How to promote Facebook Messenger as a Customer Service Channel
Facebook state explicitly on the Messenger website that it has been “designed for businesses” and there has been an enormous amount of coverage about how messaging is going to become a hugely important customer service channel. But in order to avoid a free-for-all of spam, Facebook require customers to instigate the first conversation, which then opens up the channel for two-way communication. This means that businesses who want to reap the benefits of using Messenger as a contact channel, need to promote it to their customers.
Facebook understand the challenge, so they have introduced some innovative tools to help businesses promote Messenger and make it frictionless for customers to start those conversations. In this post I’m going to cover what those tools are, where you can find them and how you might use them.
What is your Business’s Messenger Username?
If your business’s Facebook Page URL is www.facebook.com/xyzbusiness, then your Messenger Username should be @xyzbusiness (ours is @leapchat). In an ideal world it will be the same as your Twitter handle, in order to avoid confusion among customers who use both platforms, but that is not always going to be possible. For some companies it may make sense to set up a new page, specifically for customer support, or to break down support channels geographically.
Where do you find your Business’s Messenger Username?
You can find it directly under the profile image on your Facebook Page.
How do you use your Business’s Messenger Username?
The Messenger Username can be used in a very similar way to a Twitter handle, but remember, Messenger has more than 3X the users. Provided you have managed to keep it short and close to your brand name, it should be much easier to remember than a phone number or an email address. You can promote it by:
- adding it to promotional materials such as billboards and corporate vehicles; or
- mentioning it in your IVR messaging, to help move people waiting on hold onto Messenger; or
- mentioning it on radio and TV ads, or in person if your staff have direct contact with customers
What is a Messenger Link?
A Messenger Link is a short URL containing your username. A customer who clicks on a Messenger Link will immediately be transferred to their own Messenger account (on desktop) or their Facebook page or Messenger app (on mobile). Try it out by sending us a message here: http://m.me/leapchat. There they will already be lined up to send a message to your Messenger account, so there is very little friction involved.
Where do you find your Messenger Link?
You can find your Messenger Link by clicking the “Message” drop-down on your business page and clicking “Copy Messenger Link”.
How do you use a Messenger Link?
The Messenger Link can be used anywhere you want to facilitate customers quickly getting in touch with you from within a screen. For example you could:
- put a link on your “Contact Us” page on your website or in your app; or
- put it on a pop-up in a similar way to web chat pop-ups; or
- use it in social media posts instead of a link to your website
What is a Messenger Plugin?
The Messenger Plugin is the next step up from a Messenger link. It is a widget that adds a floating “Message Us” button to your website. The button operates in a very similar way to a web chat popup, only the chat takes place via Messenger rather than a third party web chat provider. It is also free, unless you use a service like Leapchat (although we do have a free plan).
How do you implement a Messenger Plugin?
There are two types of Messenger Plugins:
- Facebook Messenger Plugin
The Facebook Messenger Plugin is simply a floating button in the corner of your website (desktop or mobile), that acts in a very similar way to web chat. The big difference is clicking it will take the user to their Messenger account at Messenger.com or in their Messenger app where they can start the conversation.
2. Facebook Messenger Box
A Facebook Messenger Box is a similar popup, but with this option the conversation takes place within a box on your page. The chat is still recorded in both the user’s Messenger account and on your business page.
To implement a Messenger Plugin does require a little coding knowledge, but it is not overly complicated. This blog post explains it in very simple language.
How do you use your Messenger Plugin?
Just like a web chat plugin. A recent Messenger platform update made it even more useful by enabling you to track which page the user came from so that you have context as to what the query might be, or at least where the customer got stuck. We will go into more detail on this in a dedicated blog post.
What is a Messenger Code?
A Messenger Code is essentially a branded circular QR code that can easily be scanned from within the Messenger App, which solves nearly all of the main problems of the original QR code. Facebook have made it look far more attractive than the original QR code too. If you have a high resolution screen you should be able to scan our code in the image (go to the “People” tab in Messenger to find the “Scan Code” option).
Where do you find your Messenger Code?
Navigate to the Messages tab on your business page and at the bottom of the message stream you will see an info (“i”) button. This is where your Messenger Code is hidden away. You can download to use it in promotional materials.
How might you use a Messenger Code?
The Messenger Code is a great alternative to a phone number or email address, when the individual can get close enough to it to actually scan it. A particularly interesting use case would be using the Messenger Code to collect feedback from customers via Messenger. Include it on:
- bills and flyers sent out to customers; or
- business cards, receipts, menus and on in-store signage; or
- stickers on physical products and/or in the user manual
Facebook’s target to make the phone number obsolete is ambitious, but the variety of tools outlined in this article shows that they are walking the walk and are willing to try new ideas to make it happen. While they are going all out to make it easy to contact businesses on Messenger, they are also doing their damnedest to avoid the platform becoming an annoying and irritating app that never stops beeping and vibrating. This is a fine line to walk and only time will tell if they get it right.
But to get things right you have to try something. So, although the famous mantra “Move Fast and Break Things” has now changed slightly, it is that attitude that has put Facebook in prime position to dominate consumer to business messaging.
When Facebook started to “force” users to download Messenger it caused uproar, but now Messenger has over 1 billion monthly active users.
I would be very worried if I was a phone number!
If you have alternative suggestions on how businesses might promote Messenger, I would love to hear them.