Facebook recently announced coming changes to brand pages that could dramatically transform the platform as a customer service channel.
Much of the focus around these developments has been on the timeline's potential for marketing and creative teams to brand their social presence more heavily. Yet the announcement companies should be most sharply aware of is the development of private fan-page messaging. With the advent of new page timelines, customers will easily be able to hit a ‘Message’ button to contact companies directly. And Conversocial is the first to integrate private messages, so that these can be managed easily through the tool.
In a recent investigation into the different types of messages received by retailers on the largest social networks, Facebook and Twitter, we discovered that Twitter is currently much more heavily used for customer service. 32% of all tweets are real customer service issues, compared with only 7% of Facebook comments and posts.
With the arrival of page messaging, akin to Twitter’s Direct Messages, the number of consumers reaching out to brands through social media for assistance with real issues will accelerate. Facebook already attracts a much higher volume of communication; the growth of customer service requests to the same level as Twitter means a 4-5 times increase in volume for companies on Facebook as private brand messaging picks up speed.
The option to private message the companies they buy from will encourage even more Facebook users to reach out. And this won’t just have a novelty effect. Facebook has already seen a huge growth in usage as a customer service channel as consumers spend more and more time on the platform and respond to brands’ calls to engage. Now they have a choice as to whether they want an issue to be public or private. Historically, customers have often turned to social media as a last straw, having failed to make progress through other routes. Private messaging closes the loop - there’s no need to turn to the call centre - you can now engage with a company at every level through Facebook. Ignore customers here, and it’s easier than ever before for them to move the problem public. But this shouldn’t just be held in fear; it also makes it much easier for customer service representatives to follow an issue at every touch point, as more and more problems are raised and resolved within social channels.
There’s no way companies can fail to take social customer service seriously with this change. Messaging will be switched on for all pages. It’s a clearer call than ever before that your customers can interact with you and the very concept creates expectations; turn messages off, and you push them to complain publicly on your timeline. There’s no way to avoid addressing their issues.
And so the evolution of social media as a complete communication channel continues. Conversocial allows companies to plug in real customer service agents to Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to isolate and respond to real customer issues. We moved quickly to be the first provider to integrate Facebook messages, pre-empting a surge in the platform’s customer service usage. With social customer service agents set to handle more sensitive information through private social avenues, audit and accountability become more important than ever before. A unified view of every customer and tracking of all data through Conversocial means that customer service through social channels can be treated as seriously as email or phone.
Instead of trying to control the kinds of conversations they have with their customers through social media, companies should focus on getting prepared for serious customer service in Facebook; anticipating the needs of your fans might just pleasantly surprise them.
InsideFacebook wrote all about our integration of Facebook Messages and how it works, here.
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