Facebook Messenger and Customer Service

April 2016

Facebook Messenger Codes. What do they mean for customer service teams?

When Facebook announced their update to its Messenger app to give every user a unique, scannable code, would allow it to be easier for people to get in touch with friends, family and importantly, brands. This could have a pretty big impact on the number of users who use Facebook as a customer service channel.

So what does this update mean for customer service?
Firstly, Facebook Messenger now has more than 900m active users, and their primary intention with this update is to improve communication between brands and their customers. So from a customer service perspective, it’s a pretty big deal.
What is it?

Basically, Facebook is allowing all of its users to create (or use their existing) usernames to make it easier for people to get in touch. This will work by increasing the use of Facebook page usernames. Crucially though, for brands/retailers who haven’t created their own vanity username, they’ll need to act pretty quickly to avoid other users grabbing their brand name. For example, if I wanted to get in touch with Starbucks to complain about my cold flat white, I could jump onto Messenger on my iPhone, and start a conversation by typing in @starbucks (if that was their username) into the app, or if I’ve added them as a contact, just tap their username.

To complain now, I’d have to go into my Facebook app, probably get distracted by a video of a cat sitting on a tortoise, then search for Starbucks, find the right page, then post on their wall or message them. All of that is quite cumbersome, so the new update will make communication much slicker. Brands can publish their username across their campaigns in order to encourage more contacts for example.
Messenger codes
That’s not all though. Facebook is also assigning every user with a unique, scannable code (similar to that of Snapchat if you’re a cool youngster) which will allow me to simply scan a code on a website, business card, poster or any marketing channel, and instantly start a conversation with a brand. As brands will more than likely start publishing their codes across their promotional materials, it’s expected that the use of Messenger as a customer service tool will increase, potentially dramatically if your business targets the under 30’s demographic.
What does this mean for customer service teams?

​​​​​​​Potentially a lot more contacts being received on Facebook, specifically as private messages. This may also have a knock-on effect on the number of emails, live chat sessions or even voice calls, which may all decrease as a result. Crucially, a brand will also be offered the opportunity to set a “messenger greeting” which essentially sets the tone of the style of customer service you can expect, or give brands an option to use the space to offer promo codes or special welcome messages. Does this update present an opportunity for brands to route contacts to specific social media teams? For example, could a brand such as our client Micro Scooters create multiple page codes or usernames, in order to route a query to the right team, in the same way, a traditional IVR works on voice calls?

For example, Micro Scooters could create a page specifically to handle returns – called @Microreturns – a user who scans this code in the Messenger app would then be sending their message directly to a returns specialist at Micro Scooters. Whereas another account such as @Microhelp could route messages directly to agents skilled in pre-purchase support for example. Using multiple codes could also help drive a huge amount of powerful data into a brand’s marketing or customer service team. By using multiple codes on different marketing materials, it would be possible to identify which marketing channel is producing the highest level of contacts. We’re excited to see where this goes, and which brands become the pioneers of Messenger codes directly as a customer service function. 

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