Marketing

Facebook rolls out features to help SMEs communicate with customers

Eloise Keating /

 

SMEs will soon be given more information about the customers that message them on Facebook and will be better able to track the comments left by customers on their pages.

Announcing the updates this morning, Facebook said more than 50 million businesses worldwide are now using Facebook pages, with 81% of Facebook users in Australia connected to a small or medium size business on the social network.

Customers of these businesses are also becoming more comfortable communicating with brands on Facebook, with 2.5 billion comments left on Facebook pages worldwide every month.

Under the features announced today, owners of Facebook pages will be able to set the average time it takes them to reply to private messages from customers.

Previously, the average time was generated by Facebook but brands will now able to select either “within minutes”, “within an hour”, “within hours” or “within a day”.

Business owners will also have the option of selecting an “away” status to let customers know that they are unable to respond to messages.

Facebook is also redesigning the inbox attached to Facebook pages to give more context about the people who are messaging a business.

When a Facebook user sends a private message to a business, the business will be able to see any past interactions the person has had with the page and information the person shares publicly on their Facebook profile, such as their current city.

Administrators of a page can also add notes about the person, such as their current orders with the business or past customer service preferences.

Facebook said it is also making it easier for businesses to monitor and respond to comments on Facebook posts with a new tool to be housed under the “Activity” tab on Facebook pages.

The tab will allow page administrators to see all customer comments in one place, from both desktops and mobiles.

Facebook said the updates will start rolling out immediately, with the features to be available to all Facebook pages in coming months.

In a Facebook post announcing the updates, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Facebook is “thrilled” to be helping small businesses stay in touch with their customers.

“Small businesses create jobs and drive growth in every economy – so when they succeed, everyone wins,” she said. 

 

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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