How Small Business Can Use Facebook Messenger for Customer Service
So, what makes Facebook Messenger a great option for small businesses that want to provide exceptional service?
Sometimes it can seem like there are a million different avenues to take with your small business. And, let’s face it, you’re stretched thin with the daily cares and challenges of managing your company and working toward success.
One of the best things about being small, though, is your approachability. Your customers and business partners feel they can trust you, that you’re available and accessible.
How do you keep this going, this feeling of connectedness that creates a special bond for your customers? Be where they are and care how they feel.
Facebook Messenger has recently emerged as a valuable resource for small businesses to level the playing field with their larger competitors. Some of the features that are now included with Facebook Messenger allow you to create convenient and valuable customer experiences in ways that were only open to large companies with big online development teams and budgets in the past.
Facebook Messenger eases the burden of staying connected to your customers. Here’s how.
Meeting Customers Where They Are – Enter Facebook Messenger
Customers reach out to your brand via social media because that’s where they are. They’re using their phones and connecting through apps and social media.
They’re already connecting with their friends, favorite businesses and local community through Messenger; 8 billion+ messages are sent through the application monthly.
You’re getting to first base just be being there. If you’re not there, your customers are still letting people know about their experience with you; you’re just not able to join in the conversation and serve as an advocate for your business.
Offering Outstanding Responsiveness
73% of customers prefer communicating with businesses through Facebook Messenger rather than over email or with a phone support representative.
Because a similar percentage say that the most important thing a business can do to retain their loyalty is to value their time.
When these customers reach out to a brand, they expect to receive answers, and they expect to receive them quickly.
Messenger and other chat options are typically a preferred resource for consumers because they allow immediate communication. Their low level of intrusiveness gives consumers a chance to handle customer service issues while juggling multiple other responsibilities, in a way that phone calls or visits to a physical location do not.
Maintaining Transparency and Honesty
Messenger allows you to indicate on public posts that you’ve communicated privately with a customer about their concerns. In this way, you can show that you’re being responsive without airing dirty laundry or allowing a mob mentality to take over on your page.
Successful businesses often respond to general information questions in a public setting (things like holiday closings, sale dates, etc.), but take complicated or sensitive issues to the more-private Messenger forum.
A good rule of thumb is to post in such a way that you can guide the message to a private forum, while at the same time showing other customers that you have connected in a timely and responsive manner.
And, if you mess up, don’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable. According to Ally Balcerzak, head of marketing at lloyd Products, it’s important to take time to respond to feedback regardless of its tone.
“Respond, even if it’s a negative experience,” Balcerzak urged. “It gives you feedback on the product you can take and make improvements….People like seeing you care.”
Letting Your Brand’s Personality Shine
You may be communicating in an online forum, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk technically to your consumers. Take advantage of the opportunity to be an ambassador for your brand through this channel.
While you’ll want to ensure your corporate values are reflected through your tone, you may be able to use a more casual style, since customers expect to see and use slang, emojis, and quick replies to communicate with you.
Authenticity is important; if your brand focuses on great customer service, make sure you’re thoughtfully resolving issues in this, their channel of choice, whenever possible. If your brand has a little more playfulness or creativity inherent in its culture, let that shine through.
According to Michael Graham, co-founder of Austin Beerworks, clever use of social media can give customers those little moments of delight that ensure their ongoing loyalty.
For example, Graham spends most of his day at the brewery, which makes him privy to many of his customers’ social interactions. When he sees a customer tag the brewery, he responds with a quick social media interaction, then, when possible, follows up with a face-to-face conversation (over a beer, of course). The result? A memorable experience that drives loyalty and ongoing engagement.
If you know you can’t respond to every message and choose to delegate some of your social media efforts, you can still ensure the proper personality is infused into each message. Facebook Messenger offers the option to set up Saved Replies for common scenarios. You can create answers for many commonly asked questions, then give your team members the opportunity to edit them prior to conversing with a customer.
Always Being On
In the early days of social media, 24-hour customer service really meant having someone sitting at the computer, just waiting for a chance to respond to members around the clock.
With new developments for Facebook Messenger, even if you’re not available 24/7, you can ensure your customers receive interaction.
Many companies are investing resources in custom chatbots that can give automated updates on product shipping or payment processing. Even without additional technical development, Facebook Messenger users have the opportunity to customize their company’s auto-responses, making sure the messages fit their business’s style and give the customer instant feedback, whether it’s a branding message or an update on business availability.
As with any new technology, using Facebook Messenger for your business is only as beneficial as you choose to make it. It’s just another tool to reach your audience. The most successful service strategies start with your leadership and your focus on providing outstanding customer experiences.
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