Over 50 million businesses globally use Facebook Pages now to connect with their customers. With more and more people communicating with Pages, Facebook has launched a set of new tools for its Page owners which will allow them to respond to customers and manage their communications.
There are over 2.5 billion comments on Pages every month. In Thailand 70 per cent and in Indonesia 61 per cent of people on Facebook are connected to an SMB page.
Marketers using Facebook Pages can now set the average time it takes for them to reply to messages: either ‘within minutes’, ‘within an hour’, ‘within hours’ or ‘within a day’. This is following the feature Facebook had rolled out in summer this year that helped people identify Pages that are very responsive to messages.
There is also a new messaging status called ‘away’ that allows admins to designate when they are unavailable to respond to messages. A Page’s away status is visible on their Page, so people know the Page is unavailable to respond. For instance, if a Page turns off messaging at night, people will see that the Page is not responding to messages at that time and know not to expect a response right away. With the ‘away’ feature enabled, messages the Page receives do not count toward the Page’s response rate.
In addition to that, Page admins can now also set Away Messages and Instant Replies. Away Messages are replies to messages sent automatically when a Page is set to away and can be used to inform people about when to expect a response or where to find other information. Instant Replies are messages sent automatically to people who message the Page for the first time. Businesses can use Instant Replies to automatically respond to incoming messages immediately.
Facebook has also introduced a redesigned inbox that tells businesses more about their customers to serve them better. The inbox would give marketers more context on the people messaging them as now when Page admins message customers, they’ll see past interactions the person has had with the Page, as well as information the person shares publicly on their profile, like their current city. Admins can also add notes about the person, like current orders, past customer service preferences, etc. Admins can also add tags and notes to categorise conversations which are visible only to them.
Another new tool introduced allows Page admins to monitor and respond to comments on their Page by offering them a single place to view and respond to customer comments on both desktop and mobile. Admins can now flag interactions for follow up, reply privately or mark them as done, helping them keep better track of comments in need of responses and eliminating the risk of skipping over a customer comment.
Commenting on the new features, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, said, “The number one challenge for small and medium businesses is reaching customers. Facebook Pages are the mobile solution for millions of businesses around the world because they make it easy for business owners to reach new customers and communicate with current ones where they are – on mobile.”
Michael Sharon, Facebook Product Manager, Pages said, “People can contact businesses anytime and from any device, so we’re offering new tools for Pages to better manage their customer interactions. Now it’s easier than ever for Pages to address both the public comments and private messages that people send them, in order to build and maintain strong relationships and grow their business.”