Facebook continued to add value to their platform for businesses today, as they announced the launch of a new customer chat plugin.
Facebook Messenger will now be available as a plugin on websites, enabling customers to speak directly and immediately with a business. What’s more, the app will carry over web, mobile and tablet devices, ensuring businesses can reach customers wherever they are, whatever device they are using.
Is Facebook set to revolutionise customer service?
The announcement is yet another step towards making the Facebook platform more valuable for businesses and could have far-reaching ramifications for customer service, with social media already central to customer communications.
A built-in chat platform for websites isn’t actually anything new, but Facebook’s global audience and reach could be a game changer. The Messenger app already has 1.2 billion monthly users and a familiar interface and integration could have a drastic impact on uptake.
The plugin will function similarly to the existing Messenger app, hovering over the webpage when opened by a customer. Importantly, the conversation will follow the customer even when they leave the website by using the Messenger app.
What next for Facebook’s customer chat plugin?
Let’s not forget that this is more than just a chat app. The beta alone offers features such as payments, rich media and sophisticated (or, depending on your fear of a robot apocalypse, terrifying) bots.
There’s no doubt that this feature list will grow over time (Facebook are not known for standing still) and the Messenger app will likely be the testing ground for the earliest bot and AI integrations. In fact, this could mean that these products can be delivered at scale, which will rapidly speed up their development.
As exciting as the news is, it comes with the cautionary note that businesses need to prepared to deliver effective customer service. There’s nothing worse than a customer expecting a conversation, only to be met with an unhelpful response or, worse still, no response at all.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons a lot of businesses have been slow to adopt integrated chat; it’s daunting and unfamiliar. But now, with the might of Facebook behind it, we fully expect it to become more commonplace and change the way businesses interact with customers. With that in mind, it’s definitely something businesses will need to consider because if they don’t, their competitors will.
We’ll be keeping an eye on how the plugin develops and keep you updated of any new changes or announcements. You can sign up here to be notified when the plugin becomes widely available, or if you want to discuss social media marketing solutions for your business, get in touch with us here.