The statistics on Facebook Messenger are staggering: More than 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month and more than 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses each month. More than 20 million of the 70 million Pages on Facebook are active on Messenger, while there are now over 200,000 monthly active bots on Messenger.
Serving as an extension of many brands’ customer service channels, customers indicate that they increasingly prefer messaging with brands. According to a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen, 56% of people surveyed said they would prefer to message a business than call customer service, and 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next two years.
The top verticals using Messenger in 2017 were Services, Retail, Local Entertainment, Public Good and Media. (Click here for examples of how brands are using Messenger in innovative ways.) Messenger can be used to deploy automated bots that can accept payments, deploy AI for natural language interactions, and hand off conversations between humans and bots with the CRM platforms associated with a business-owned Facebook page.
The good news for all these chatty businesses and customers—as announced today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—is that Facebook is making Messenger interactions even easier for users and brands. It’s all part of an ongoing effort to keep improving the customer experience on Messenger, create a seamless interaction between businesses and their customers and expand its features and functionality in response to requests.
In addition to simplifying customer interactions, Messenger Platform 2.3 offers web chat plugin customization, giving businesses more ways to brand Messenger conversations that take place on websites including the ability to add a persistent menu and incorporate more user information.
More details on the new features available now:
• Quick replies for contact info: In 2016 Messenger introduced quick replies, a way to offer a more guided experience for people as they interact with a bot. Quick replies are dynamic buttons that people can select in response to a business’s question.
Now, if a business asks for a person’s contact info, they can send a quick reply button that will auto-populate with the person’s email or phone number that is associated with their Facebook profile. The customer can then easily select and share it with the business. If the person has more than one email address or phone number connected with their profile, they will be given the option to select which they would like to share with the business.
• Customer chat plugin customization: Businesses on Messenger could start customizing their greeting text and color to match their voice and brand. The Messenger Platform’s customer chat plugin allows businesses to integrate the Messenger experience directly into their website, enabling customers to interact with the business anytime with the same personalized, rich-media experience they get in Messenger.
Messenger is now expanding these customization capabilities (see the Jasper’s Market example at top) and adding a few more features:
Easy setup tool: To help simplify customization, Messenger’s new tool walks businesses and developers through the available customizations, including generating the snippet of code to place on their website in minutes.
Notifications: Once a person starts a chat with a business, they will be notified when the business responds by badging the Messenger icon with a red dot, as well as triggering a notification sound and page title change.
Persistent menu: Businesses can now incorporate the persistent menu from their existing Messenger experience into customer chat so that people can access it at any point during their conversation.
Support for Internet Explorer: This will ensure greater overall stability and performance for customers visiting a business website using the Internet Explorer web browser.
New metrics in Messaging Insights API: Messenger is adding two new metrics to help businesses better understand how people are engaging so they can continue to improve and iterate upon their Messenger experience:
Open Messaging Conversations – The total number of open conversations between a Page and people in Messenger.
New Messaging Conversations – The number of conversations that were initiated by people who had never messaged with a Page before.
Click here for more on the business- (and customer-) friendly updates in Messenger v. 2.3.