In the past, Facebook Messenger was just another IM tool. If both you and your friends spent time on Facebook, you could contact the friends currently on the social media app and send them quick messages through the little chat window. It was like Gmail chat and many other messaging tools – sometimes handy, but not exactly a must-have for marketing purposes, and not usually something customers showed any interest in using. But that’s changing.

Facebook is working hard to partner with other service providers and bring an updated version of the Messenger chat box to companies that are interested in using it to communicate with their customers. Instead of being peer-to-peer only, Messenger can now be used by customer reps to talk directly to their online buyers.

Here’s how it works: When the customer service side of Facebook Messenger is online and ready to respond, viewers visiting the Facebook page will see the familiar blue dot that shows someone is on Facebook at the same time that they are. People can open up a chat window and send a message this way, which notifies the customer service rep, who will type in a response to answer the question. Boom – the questions are answered in under a minute, and both sides leave happy. But Messenger can do far more than just this, so let’s go over the top considerations when investing your time in Messenger.

Analyze Your Facebook Audience

A Messenger-based approach to customer service works well, as long as you have a significant number of buyers and target audience members who are on Facebook! So your first step should be to see just how many people you want to reach also use Facebook or are likely to come across your Facebook profile page and use Messenger. This depends on the age of your target audience, their preferred social media sites, how much you advertise your Facebook page and post on Facebook and similar stats. You must study this information to know if Messenger customer service is worth it, or not really applicable to your scenario.

Take a Look at Management Requirements

There are two primary options for Messenger customer service. Either you have someone always on call to notice Messenger messages and respond in real time, or you use a chatbot. There are many advantages to setting up a Messenger chatbot, not the least of which is the time and energy your team can save by handing off communication. But a chatbot is limited to the topics it can discuss and the answers it can provide – and they aren’t great for the proper use of emoji or humor. For more in-depth talks and detailed questions about products or services, a real customer service rep is an ideal choice.

Discuss What Services Must Be Offered for Your Customer Service

Messenger chats are great for simple conversation where people can ask questions. There’s also limited ability to post photos and links, which can be useful. But is that enough for you? Draw up a list of the features that your customer service platform needs to have – the type of information it needs to offer, and what your customers must be able to do. Does Messenger meet all these qualifications?

The good news here is that there are ways to modify Messenger to provide more in-depth services, such as product catalogs and even the ability to sell products directly from the chat window. Check out Shopify’s newest capabilities to learn more.

Plan on a Way to Archive Discussions

You don’t want these Facebook conversations to disappear when they’re done, for both performance and legal reasons. Facebook understands this, which is the business-facing version of customer service Messenger has additional screens to collate and archive conversations, as well as identify and label specific users for future reference. You will need to take advantage of tools like this for data collection.

Have End Goals for Your Conversations

What do you really want to do? Is your customer service communication just about answering questions? Do you want to schedule work on this communication? Do you want your conversations to be product-oriented, sales-oriented, or a combination? Know your goals, and you will be able to make a better decision about Facebook Messenger!

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