Customer service experts Zendesk have released a new feature that allows users to send customer service requests – and consequently receive answers and support – through Facebook.
Customers send a private Facebook message with their query or problem, which is automatically turned into a customer service ticket by Zendesk to go to the company in question. Once customer services send their response, Zendesk convert it into a Facebook message too.
Keeping the whole conversation on Facebook has a number of advantages for both parties. The consumer gets a quicker, more efficient way to contact the retailer in question and they can browse the social network while they wait for a response. This beats just being put on hold on the phone for an indeterminable period of time. For customers with simple queries that don’t require lengthy verbal explanations, this method should be ideal.
The retailer also benefits, as they can make significant savings on call centre operations. In addition, their customer satisfaction levels should also rise, which is always a universally desirable outcome, regardless of the business in question.
Facebook is becoming an ever more popular platform for hosting customer services as more online retailers and service providers begin to understand the viable alternatives to call centres. The average daily session for a Facebook user continues to increase in length as the social network provides a greater variety of useful services all in one place. Provided that the quality of the customer service remains high (i.e.: the customer’s query is responded to in a quick and helpful fashion), Facebook users should be happy to combine their social networking with this relatively mundane admin task.
As the lines between social engagement and business continue to blur, expect more companies to follow the path of Zendesk and create more direct interaction with their customers through Facebook and other social networks. For years, forward-thinking brands have already been engaging with their customers and keen to start a dialogue through social media. Therefore, it seems a natural progression for them to want to talk with their customers for more than just marketing purposes.
Already, a wave of acquisitions has been made by major business software providers which will help them offer Facebook integration to their clients. In particular, SAP and Oracle are expected to clash on this front to see who can provide the better service. SAP has recently acquired SuccessFactors, a major SaaS (Software as a Service) innovator as part of their future strategy of producing more engaging business apps. SuccessFactors will retain its operating independence, meaning that more SAP jobs have been created in order to make the collaboration a success. Not to be outdone, Oracle have also acquired RightNow, an early adopter of Facebook integration for businesses, in order to attract clients with more innovative products.
Whoever can offer products which prioritise the users’ need for simplicity and ease of use will most likely come off best in this anticipated battle.