Facebook Pages are getting a big customer service update. Facebook announced today that businesses will soon be able to respond to customer questions and complaints privately.
Previously, Pages were limited to responding in the same channel in which the incoming message was posted, for instance a reply to a comment or a post on a Pages’ wall. Such interactions had to take place in public and there was no effective way to take a discussion private within the Facebook platform.
Now, Page admins will have the option to message customers by clicking “Message” and open a private thread. The new thread will include a link to the original comment, which will eliminate the need for customers to repeat questions. The new feature will be rolled out to Pages in the coming weeks.
To help businesses manage what could be increased customer service demands on Facebook, the social network is also introducing new admin messaging tools. It’s giving Page owners the ability to create and save boilerplate messages to frequently asked questions. That new feature is apparently the same as one that Facebook has been testing for several months. The admin message inbox has also been updated to give people the ability to take bulk actions to archive, delete, flag and mark messages as read, unread and spam.
This move is part of Facebook’s effort to challenge telephone as a primary customer service channel, in the same vein as the Messenger on Business product introduced at the F8 conference this spring.
To encourage the platform’s use for customer service, Facebook has created a new way to signal that a company is responsive, a badge stating that a Page is “Very responsive to messages.” Pages will receive the badge if they respond to 90 percent of messages and have a median response time of less than five minutes. Responsiveness stats will be based on data from the last seven days and admins will be able to view their Pages stats in Insights.
Facebook also added a messaging feature in its “local awareness” advertising unit, a new Send Message call to action button. The button gives people viewing the ad the ability to send a private message — with a link to the ad that prompted the message — to the advertiser.