Thursday Buzz: Facebook Wants to Reinvent Customer Service

With its new Businesses on Messenger strategy, Facebook wants to help replace annoying customer-service phone calls with less-annoying chat messages. Also: A little help on understanding legislative issues at the state level.

For years, Facebook’s Messenger platform has been a useful, yet not always appreciated, portion of the company’s social network offering.

Yesterday, however, Facebook made Messenger the focal point of its latest F8 developers conference. And if you’re in the business of customer support, you might find one of its newest offerings handy.

The new Businesses on Messenger strategy is meant to make chat communication between a customer and a support staffer incredibly simple—by making the process akin to a traditional conversation.

“The idea is that people hate touch-tone phone tree customer service calls. Endless email threads are annoying too,” writes TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine. “People would rather just text asynchronously in a single chat thread.”

Beyond Messenger merely handling support requests, the company also showed examples of how transactions could be completed through the chat platform, with end users applying a thumbs-up sticker to signal approval.

“This turns support into a revenue-generating center rather than what many people perceive as a cost center,” Jason Smale of Zendesk, a partner with Facebook in the new platform, told Quartz.

The development represents a major shift in Facebook’s approach to chat and suggests that realtime conversation platforms could make a comeback in 2015. It also suggests that the guys who invented the Magic service might have been onto something.

Guide of the Day

Have to track a bill at the state level? Does the thought of doing that put a little extra sweat on your brow? It’s understandable—the process can get mighty complicated.

But CQ Roll Call‘s new guide, “How to Track State Legislation,” offers a solid breakdown of the information you’ll need for that deep dive.

“The system in most states roughly models the federal system, at least in terms of the broad strokes,” CQ Connectivity Managing Editor Glen Justice explains. “But the analogy between Congress and state legislatures only goes so far. Every state operates under a different set of rules and procedures, some of which you will need to learn in order to track effectively.”

Sign up for the full guide on CQ Connectivity‘s website. (ht @CQConnectivity)

Other Links of Note

Amazon wants to beat Dropbox. Its strategy for doing so? Give users of its cloud-storage platform unlimited space.

Travel tip of the day: Some countries require you have several blank pages in your passport before letting you in, Lifehacker notes.

“There is one factor that contributes to membership retention no matter what industry you’re in, and that factor is value.” — MemberClicks’ Callie Walker talks membership retention.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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