Calling a 1-800-number, making your query, waiting for a callback - this long-winded method of interacting with brands may have worked in the past, but is getting increasingly cumbersome today. With brands now exchanging over a billion messages on Facebook Messenger with their customers each month, expectations have risen, and how!
In an age where nobody has time to wait for callbacks or patience to deal with cookie-cutter responses, Facebook Messenger is offering businesses the chance to change customer service as we know it.
Enter Messenger Links and Messenger Codes — two brand new ways to connect people with businesses. Recently introduced by Facebook, Messenger Links are memorable URLs that open up a chat and connect a person with a business in just a click. Messenger Codes are the visual equivalent of this — a unique circular code that surrounds the profile picture in Messenger settings. When scanned with your phone camera, it opens up a new chat window.
Facebook had yet another update up its sleeve at the F8 conference it announced its livechat API tools for developers. With the help of these tools, businesses will be able to set up their own chatbots on Messenger. Forget generic customer care messages and mere acknowledgement texts — these chatbots will be able to go much beyond.
As Mark Zuckerberg stated, “Despite the name, chatbots are designed to feel human. They’re instantly responsive, adapting to your queries and commands. They personalize themselves without forcing you through screens full of setting options. They learn from you, and from everyone else using them to become more helpful.”
The chatbots are also being designed to respond with something called ‘Structured Messages’. Structured Messages will include product details, images, URLs, and even Call-to-Action buttons that’ll encourage customers to round off a query by purchasing the product or making a booking.
The obvious advantages
These updates open up newer conveniences for customers - and a world of opportunities for brands. For consumers, the benefits are obvious. One single click or scan can get them on a chat with the business they are looking to engage with. They can look forward to quicker responses without having to call toll-free numbers or email the company separately. If their issues are adequately met, they can go ahead with their purchase without ever having to leave the chat.
So what do these new updates mean for brands?
With brand usernames showing up on pages, and with Messenger Links and Messenger Codes leading customers to a direct conversation, businesses can look forward to greater visibility than ever before. And with great visibility comes great opportunity - the chance to establish a personal connection with customers. One easy way to do this is through the new Messenger Greetings feature, which enables brands to craft a short note that customers will see when they start a new chat. This message can set the tone for the messages to follow.
With these updates, brands can expect a spike in the number of messages coming their way. Having human representatives address these messages can be costly and time-consuming, and that’s where chatbots come in. Brands that do not have in-house expertise to develop chatbots can simply make use of the upcoming API tools and Facebook-approved developers to set it up. With the visibility and the tools at their disposal, there’s no reason for brands to remain outside this customer care revolution.
What lies in the future?
For now, these new rollouts put brands on an equal footing to impress and communicate with customers. But will it remain that way for long? Facebook has no current plans of charging the developers; however, it will charge brands for sending promotional or other re-engagement messages to customers who have reached out to those brands in the past.
There are other possibilities too. Think of paid ads with buttons that open up a chat window when clicked on. Facebook may even start charging brands who want to be featured among the top ‘Suggested Businesses’ for customers to engage with.
Whether these changes occur or not, one thing is for certain - brands can no longer just focus on updating new content on their pages and leave it at that. Messenger chat service is about to become a major part of a business’ social presence, and that is not something that smart brands will ignore.
Facebook’s Messenger updates will change the way you speak to your customers. You’ll have to scale new territory in customer management, and we’re glad to help. Check out our social media marketing and community management services to know more.Looking for a comprehensive workshop on community management and social media marketing? Our sister company, FutureMarketer, is holding a Social Media & Viral Marketing workshop on 18 May!