Zendesk Partners with Facebook® to Power Businesses on Messenger

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Messenger Now Allows For Real-Time Customer Service Chat.

Peppering a company’s Facebook page with questions and comments appears to be yesterday’s form of communication, as the social media site announced today that it’s giving users and companies the ability to chat with each other through its messenger app. ZEN, -0.97% today announced a partnership to power Facebook’s new Businesses on Messenger product enabling businesses for the first time to communicate with customers through Facebook’s popular messaging app.

For now, the feature will be piloted with online retailers Everlane and Zulily, so that in addition to calling, Tweeting and emailing the companies, consumers can use Facebook Messenger to receive order information and other customer service requests. The numbingly distracting notifications that arrive after you’ve ordered a pair of jeans, say, or a new coffee maker. “At best it’s four emails” to confirm an order, says David Marcus, the former PayPal CEO who arrived last August to jumpstart Facebook’s messaging app. Through an integration of its Zopim chat product with Messenger, Zendesk is allowing businesses to provide scalable and responsive customer service to the more than 600 million people worldwide who use Messenger. While many companies already have online chat support for customers who don’t want to use a phone or email to contact businesses, Bloomberg reports that representatives for Facebook are confident their product is better. “We want to reinvent the way people and businesses are communicating,” David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, said at the company’s F8 conference this week. “Lots of companies have tried to build chat services and a bunch of other things but they’re not that good.” Of course, users wanting to actually utilize the business-to-consumer communication away from their desktop will have to download the separate Messenger application. To say nothing of the promotional emails that follow—sales, plugs, newsletters, and on and on until you get the urge to dump the whole thing into your spam folder and be done with it already.

Additionally, Facebook doesn’t provide details on whether or not the consumer has to make first contact with the company or if users might be inundated with unwanted messages from over-eager business representatives. Today at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Marcus is debuting Messenger for Business, a feature set to launch in a few weeks that will allow businesses to send receipts, notify customers that their packages have shipped, and provide basic customer service directly over Messenger.

Customer service teams can manage multiple Messenger chats at once, collaborate with one another to solve a customer’s issue, and access chat history to easily continue a conversation after a break. Everlane, an online clothing and accessories brand, is known for its transparent relationship with its consumers and for offering top-quality merchandise at a great value.

As our inboxes grow fuller, he explains, businesses try harder to get our attention by sending more emails, which exacerbates the problem. “The fact some email providers are actually putting promotional emails in a separate folder is not helping,” he adds, taking a shot at Google. By inserting Facebook’s supercharged algorithms between you and your jeans purveyor, Marcus hopes Messenger can strike a perfect balance, helping users get more of the customer service they want from companies—and helping businesses establish a stronger communications channel for their customers. The move happens just as the homegrown app that people initially passed over in favor of competitors like Snapchat, Kik, or Vine hits a big milestone: Messenger now has 600 million users, nearly triple the number it had a year ago. Everlane is using Zopim chat to interact with customers in real-time on Messenger and provide customer service. “At Everlane, we pride ourselves on the personal connection we have with our community,” said Aaron Ginn, Everlane’s growth product manager. “Our close customer relationships are how we differentiate ourselves. Not only can our customers now connect with us through Messenger, but they also can receive personal attention and immediate service from us thanks to Zendesk’s integration.” The integration is currently being developed for zulily and Everlane and will be rolled out gradually.

Learn more about Zopim chat and the integration at www.zendesk.com/zopim Zendesk provides a customer service platform designed to bring organizations and their customers closer together. It also coincides with Messenger’s announcement that the app is now open to partnerships with outside developers—nearly 50 have signed on so far, including big companies like ESPN as well as popular photo apps like the GIF-maker Giphy. When a customer makes a purchase on either of their sites, she’ll have the option at checkout to get realtime shopping updates via Facebook, matching a Facebook identity to an order. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

Marcus pulls up an Everlane checkout page on his laptop to show a tiny opt-in Messenger icon embedded on the screen verifying payment and shipping information. (You may remember Messenger launched a peer-to-peer payments system last week; users can send each other money on it, but they can’t pay businesses yet, so for now, it has no connection to this feature.) If customers opt in, they’ll receive a receipt and shipping updates in Messenger. Also, once the relationship has been established between the customer and the business, businesses will be able to contact customers with promotions, newsletters or other news.

But Marcus says Facebook will monitor these interactions aggressively to make sure that “the signal-to-noise ratio is correct.” He references a formula on which Messenger will rely to make sure its users don’t receive too much unappealing correspondence from advertisers.

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