Employee of the Month: Facebook Pages
When it comes to customer service, Facebook is probably your eternal employee of the month.
Earlier this week, the company unveiled its new and improved features of Pages for business purposes. With currently about 45 million active businesses on the platform, Facebook is trying to become the primary source for their digital presence and storefront. This is especially applicable to small to medium-sized firms that are struggling to connect with their target customers. Pages almost makes traditional websites redundant and is also a lot more cost-effective since it erases all setup costs of registering a domain name, web hosting, web design as well as maintenance.
With regards to the mobile landscape, 85% of the time spent on smartphones actually takes place within apps rather than on websites. It is not only a lack of financial resources that small companies face but also picky users that have only 29 apps on average on their smartphones. A small to medium-sized company is not very likely to make it in the Top 29. And this is just the beginning. Pages has already gone way beyond being just the digital storefront. It has become a tool for customer service and support, which becomes especially apparent when consumers publish their problems and complaints publicly as a post. These Facebook posts are similar to other social media metrics that are open, visible, accessible, and characterized by a high level of customer engagement; and this is a very safe recipe to easily become a PR disaster, as “social media is a leading indicator of firm equity value” (Luo et al. 2013).
So what do the new features entail?
- More call-to-action buttons (e.g. book an appointment or even call the company directly)
- Two new sections “Shop” and “Services” to showcase offerings more visible and accessible
- Improved layout for viewing as a mobile site
- Rewarding fast responses to customers’ requests and complaints with a badge
- Ability to send private messages to angry customers
The last two aspects are particularly interesting as this could transform the entire practice of customer support. Instead of having to set up a call center with relatively high average handling times, companies can respond to several requests at the same time and optimize by using the same template. As a further step, this could also create a completely new opportunity for third parties to offer customer services solely targeted at handling messages on Pages.
Another caveat emerges for Google as consumers might start shifting from searching for companies on Facebook rather than Google. Due to the standardized layout, visitors are very familiar with the setup of Facebook Pages and will find the information they are looking for faster and easier. With all the features, there are more means to raise social engagement and to share with your Facebook friends. Hence, it is a lot more dynamic. And more importantly, it is exactly catering to the needs for improved mobile pages.
Currently, not all of features have gone live yet so we shall see to what extents this transformation will go.
Luo, X., Jie, Z., and Duan, W. (2013). “Social Media and Firm Equity Value”. Information Systems Research 24(1). pp. 146-163.