Over 330 million consumers connected with small businesses via Facebook Messenger in 2017 alone, so it's evident that the ‘phone call’ era is coming to a close. Since consumers now want constant, immediate online connectivity with their local car dealership, pizza joint, and other local businesses, it is only fitting that Facebook Messenger’s latest feature grants consumers even more flexibility in how they contact their local business.
By installing a plug-in called Customer Chat, retailers can integrate Facebook Messenger with their website, letting their customer support representatives carry on conversations with clients just like they would on Facebook.
Customer Chat also saves conversation histories, meaning a user can be talking to a customer representative on their website and then continue the conversation once they shift to Facebook -- without having to start a new conversation. Customer Chat is now open to any business in the form of an ‘expanded public beta.’
Here’s Facebook’s guide detailing how to install Customer Chat.
Facebook’s Grand Plan
Like all new services, the success depends on the users. Customer Chat’s primary user base seems to be those who lack the time or confidence involved in sending a formal e-mail for a casual business inquiry.
Regardless, Facebook has long been developing its platform with an eye on chat's broader benefits to tighten its grip on businesses. A recent stat indicates Facebook Messenger has surpassed 1.3 billion monthly active users.
So, What Next?
As Facebook seems to be monopolizing and clamping down on the communication realm -- both private and business -- with Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, the plan is clear: They want to absorb even more of the communications that usually take place over phone calls and e-mail.
It is still an uncertainty if the new Messenger feature will have a large impact on Facebook’s grand plan, but it certainly won’t hurt if it ends up working. Customer Chat opens up new avenues of integration, such as sending money, making video calls or even convincing customer service reps to give you a refund. Thus making Facebook the go-to app for anything and everything.
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