Facebook have recently been working to improve customer service features on their pages, and one of the most recent notable changes has been the introduction of “Saved Replies” to private messages which may prove to be a game changer.

In today’s fast paced environment, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait for something. As things become faster and faster, people are becoming more conditioned not to have to expect to wait for things and that’s never been truer than in customer service.

Nowadays organisations and businesses are bending to consumer demand - shops are open later, many call centres have extended opening hours and businesses are creating websites and apps to allow the customer more access to make changes to their products or services whenever they want. 

A natural synergy that is proving popular in customer service is the use of social media to engage directly with customers. In days gone by, we might have needed to write a strongly worded letter to the papers or television programmes reporting on consumer satisfaction, now we can Facebook and Tweet the company in an instant.

Facebook customer service screenshot

Organisations need to respond to these communications and show exemplary service standards now that these communications are now no longer private and are the modern dirty laundry for businesses. It’s not just consumers who may come across looking at these kinds of posts,posts; in fact these kinds of posts are being proactively hunted by news aggregators so it’s important to nip these such issues in the bud before they becoming become big news and attract the wrong kind of attention.

Recently, Facebook have been working to improve customer service features on their pages, and one of the most recent notable changes has been the introduction of “Saved Replies” to private messages which may prove to be a game changer.

This new feature allows Page Administrators to send pre-written (canned) replies to messages. These can be used flexibly to be used in a number of levels for a number of purposes, from answers to frequently asked questions to holding emails which can be used to let a customer know that their message has been received and to set an expectation of when they can expect an answer response time. In terms of PR this is really good news for pages because it means that statements, answers and general replies can be pre-approved before they are put in front of the customer - thus reducing the chance of bad inappropriate or incorrect information going to the customer.  

To reward the pages from for communicating this way Facebook has introduced a new metric for the pages called Responsiveness (not to be confused with the technique of the same name which involves building a website to fit on any screen size). 

To get the “Very responsive to messages” indicator below your Page's cover photo, your Page must have done both of the following over the last 7 days: 

  • Responded to 90% of messages
  • Maintained an average response time of 5 minutes for all replies sent - these can include the saved replies. 

Facebook very responsive

When your Page has the this icon, anyone can see that your Page is very responsive to messages. If you fall below the caveats fail to meet the criteria above then you simply will not have this indicator on your page. 

So when this feature rolls on to your page, what should you do? 

  1. Plan your saved responses and add them on to Facebook, even if it is just a simple holding message thanking the customer for their message and advising they’ll get a response between during an agreed time window. If you’re not sure what to say then why not give us a shout we can help you plan this out, this is something which we can advise you on.
  2. Remember not to turn in to a robot!  Whilst While stock answers are useful, these should only ever be a guide. As a consumer, there is really nothing worse than a politicians answer to a question - nothing beats the personal touch.
  3. Make sure your Facebook page is staffed during the stated opening hours of your business. If you say you’re open, make sure you’re fully accessible to your customers           

These small tweaks to Facebook’s pages are a step in the right direction for social media servicing to customers and are hopefully a sign of things to come across the board from more social networks. This new level of transparency within customer service will certainly separate the men from the boys and allow organisations who have a genuine commitment to their customers to shine through. 

This minor adjustment to Facebook page capability could prove to be a major step in the right direction for online customer services which meet the instantaneous needs of consumers in the digital age. Hopefully this move from Facebook is an indication of the way customer service will be moving forward across all social networks, rather than an isolated experiment. 

We certainly think it's a winner - the level of transparency provided by this system will allow for organisations to build much greater trust and will allow consumers a much clearer picture of which organisations are serious about customer satisfaction. Unlike the online reviews system, which is open to widespread manipulation, this could be the development which truly allows those companies with the best approach to customer service rise to the top.