Facebook pushes retailers to use Messenger
April 7, 2016 02:57 PM
Facebook Inc. strengthened its push to make its Messenger app a customer service hub by rolling out a suite of tools and updates today to encourage retailers and other businesses to use the channel to connect with customers.
Newegg Inc., No. 17 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, is among the retailers using the platform.
The new suite makes a brand’s username—the unique name a brand uses to identify itself on Facebook—more prominent across Messenger and Facebook, while also giving consumers two new ways to connect with brands. The new tools build on the Messenger for Business tools Facebook introduced last year.
For example, Newegg’s username is @Newegg. Facebook in the next few weeks will begin placing the username, which a consumer can type into Messenger to pose a customer service query, on a brand’s Facebook page underneath the page title that displays the company description, which for Newegg is “retail and consumer merchandise.”
Facebook also rolled out Messenger Links and Codes, which are two ways Facebook aims to make it easier for consumers to start a conversation with a retailer. Messenger Links use a page’s username to create a short link—such as m.me/newegg—that, when clicked, opens a conversation with the retailer in Messenger. Messenger Codes are similar to Messenger Links but are unique codes a consumer can scan in Messenger using their smartphone or tablet’s camera to open a thread with a merchant. Retailers can use Messenger Links and Messenger Codes in ads, on their website or in any other marketing channel to prompt people to reach out to them directly.
Facebook also says it plans to introduce Messenger Greetings, which lets a brand present a shopper with a message before that customer sends the retailer a via Messenger but after they start typing the brand’s username. Facebook shows an example of a retailer that set a Messenger Greeting that reads, “Hi! Thanks for getting in touch with us on Messenger. Please send us any questions you may have and we’ll try to get back to you as quickly as we can.”
Messenger is a robust platform that a lot of consumers—Facebook says more than 900 million—actively use, says Merle McIntosh, Newegg’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. By offering customer service on the Messenger, Newegg meets customers where they already are. “Facebook Messenger gives us another way to easily connect with them, using a method of communication that our customers are very familiar with,” he says.
Newegg’s social media customer service team will respond to consumers’ issues on Messenger in the same way they respond to questions and issues posed on other channels; the retailer’s In The Chat social media platform captures consumers’ Messenger questions and puts them in a queue to be answered by the next available customer service representative.