The first week of December, Facebook announced that it now has over 50 million small businesses using pages to communicate with their current and prospective customers. To mark that milestone, the social media monster also announced a set of new tools for those businesses to make it easier to handle those communications.
The tools center around making life simpler for page managers who, after all, are the touch point of Facebook communications with customers. Many involve the timing and status of message replies from page managers. Other changes involve a redesigned inbox that provides more context on users who are messaging and commenting on business pages.
Let’s walk through the new tools.
- Response time — This feature lets page managers set the average time it will take to respond to messages: within minutes, within an hour, within hours, or within a day. These can also be applied to Messenger.
- Away messaging status — Now page administrators can designate when they are not available to respond to messages, and these won’t count against the business’s response times (businesses can receive badges from Facebook based on their response times). If a business turns off messaging in late night, viewers will now see that the page is not responding, so they won’t be annoyed by the lack of a speedy response.
- Instant replies and away messages — These are similar to the saved replies feature. Page administrators can now also set these responses to customers. Instant replies are the automatic responses that go out to people who message the page for the first time. A business can use these to say “Hi,” thank them for their interest, or offer some initial information that could be of value before the actual response comes from the business. Away messages are automatically sent when a page is set to “away.” They can tell the customer when to expect a response and where other information can be found in the meantime.
The second set of tools surrounds the inbox and the ability of the page administrator to get a better handle on overall context, including past conversations, side comments on the customers’ own pages, and the like.
- Past interactions — When a page administrator messages with a customer, he or she can also see the past interactions the person has had with the page. To enhance the background knowledge of the customer, the administrator is now able to see the information the person shares publicly on their personal profile.
- Add notes — The administrator can add notes about the customer, things such as current orders, past customer service interactions or preferences, or any other information the administrator deems relevant. These notes are only visible to the administrator and will help with future interactions with this same customer.
- Add tags — Administrators can add tags to categorize conversations. This will make them easier to find later on. For instance, a tag could be titled “Delayed shipping” to cover that thread of interaction. If the customer raises this question in a later transaction, the administrator can easily see what happened. Like notes, tags will only be visible to the administrator.
- Keep track of comments — This tool can be found under the new activity tab and it helps administrators monitor and respond to comments on their page; it’s a single place to respond to both desktop and mobile comments. The administrator can flag the interaction, can reply to the person privately, or can mark the interaction as done. Just like with the messages inbox, the administrator can view profile information on the people leaving comments.
All of these changes are meant, according to Facebook, to make it easier for small business pages to address both the public comments and private messages that people send them. The idea is to build more in-depth relationships with their customers through these new tools.
If you have further questions about any of these changes and how they relate to your Facebook page, please talk directly to your Advice Media representative.