messaging provides a direct line to those following your page. This is a huge advantage since organic reach on FB business pages has been declining lately. The ability to PM gives businesses the opportunity to reach out to customers directly.
This feature should be used sparingly. Too much of private messaging could come across as spammy and result in a loss of followers.
Provide Real-Time Customer Service
Much like a live chat, private messaging can offer businesses a chance to quickly answer or guide customers during purchase decisions or resolution of problems as they arise.
Manage Customer Expectations
The way a business interacts with its customers on a page sets the expectations for the rest of the followers.
Since FB displays a business’s response time on messages, followers know by when to expect a reply. This is important, since waiting is an excruciating game for customers on social.
A page’s messaging status can be set to ‘away’ to help followers understand why there hasn’t been a quick response to their query. A blue dot indicates someone on the business page is online and three gray dots indicate your message is being read and a response is forthcoming.
Businesses Using Facebook Messenger
The usefulness of this feature would depend on how businesses are able to leverage it. Some may have greater success with it than others, but it is not difficult to appreciate that a private messaging platform that helps businesses improve their response time and create a personal equation with customers can be a welcome factor in enhancing the overall experience of customer service on social.
One of the first businesses to use Facebook Messenger for customer service is Hyatt. According to Wired, the number of customer inquiries received through Messenger increased ten-fold for the travel giant.
Some companies aren’t stopping at simply using Facebook Messenger for customer service. Last month, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that it would allow passengers to cook, confirm and even receive boarding passes through Messenger. You can even hail an Uber through Facebook Messenger!
What are your thoughts on this? Do you use Facebook Messenger to connect with your customers? If so, how has it helped your business? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Featured Image: Image by Imaginovation. Used with permission.
In-post Photo: Image by Imaginovation. Used with permission.
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