Business Messaging Best Practices: A Conversation with Meta

Messaging is one of the core ways customers interact with local brick-and-mortar businesses. Yet this key part of the customer experience often leads to frustration, and automation, which is supposed to boost convenience, sometimes leaves customers feeling underserved

I sat down with Justina Nguyen, strategic partner manager at Messenger parent company Meta, to talk about how businesses can turn messaging into a brand differentiator. Here are the takeaways for brands from our conversation. 

Use automation for the right scenarios

“Sometimes we see brands see the opportunity of automation, and they try to automate every single experience possible,” Nyugen said. But that’s how brands end up turning to automated conversations for the wrong use cases, disappointing customers.

“What experience can you translate to messaging that’s consistent, direct, and that you can get back to the customer quickly? That’s what we can deliver with … automation,” Nyugen said. 

For more complex requests, brands should direct customers to live agents. Save automation for the tasks it is truly positioned to solve, and you’ll increase convenience while mitigating the risk of frustrating customers who need to talk to a real person.

View messaging as an opportunity to build the ideal customer experience

Meta’s goal with Messenger is to make it the “primary place where people communicate with businesses,” Nyugen said. The company formerly known as Facebook wants customer experiences on Messenger to be seamless and enjoyable — a boon to both everyday Messenger users and businesses.

Brands should set the same goals for their own messaging interactions with customers. As Nyugen put it, messaging is an opportunity to craft “the ideal customer experience”; it’s not just a customer service problem to solve. 

Brands want to design frictionless commerce experiences that allow customers to buy quickly and without frustration. The same goal applies to messaging, which is no less about delighting and retaining the customer than it is about answering a sometimes mundane question.  

Make your style efficient and consistent

Efficiency and consistency are the main principles for automated customer communication. Following these guidelines helps businesses set and meet customer expectations while delivering the convenience they’re after when they message a chatbot.

Deploy automation for “the inquiries you can answer directly, whether that’s something like store hours or location,” Nyugen said. If you can address an inquiry via information in your CRM, you should be able to set up messaging protocols that “deliver that answer every single time.”

As for style, Nyugen recommends that brands prioritize “short responses rather than a long-form paragraph.” The answer businesses should ask themselves is, “How can you give them the info they’re looking for quickly, accurately, and conveniently?”

Messaging is a brand-building tool

Messaging is about leveraging technology to build a brand — both by employing a certain style and leaving customers with a positive sense of what it’s like to do business with you.

“Convenience is a big theme I’ve seen,” Nyugen said. “People choose to shop at places that provide a messaging experience because they know they can rely on that support. A phone call is going to be the last thing I want to resort to [as a customer].”

When you solve a customer’s problem rapidly, you’re not just using chatbots to answer a question. You’re building a relationship and expectations for that relationship. That’s why, if done correctly, messaging is more than a customer service issue. It’s an opportunity for differentiation and a driver of lifetime value.

Dustin Hayes is sr. director of marketing at multi-location marketing platform SOCi, Street Fight’s parent company. 

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