Up until 2016 Facebook trended as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the web. That does not stand to change in 2016. However, we do expect to see Facebook changes that make Facebook a useful customer service solution, and a central social commerce platform.
What has Facebook been doing to make online professionals believe that Facebook can become a customer service solution? First there is the integration of messenger on eCommerce, then there is the Yelp-like local business directory that gained steam in late 2015, and finally Facebook integrating with Uber to bring customers a better (and faster) experience with the company. All of those Facebook changes are set to make Facebook the leading player in social commerce. Together with other future Facebook features, the site is gearing toward becoming the head of the family when it comes to social commerce.
Anyone that has had a bit of success in growing an eCommerce business knows that customer support is important. Customer service is so important, that good service can actually lead to customers spending more.
Facebook's messenger service, Business on Messenger, is not yet available for every business, however it's just a matter of time (couple months) before this goes global. Using messenger as a customer service solution is still available (now)! App developers have jumped on board and created third party apps that enable your eCommerce business to interact with customers via the Facebook platform.
One such example is the Shopify app Customer Care Via Facebook. You can see an example on the eCommerce web store Gritty Rustic Leather. Why the flock to Facebook as a solution? For the same reason that commerce went online: it's where customers are.
Local Business Directory
In addition to messenger becoming a business solution that acts as an excellent customer service solution, it was brought to light in late 2015 that Facebook has been working on its own local business directory, similar to what Yelp has been doing for years.
Honestly, it makes sense. With almost every business calling Facebook home to a large portion of their social marketing activity, it's only natural that Facebook gives businesses more opportunities and users more value on the platform.
What does this have to do with Facebook as a customer service solution? The directory will add more importance to how you interact with your customers and followers on your page and even with messenger.
Taking a quick glance at Facebook's solution, you'll notice that service is one of the key elements in defining which businesses show up first (they use reviews and ratings). As the entire social network evolves to offer more social commerce features, the search directory will gain in importance. Why would people use Yelp when they can see reviews on Facebook - not from strangers - from friends and friends of friends?
"We're in the early stages of testing a way for people to easily find more Pages for the services they're interested in," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Facebook Services and Commerce
As we mentioned at the start, Facebook's messenger app is no longer a simple messaging system that is just for sending messages between friends or for fans that have questions for a certain figure or brand. Not only is messenger going to become a viable live-chat option for online businesses, but it will also become a type of "checkout cart".
Uber is currently the only company integrated with Facebook's messenger for services and commerce fulfillment. Facebook wants to make messenger more than just a great customer service solution, and instead is trying to turn the messenger software into a complete business solution.
With the move to transportation, other services, and finally to physical products, Facebook will essentially turn itself into the center of eCommerce (seriously). Customers, in addition to making purchases on the site (already available), will be able to get product updates, track orders, get customer service support, and interact with their favorite brands in a new more personal manner.
Facebook 2016: Customer Service Solution and Leader of Social Commerce
The changes that we expect to see from Facebook in 2016 are going to make it just as important to your business' success as the actual web store that you use. In 2016 Facebook will matter as always to your marketing and advertising success, but it will also step up to the plate as a more important and useful customer support solution.
What These Facebook Changes Mean for Your Business
What do the changes to messenger and the roll out of a business directory mean for your business? First and foremost, these changes will make it necessary for you to offer better customer service on your page.
The online chat will drive more visitors to your pages, as will the directory. With more people visiting, it will be of utmost importance for you to provide better service on your page.
- - Answer messages in a timely manner...In regards to messages don't forget that you can be awarded the "very responsive to messages" badge when you have a response rate of 90% and a median (average) response time of 5 minutes!
- - Answer questions posted on your wall (even answer the old ones)
And while you are doing that, don't forget to also:
- - Get more ratings
- - Get more testimonials
As Facebook improves its search capabilities, and improves the directory, it is important for you to work hard now to place yourself above the competition so that when the directory goes live, you are starting off on the right foot.
In addition, like we said more people will be heading to your pages. Of course posting amazing content on your page is important, but just as important, if not more, is setting a great first impression. That first impression is set with five-star ratings, positive reviews, and quick (and useful) responses to people's questions.
I've spilled my guts over what I think will take place with Facebook in 2016. Now I want to know what you think. Will you use Messenger for your online business? Are you going to take your customer service efforts on Facebook to the next level?