Facebook Messenger - Not Just for Chatting Anymore

By: Joe Bilman, Chief Digital Officer, Harland Clarke Holdings
Published Friday, Feb 24, 2017



Facebook Messenger - Not Just for Chatting Anymore

Don’t install Facebook® (FB) Messenger! That was the message being shared far and wide during the rollout of FB Messenger back in 2014. The country was divided staunchly into “downloads” and “download-nots,” with the anti-Messengers refusing to even be tempted into downloading the controversial plug-in for fears it would crash their operating system Y2K style. The nay-sayers trumpeted that downloading Messenger would leak their private information to the public, allowing Facebook to spy on their “hidden” conversations.

This mini mass-hysteria led to many a frenzied social media user panicking about what Facebook could and couldn’t see, use, touch and smell as part of their massive terms and conditions (and honestly, who has time to read through all that). Initial adoption of users downloading Messenger was slowed as a result.

Ah, but time heals all wounds. Fast forward a few years and guess what? Maybe FB Messenger wasn’t so evil after all.

Need proof? According to Statista,1 there are 1 billion monthly active users on FB Messenger. Yes, 1 billion.  That’s a lot of chatting happening through Messenger. Plans being made, gossip being shared, schemes being hatched… you get the gist.

Even more surprising – users actually want to use FB Messenger to have conversations with the companies they purchase from. As in consumer-to- business direct conversations through the Messenger application.

And, chat use is growing, with 67 percent of those using chat apps, such as FB Messenger, expected to use them to communicate with businesses in the next two years, according to Statista.2

“We have a two-sided network,” explained David Marcus, vice president of Messaging Products at Facebook. “There are 15 million businesses using pages and 1.6 billion people using Facebook as their identity. These can now come together in threads that are contextual and canonical. For the lifetime of your interaction, everything stays in one place, unlike email.”3

(BTW, if you do the quick math based on research and the quote above, 62 percent of all Facebook users are now using FB Messenger. Pretty strong usage in my opinion. So much for all that hysteria.)

Why is this important you ask? Well just think about the ramifications from an accountability perspective for businesses. Your every discussion with the consumer can be captured in a single thread. Positive communication, therefore, is vital as someone can easily screen capture and share their experience for the world to see – both a good and bad thing given today’s judge first, research later society.

But the obvious benefits include one-on-one, instant personalized communication with the consumer. No more digging through suspect customer service emails and vague, disgruntled voicemails from “Gary in Wichita.” Assuming most people don’t go through the trouble of “faking” Facebook profiles just to talk to a company, you can personalize your message directly to the consumer and create a rewarding experience for both the business and the end-user.

The slight downside to all this instant communication? Making sure someone is “mining the store” when it comes to these Messenger-based conversations. With the use of FB Messenger increasing, having a social media specialist skilled in the art of customer service is even more critical. Also, thanks to transparency, the consumer can see when their conversation has been “read” by the business, making response time a critical part of the customer service experience. 

Here are some brands that are currently using Facebook Messaging Bots to bolster their customer experiences:

Hyatt - Utilizing FB Messenger to have meaningful customer interactions.

According to Dan Moriarty, director of digital strategy and activation for Hyatt, “It’s just one more channel in which we get to have meaningful conversations with guests and help them to be their best, on the road and right away.”4

hyatt-facebook-messenger

Disney

Developed a conversational bot in FB Messenger featuring “Miss Piggy,” designed to drive engagement and awareness of programming.

disney-facebook-messenger

CNN

The 24/7 cable news provider allows users to chat directly with CNN in the FB Messenger app. It lets users receive personalized and specific stories through keywords (i.e. send a message that says “Zika” and the bot will provide you with the latest news in FB Messenger).

cnn-facebook-messenger

HP

Customers can print documents directly from the FB Messenger App connected to any HP printer as well as get notifications.

End result: go ahead – install FB Messenger!

Sources:

1. statista; Number of monthly active FB Messenger users from April 2014 to July 2016 (in millions)

2. Insights Guide, The Message Heard Around the World, Facebook IQ:

3. SEJ, A Marketer’s Guide to Facebook Messenger Bots, November 29, 2016

3-7. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/10-brands-using-facebook-messenger-bots-business

4. Digiday, Hyatt takes customer service to Facebook Messenger, November 13, 2015