The rise of omnichannel communication and marketing has changed the contact center and customer service industry for good. A number of studies have shown that there is a steady decline in call volume in most contact centers around the world with customers showing more inclination for self-help tools, instant messaging, email, and web-based services. Nielsen has identified Facebook Messenger in a study in 2015 as the fastest growing app in the world.
Richard Marcia, in an article published in CustomerThink in 2014, had written that Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger had over 2 billion subscribers, which is much bigger today. Since such a large population is already present on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, it makes a lot of sense for businesses, large and small, to reach out to them here. The millennials don’t like to use voice interactions and telephony because they hate to be made to wait on the queue or punch in number keys on telephones to answer questions. They consider it highly inconvenient.
That is why Facebook Messenger is being considered a disruptive communication technology that customers love to use. Yes, since it was not developed with a commercial messaging outlook or intent, it poses challenges to businesses to overcome. However, their adoption as primary channels of communication in contact centers is not impossible. Moreover, mastering an omnichannel communication environment can be challenging for an agent, but the ease of use of a Messenger is just too much to be ignored.
How can Messenger be used to provide great customer service?
Facebook Messenger’s biggest advantage is that most people already use it. So, even those who use smartphones have this app installed on their phones. So, the problem that many companies talk about when they launch an app that can be used for lodging complaints or asking for expert assistance has been overcome because people are using it in their everyday lives for chatting and instant messaging. Instead of chatting on company websites where they use their own server, they have to use Facebook’s universal server. If the nature of the information being shared is not too critical or private in nature, the risk of losing critical data to data theft and hacking would be marginal.
Facebook and other companies have also improved the security arrangements now as a result of which the communications are much safer. Earlier this year, Facebook had unveiled the Business on Messenger initiative to allow various B2B and B2C brands to take advantage of a nearly 900 million customer base. They have introduced new APIs to improve the communication via Messenger. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and other multibillion-dollar technology companies are also spending billions on the development of chatbots which are computer programs that can simulate conversation and communication with human users. The faster development of chatbots will also give a greater impetus to Facebook Messenger as contact centers would try to reduce human agent involvement in dealing with messaging apps and make them focus more on voice calls, email, chats and self-help portals.
The nature of the business would determine the service that the company would provide using Messenger and once a client account is optimized, the level of automation and human interaction can be controlled as per the requirement of the situation.
Facebook Messanger is an instant messaging app. So, it would be efficient only if the human agents and chatbots are programmed to react and answer almost instantly. The time lag should be minimized to a few seconds at the most. Any assistance required should be provided and other contact center apps can be used to document the after-resolution work. It would only be successful if the customer has the option to switch modes of communication and intuitive software which directs the messages to the right agent who can provide the quickest resolution to a problem is needed.
One of the greatest strengths of Facebook Messenger is the level of personalization that it allows. So, service providers can help their clients using Messenger exactly in the way that suits the client best. Maps/ directions to nearest brick and mortar customer care center or a retail outlet can be shared or the monthly bill for a particular service can be revealed on the query, etc.
Companies can also shift negative comments from company pages and social media to private messaging. This means that companies can instantly provide the services that disgruntled customers require and improve customer relations. Good service would lead to positive word of mouth and more referrals.
Messenger as a default chat channel
Ovum claims that one in three Americans uses Messenger and more and more customers are showing an inclination for Facebook-driven contact modes. Many technology companies are working with Facebook to integrate it into mainstream commercial customer service delivery mechanism and resolution technology which has massive potential to reduce overall handling time. Moreover, unlike telephone which disrupts customer peace and concentration, Messenger doesn’t affect the concentration in the same way. So, this is one more reason why customers feel more comfortable as a contact mode. It is easy to use since you won’t need to browse through company websites, search for company numbers or download a separate app.
Facebook Messenger is the future of web chats and may eventually replace emails and other SMS for customer resolution. It has all the potential to become one of the primary channels of communication in a contact center and would improve operational efficiency, reduce the cost of training agents into unknown disruptive technologies and also improve customer convenience.