Facebook Messenger is continuing to raise the bar on customer engagement and customer experience. As more and more brands are onboarding Messenger into their digital customer relationship plans, Facebook is implementing certain “rules” to ensure that the customer experience isn’t put into jeopardy and that brands can really transform this messaging app into the number one service channel. Facebook has over 1 billion users to serve, and it seems they are doing everything right to ensure that engagement does not decline with the insurgence of bots and customer care, but rather that the experience thrives.
Brands who are adding Messenger to their suite of service channels are experiencing amazing gains in service volume and performance on important metrics such First Response Times.
Read on to learn how to navigate through Facebook’s newest release of specifications for brand engagement on Messenger. Below we’ve outlined the 5 most important takeaways from the new platform policies.
1) The customer must initiate relationships on Messenger
Brands can only engage with a customer once the customer has taken certain actions. A customer must “opt in” on this channel by sending a message directly to a business in Messenger, by tapping “Get Started” from the welcome screen on a businesses’ Messenger window, or by agreeing during checkout on the brand’s website.
This is a smart move by Facebook. With the expected influx of bots and brand conversations, Messenger users are protected from spammy, unwelcomed messages from random pages. Instead, they get to decide who they communicate with on this coveted channel and, as stated in the next, very important principle, who they don’t.
2) Customers can always opt-out
Once a customer initiates a relationship with a brand on Messenger, they can decide to opt out at any time. Right inside of the app, they can either select “Block Messages” or discontinue communication by simply deleting the conversation thread with the business.
This isn’t revolutionary per se, but it shows that Messenger is adopting features that more established support/relationship channels have included for years. Without unsubscribe options on emails or block features on SMS, customers would be at risk of receiving a bombardment of unwelcomed content by brands. Similarly, Facebook is ensuring that Messenger will remain a channel that provides value and delivers service. Brands that don’t adhere to these guidelines and instead opt for promotional messages at too high of a volume will quickly get blocked and miss out on this versatile engagement channel.
3) Businesses are on the clock when it comes to response times
Messenger has rolled out a new 24 hour window for messaging. Once a customer initiates a conversation or sends a message on this channel, brands have one full day to respond. But after the 24 hour window, time is up for contacting customers.
There is one caveat to this policy: businesses are permitted to re-engage an inactive user one time only after the 24 hour window. This favors brands getting the most of this channel by reawakening sleepy customer relationships on Messenger and ensuring that they provide people with the most relevant and timely information that was requested.
This time limit also encourages faster response times on Messenger. Brands need to be sure that they have the proper resources in place to respond to customers within that 24 hour window. However, best practices dictate that the lapse in response time should not exceed 15 minutes! Don’t forget that Facebook awards a “Very responsive to messages” badge to brands who respond to 90% of messages within fifteen minutes.
Brands who implement Messenger via Conversocial have full live chat functionality as well. Your agent/customer chat windows show when the other party is typing, so it feels native to a regular Messenger chat conversation. This new channel should be resourced identically to chat, to enable real-time conversations with consumers.
4) There are special allowances for transactional messages
While brands must follow the 24 hour response rules for responding to queries on Messenger, transactional engagements—including receipts and airline templates — are another story.
This allows brands to use Messenger as a viable channel for repetitive customer interchanges. This also helps brand utilize the power of Messenger in the same way that private users do: the one thread conversation. Now the entire customer relationship can be followed on one thread on Messenger, if the user so desires. This makes it easier for customers to reference important data, transactional archives and receipts on one place, instead of having to defer to email in order to dig up important account details.
5) Subscription Messaging Allows for Regular Content Streams
Brands can keep their customers tuned in to important information with Messenger’s Subscription Model. This completely bypasses the 24 hour rule and allows for a richer customer relationship on Messenger. The specific instances where subscription engagement is permitted for brands is:
- News: Bots whose primary purpose is to inform people about recent or important events or information in categories such as sports, finance, business, real estate, weather, traffic, politics, and entertainment.
- Productivity: Bots whose primary purpose is to enable people to manage their personal productivity with tasks such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders, and paying bills.
- Personal trackers: Bots that enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness, and finance.
This new and exciting platform is admittedly still being closely monitored by Facebook to ensure that it truly reflects the best way to manage relationships on Messenger. They will closely observe user behavior in order to tweak rules and specifications to better suit engagement on this channel.
If you haven’t entertained the idea of adding Messenger to your service suite, you are missing out on an enormous opportunity. Many Conversocial brands have taken on this unstoppable channel and have seen amazing results. Sprint for example, saw an incredible surge in engagement on private engagements on Messenger with a simultaneous decrease in public Facebook posts. See below: