Facebook now has more than 1.49 billion monthly users, with monthly mobile active users more than 1.33 billion. Facebook had a positive growth in Q2 2015. However the network has been struggling or has failed to match the customer support that is driven on a platform like Twitter.
Twitter, which is struggling in growth, has been known as the communications network in 140 characters. The platform has become ideal for conversations for brands, celebrities and politicians. Today users are on Twitter for solving all kinds of grievances. Gradually the 140 character network for many has become the first point of contact for any kind of problem. Facebook wants to have that piece of customer support on its network.
In 2015, along with a focus on Facebook Videos, making your News Feed intelligent, the social network has focused on how it can also tweak the network for customer support. Listed below are the four ways in which Facebook is trying to achieve it.
1. Saved Replies
Early in the month of June, it was reported that Facebook is testing a messaging feature for Pages that enables businesses to create, save and send canned responses to frequently asked customer service questions and feedback.
Called “Saved Replies,” the tool could be big time saver for businesses that receive a large number of questions from customers on Facebook. It’s part of the Facebook messaging interface within Pages and is apparently available to a small group of Pages. Those with access are presented with sample responses that they can use or customize. They also can create new replies and save them for later use. For companies that create a large number of replies, there’s also a way to search within them.
2. Messenger for business
During this year’s F8, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that its new Messenger Platform will allow its 600 million users to create and share content with third-party tools, and communicate directly with businesses rather than calling or emailing them.
During the same time Facebook gave a preview of Businesses on Messenger, that enhances communications and interactions between people and businesses. With Businesses on Messenger, people can have rich and personal conversations with businesses. For example, after purchasing something from a website, people can choose to receive updates in Messenger and continue their conversation with the business in the app. With this feature Facebook is getting rid of painful customer service calls or the endless emails.
Messenger for business will allow customers to receive relevant messages from the business including order confirmations and shipping status updates, and will be able to take basic actions like modifying, tracking or returning an order. People will also have the option to ask a business questions, make requests and get quick responses. This whole set of interactions and features are unified in a single, ongoing thread between the person and the business.
3. Ability for brands to respond privately
The latest announcement in making Facebook a customer support hub, the network has announced that businesses will soon be able to respond to customer questions and complaints privately.
Now, Page admins will have the option to message customers by clicking “Message” and open a private thread. The new thread will include a link to the original comment, which will eliminate the need for customers to repeat questions. The new feature will be rolled out to Pages in the coming weeks.
This is a big update as till now Pages could respond in the same channel in which the incoming message was posted, for instance a reply to a comment or a post on a Pages’ wall.
However we have seen major brands either ignore customer queries on Facebook or block all forms of communication. It isn’t always a brand’s fault, users have very random queries or spam the comment section.
A recent study done by Locowise, a social media analytics and reporting service, which studied more than 900 Facebook pages, found that customer service on Facebook is less than adequate. 87% of all messages go unanswered completely and of those pages that did respond, they did so selectively – answering only 37% of all posts.
To encourage the platform’s use for customer service, Facebook has created a new way to signal that a company is responsive, a badge stating that a Page is “Very responsive to messages.” Pages will receive the badge if they respond to 90 percent of messages and have a median response time of less than five minutes. Responsiveness stats will be based on data from the last seven days and admins will be able to view their Pages stats in Insights.
4. Messaging via local awareness ads
Earlier in the month of May, Facebook built a “call” button for more than 40 million businesses who have Facebook pages. The objective was to tap on the button and call the business directly. Facebook called these as “local awareness ads” as it opened up more direct-response marketing opportunities on the network, which previously only offered businesses the ability to ask users for Likes or a button for directions.
Facebook is now letting users respond to local-awareness ads with private messages, turning the promos into customer-service tools. The feature, which evidently will not be available to national brands, includes a “Send Message” button that local marketers can affix to their ads.
The button gives people viewing the ad the ability to send a private message — with a link to the ad that prompted the message — to the advertiser.
Regardless of organic reach being dead, Mark still feels that Facebook is the best way to distribute stuff to all of the people that you are trying to reach and all your customers.
His recent advice to businesses was to start thinking of their Pages as a landing page, especially for people using mobile devices. “What we are seeing is that people’s Pages on Facebook are actually becoming a more and more important presence where customers will actually go look them up to see hours that a restaurant or store are open — to see what their friends think about it,” he said. “Typical types of things that you might have previously gone to the website to see.”
However the big question is how do brands take his vision of customer support on Facebook. Even if there are incentives, to achieve that “very responsive” brands can easily fall back to standard responses like – “Please email your details and we will look into your problem.” How will Facebook react to such messages and how will it track which ones are really genuine? Additionally, how will it identify which customer complaints are genuine?
While it is too early to pass a judgement, customer support on Facebook looks a bit tough although it is the most popular social network.