How To Provide Social Customer Service With Facebook Messenger

Are you looking for ways to improve your customer service on Facebook?

Do you know how valuable Facebook Messenger can be for your business?

Read on to discover how to use Facebook Messenger to provide social customer service. 

Why Use Messenger For Social Customer Service?

First, the people from Facebook view Messenger for Business as a venue for "conversational commerce." In an episode of Recode Decode, David Marcus – who is currently the head of Messenger at Facebook – spoke with Kurt Wagner, Recode's senior social media editor, about how Facebook wants to help businesses talk to their customers. He believes that web and mobile application tools like Messenger will help companies sell and drive more customers. He even mentioned during the interview that if they drive business outcomes at a higher rate, then businesses will want to open more of these conversations.

Second, your customers and prospects are on Facebook Messenger. Statistics show that in April 2017, Facebook Messenger had 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide. It has overshadowed one of the leading chat applications like WhatsApp and even China's WeChat, which puts it at the forefront. More people are using messaging applications than social media networks, which is why companies now must determine how they can integrate messenger programs into their marketing strategy.

Third, Facebook Messenger is the perfect avenue indeed for brands to connect to and communicate with customers. The speed and efficiency of Messenger make it the ideal environment for customer communication. Since consumers are looking for methods of shopping that are faster, more personalized, and more convenient, companies are looking for ways to enhance their customer service and one of those are embracing Messenger bots.

Chatbots are a valuable solution to conversational commerce. They can augment your online availability. Instead of needing a bunch of social media managers or customer service experts trying to handle your messages, chatbots can pick up the slack for you. With audience expectations to have a 2/47 availability on social channels, businesses have turned to automation to meet the growing demand.

One company who leverages messenger effectively is Lufthansa. They launched a flight search chatbot called Mildred for Facebook Messenger. Passengers can use it to search for the cheapest flights within the next nine months. They can use it to find the nearest airport which Lufthansa departs and provide you with the best available fare for a round trip on selected Lufthansa Group routes.

Benefits Of Facebook Messenger Chatbots

Another obvious benefit of chatbots is that they reduce labor costs. According to CNBC, chatbots currently account for business cost savings of $20 million globally. It is even expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2022. They can handle simple requests for information when your customers engage with you outside of business hours. Chatbots should be approached with caution though. Although they can be used as a social customer care tool, they do require proper training and resources to get it right.

Leveraging Messenger For Social Customer Service

With Facebook Messenger, there is no need to create your own plugin. You can simply use the features of Messenger itself.

Here's one: Starting private conversations with the users who comment or post on your page. It’s a feature a lot of businesses use since it allows their customer care teams to reach out to their customers privately. So, if there are important details that need to be shared between your business and the customer, they can easily do so.

Starting a private conversation with users

Here's another: Including a clear notice when businesses’ respond privately to a comment or a post. If you do click that Message button, a note will be shown saying "Page responded privately". It is definitely a very helpful feature should the business need to handle situations offline. It’s also a way to let users know that the business has taken note of the issue and has responded privately.

Last but not least is responding to anyone who sends a message. All inquiries and concerns will go to the business's Messenger inbox. It's where all messages received from your customers are stored. It is a separate message inbox from your personal Messenger app. No customer messages will ever be sent to your personal space whether on mobile or desktop.

Managing Customer Conversations Using The Inbox On Facebook Messenger

One of the challenges of providing online customer service is managing messages across social media platforms. It can be hard for businesses to keep up with the volume of communications and requests in their digital channels. You need to have a dedicated customer service team to acknowledge these messages. What makes it even more challenging is the fact that consumers expect a response immediately when they post a complaint online.

Consider these statistics provided by The Social Habit:

  • 42% of consumers complaining via social media expect a response within an hour.
  • 32% expect a response within 30 minutes.
  • 57% of consumers complaining via social media expect the same response time at night and on weekends as they would receive during normal business hours.

Another feature in Facebook that is a helpful time saver is their updated inbox for business pages. It is an easier way to manage interactions across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

Facebook messenger updated inbox

Source: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/pages-inbox-update 

The updated inbox will cut wasted time by enabling your team to respond to customer queries within an integrated inbox. They can reply to public wall comments and mark them as "done" or "follow up."

It also makes the process of interactions with customers simple and easy as well as personalizes engagement with your customers. By using the unified inbox as a basic social CRM tool, your team will be able to personalize their responses as they are allowed to view a limited amount of public information about the customer.

Facebook pages inbox

Source: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/pages-inbox-update 

It enables you to check all three channels quickly for latest updates without missing any important message. So, to take advantage of the full functionality of the inbox, you'll need to associate your Facebook page with your Instagram account. When both accounts are associated, you can simply tap the messaging icon on the Pages Manager mobile app to open your inbox.

Balancing Automation & Personalization

It is hard to find the balance between technology and human touch, but it is possible. Consumers quickly get frustrated when the human touch is not emphasized. Even if you have all the technology in the world, it won’t help you build better relationships with your customers. Just imagine those annoying long phone menus that take you forever to connect to a real person.

Then, how exactly should it be done?

Your business should use the custom messenger bot only to begin the customer care journey, but then quickly assign a trained community manager or customer service team member for that critical human touch.

Social Report Facebook Reporting

Ensuring Your Customer Care Team Is Properly Trained

Each and every business should know the importance of an effective social customer care, which is why a clear process for handling complaints should be standardized. This process may include the following: internal checklists, chat scripts and a list of frequently asked questions with a variety of answers for each question.

Important specifics to consider:

  • Identify which of your team members will review all incoming comments and messages on your business page.
  • Determine which comments should be resolved publicly. This includes all page posts and/or reviews left by users on Facebook.
  • Define which conversations should be handled privately and by which method. Will it be through email, phone or private message? 

Ideally, your customer care team should feel they have the ability to make decisions on customer care, up to a certain point without involving management. So whenever they are faced with questions or issues that they have not encountered before, they should be able to handle it with ease.

Here's a five-step process by Derek Siver (founder of CD Baby) that your business can adapt which could help you significantly grow your company and gain a strategic advantage over your competitors:

  • Gather everybody around in one place.
  • Answer the question and explain the philosophy.
  • Make sure everyone understands the thought process.
  • Ask one person to write it down in the manual.
  • Let everybody know they can decide this without approval next time.  

By doing this, Derek freed up his time to work on the company, rather than spend time answering questions and resolving problems all day, and his team has all of the answers they needed when a customer question popped up they weren't familiar with.

Social Customer Service 101: Best Practices

Many companies have started to invest resources in better training for their customer care team as they have realized the importance of personal engagement. Here are some best practices to social customer care you can follow to better use it for building a loyal community amongst your customer base:

1. Answer Inquiries Promptly

How can slow response times damage your brand and revenue? It can make or break your business. Your response time online can literally gain or lose you customers. Some alarming statistics have emerged in recent years, most notably in the 2015 State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, which details the significant impact of poor customer service:

  • 68% said they have stopped doing business with a brand due to bad customer service experiences.
  • 34% said that getting their issue resolved quickly is the most important feature of customer support.

Remember that Facebook displays your company response speed publicly. In order to get the "very responsive to messages" badge, your page should achieve a response rate of 90% and a response time of 15 minutes within the last 7 days.

Facebook very responsive to messages badge

2. Try To Respond To 100% Of Inquiries 

Customers want to be heard, so respond to as many questions, comments and message as possible. You should aim to acknowledge every post on your business page. To do this more efficiently, pre-written replies are the way to go. It will help streamline the process.

Some customers want personal attention, so it’s important to give them a customized reply (always include their first name in your reply) to show them you’ve taken note of their concern and that you will try to address the issue as best as you can. Your replies should always be easily understood and clearly written so there won’t be any misunderstanding.

Helping customers feel they are a part of your community is the goal. Your strategy in responding to customers may vary depending on the size of your business. If you own a small company, your focus should be on building an engaged community. It’s best if you can reply to every post, comment or message by your customers. For larger businesses, you may simply “like” a positive comment and invest more of your time on negative comments so you can turn them into positive experiences for the customer.

3. Be Courteous At All Times

Should you ever encounter an enraged customer, it’s important to emphasize with them rather than fight fire with fire. Becoming angry or frustrated will only escalate the customer’s negative feelings towards the company or make matters worse (and these types of interactions will be shared and cause a bad reputation to form).

Your customer care team should know how to respond calmly and stay polite during these unfavorable scenarios. That is why a process for dealing with unusual situations where customers become belligerent or abusive should be developed. Come up with replies to call out the behavior in a professional manner. This way, your customer care team can acknowledge the concern respectfully.

4. Always Reply Using People's First Names

Facebook notifies the users when they receive a reply to their individual comment; however, using the @ tag can increase the chances of the user seeing the response. You will likely get more engagement from customers this way. This is a feature that should be used every time you respond to comments or posts. Also, rapport can quickly develop from the simple act of using the person’s first name. Here is a good example:

Facebook Reply To Posts Using Customer Names

5. Make Sure Moderators Complete Replies With Their First Name 

Why should moderators sign off with their first name when responding to comments? This is to further build rapport and create a friendly online culture. It humanizes the interaction between business and customers. Also, when a user responds back, they have someone to look for and speak to directly.

6. Identify Which Posts Should Be Handled Publicly or Privately

When handling issues, it’s important to know if they are topics that should be handled out in the open or personal matters that should be handled privately with a someone from the customer care team.

If it’s a negative comment or complaint posted on your page and it looks like a situation that would escalate, take it offline or private as quickly as possible. You can listen and respond effectively to the concerns of your customer this way. In today’s digital world, it’s easy to get viral online. It doesn’t take much to escalate a customer service issue. So, the better your team are informed and properly trained, the better your service.

7. Utilize Your CRM To Identify A Customer's Record

You should be careful not to undermine your personalized approach with the same standard reply on public posts. You might leave a disappointing impression or review from your customers. One way to do that is to take advantage of a CRM that has a social integration so that you can access customer information easily. You can then impress customers by already have their basic contact information instead of having to ask for it every time they contact you.

8. "The Customer Is Always Right"

Do you know why the old saying “the customer is always right” applies even more online? It’s because whenever a business encounters a negative comment online, they may feel defensive upon reading it and that serves no one.

What should you do instead? Stay positive. First, hear the customer out. Try to understand his or her frustrations and show empathy. Next, acknowledge what’s true and address the issue diplomatically and never defensively.

9. Surprise & Wow Your Audience When Possible

Find ways to surprise and delight your customers to build a strong following and loyal community. How? By keeping an updated list of your best customers and giving them special attention. This practice may involve sending sample products, complimentary movie tickets, and gift cards. It may also involve giving the spotlight to those individuals on your business page by mentioning them in your posts. Featuring a customer's story through an article or a video is one way to impress your audience, as well.

Social Report Free Trial Offer

Conclusion

Remember, no matter how good your systems and processes are supposed to be, something will go wrong at one point and it’s how you fix it that determines how a customer feels about you. You should put your focus on the reasonable expectations of each customer.

That is why making customer care part of your overall social media strategy is crucial. Using Messenger as a valuable social customer care tool and incorporating the best practices will make your customers feel they are a part of a community and feel good about doing business with you. It can also help generate more sales and provide upsell opportunities and that equates to revenue for your business.