Facebook’s new features pressure businesses to improve customer service.

Lori Bahnmueller 12/10/15 - 8:18 pm

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg was placed on hold too often as a child.

Maybe that’s why Facebook is setting higher expectations for businesses that wish to play on social media. The company has announced new features that enable business pages to set average responsiveness time—or have Facebook automatically do it for them. 

For now, only page managers can see business response rates unless they fall into the esteemed “very responsive to messages” category. These are businesses that respond to 90 percent or more of messages within an average of five minutes.  For this achievement, Facebook rewards pages publicly with a badge of honor (and publicly shames others by withholding said badge).  

Now serving private message number 43.

According to Facebook, people love to private message its more than 50 million business pages. Messaging has doubled over the last year, and people post 2.5 billion public comments on pages every month. This makes for a pretty lively consumer forum, and a pretty big opportunity for Facebook.

But customer service is a two-way street. If businesses aren’t compelled to respond on their pages and via private messages, consumers will eventually take their comments and messages elsewhere. (Say, India.) So, Facebook’s new features also include tools to make it easier for managers to respond faster and better.

On the efficiency front, the new update includes automation tools that enable businesses to set “away” messages to people when they open a private message thread. Facebook won’t count response time against pages that use this setting during off-hours. New features also include sample responses that are personalized to the user (Hi, Muhammad, thank s for getting in touch. I’m not available…”) and the option to save additional responses to expedite the conversation.

On the better front, managers can now see all the comments people leave on their pages organized in a new section within a page’s activity tab. That section will aggregate all comments and let businesses respond via desktop computer, tablet or smartphone. What’s more, with the new update, managers can see a reverse-chronological feed of all messages and comments people have had with the page. They will also be able to see the public Facebook profile of people interacting with the page.

What Facebook’s new customer service features mean for business pages.

These new features will make it easier for social media marketing teams to respond quicker and more thoughtfully to consumers. This is good news for businesses that have social media marketing teams. Armed with history and a basic profile of consumers with whom they’re communicating, they have a better opportunity for a positive engagement.

Ready or not, consumers have high expectations for companies they connect with on social media. A 2014 Edison Research study found that 42 percent of consumers expect a response to their post in under an hour, 25 percent in the same day and 9 percent want it in 5 minutes.

Businesses that choose to embrace Facebook as an opportunity to cultivate long-term relationships with consumers are positioned to succeed in the increasingly demanding social media brand environment. That requires having a thoughtful and responsive customer service plan.

In the next blog, we’ll review best practices for business to build and manage a social-centric customer service platform. Who knows? Your page may just earn a Facebook badge.

Blog Category: Social Media

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