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Don't Get Left Behind: Four Simple Phases towards Adopting Messenger Customer Support

Glenn Pacitti
By Glenn Pacitti on Jun 6, 2016 9:34:00 AM
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iStock_87641127_LARGE-1.jpgMessenger is an emerging digital channel for brand-consumer communication that represents the inevitable shift away from the boring traditional support offered by companies today. I don’t think it's necessary to tell you why it’s vital to embrace Messenger within your customer support stack; that’s been covered at length and supported with numerous outlets of research and analysis.

Instead, this is aimed towards the companies who understand the need to get started but just don’t know how to take that first step. Every business is different and face unique obstacles when incorporating a new customer contact channel. The phases below are a recommended starting point that can be customized based on your internal operations, challenges, agent resources, social media solution etc.

Phase 1 - Getting Started

Take the basic and necessary steps to operationalize Messenger as a supported channel.

* Leverage your social engagement solution to pull in Facebook content, calculate volumes (Public vs Private) and integrate the live chat functionality (requires a platform which is using the live chat APIs).

* Inquire with your social engagement solution’s customer success team to get your page whitelisted by Facebook (assuming they are an official Facebook Messenger partner)

* Breakdown the conversation categories to better understand the types of issues/ questions that are coming through Messenger currently.  

* Based on hourly volume data, estimate staffing requirements when inbound messages reach certain levels. (ie. 2 agents for 50 incoming, 4 agents for 100 incoming etc.)

* Use current Facebook Response Time metrics to determine where you are today and where you need to be to in order to create the live chat environment that Messenger offers.

NOTE: In 2015, StellaService reported in a sample of 1,500 phone calls and live chats during Cyber Weekend that the average chat response time overall was 80 seconds.

Ask yourself:
Is your team prepared to meet that level of customer expectation? If not, Messenger can be used as an asynchronous channel like email, but you're then losing out on the benefit of customers using it as a real time channel.

Phase 2 - Soft Launch

Identify contact types best served through Messenger (ex: reservations, lost items)
Monitor inbound volume shifts, SLA performance, and customer feedback
Incorporate targeted promotion of Messenger for customer touch points that allow greater control of volume

Once prepared to handle volume appropriately, it’s time to let your customers know you are ready to talk.


* Embed m.me URL in email digests (delivery notifications, product updates, marketing correspondence etc).
* Track new contacts as indicator for Messenger communication as a preference over email.

* Share the news with your hardcore fans via forums, super user program etc.
* Listen for any feedback and positive reaction to the support being offered over Messenger.

Phase 3 - Official Customer Contact Channel

FB_Message_Us.png* Continue to iteratively expand promotion of messenger to positions of greater visibility, like prominently on Contact Us page, promotional/informational communication, physical location signage, etc.

* Publicize use of messenger via email digest/ marketing content, press release, etc.

Continue to monitor & project SLA performance against volume growth trends, and plan resourcing accordingly

* Expect to see a drop in public comments as volume shifts to private messages. (Sprint experienced a 31% increase in Facebook private messages via Messenger and subsequent 23% decrease in public comments)

* Begin to leverage press releases, announcing the launch of Messenger as a supported channel and the focus your company has on delivering amazing customer experiences (use stats to back up responsiveness).

Phase 4 - #SocialFirst

* Promote Messenger everywhere that is appropriate to communicate with customers including shipping collateral, alongside items on website to help answer FAQ as customer is shopping, IVR message, email blast alerting customers that your company is ready to talk via Messenger.

* Analyze cost-to-serve savings through Messenger support and customer satisfaction increase.

* Continuously drive efficiency through customer service analytics (Average Handle Time, Response Time, Agent Breakdown, Hourly Volume shifts etc)

* Expect a spike in inbound contacts and beginning stages of deflection away from phone and email volumes.

* Start leveraging transactional bot technology and structured messages (receipts) via Messenger

Analyze Messenger viability to replace Live Chat if applicable (volumes, satisfaction, cost to serve). Additionally, consider the mobile capabilities of your Live Chat software and how quickly your customers are shifting away from desktop engagement.

With these 4 phases, your organization can take smart and calculated steps towards serving your customers over Messenger. Getting it wrong could have some costly implications for the business which we will cover next time…

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