Facebook has recently launched a range of updates for its business tools on Messenger, adding in new appointment booking options and lead generation automation options in addition to many others. As businesses are harnessing the power of the Messenger Platform in newer and better ways, Facebook continues to offer a bevy of features that make Messenger more impactful for businesses and allowing for customers to connect with them in a way that is enjoyable and intuitive. 

Seamless Payment Flow

In the wake of Amazon’s move into messaging, it looks like Facebook couldn’t stay far behind for long. In-stream payments will greatly revolutionize the way we see messenger bots, and their progress on this front will advance the payment capacity of bots. Amazon’s one-click purchasing option gained a lot of traction in the market and now as part of Messenger Platform 2.1, we are going to witness more efficient and easier payment processes. The Messenger webview would enable customers to pay via a one-step process. Such a hassle-free and easy payment flow is a great step towards promoting more Messenger commerce. While this is indeed an interesting development, such a move would have fared even better with Instagram, which in conjunction with its upcoming Shopping Tags, would have given Amazon a run for its money. In the context of messenger, enabling direct purchases in response to bots, is a great advancement for Facebook. However, Messenger payments are still being tested out as we speak, and available only in US.

Appointment booking with Facebook Messenger

Facebook has also announced its intention to improve appointment booking via messenger. The catch here is that the appointment-booking feature can be integrated with a business’s calendar system now, helping customers garner a better idea of which appointment slots are available, The option enables businesses to integrate their Messenger response flow with their existing calendar booking software, facilitating the full process within the app. If a business calendar is accurate, Facebook can save companies precious hours by alleviating the need for phone calls to book appointments and cutting down on the time squandered monitoring an online booking system. The current process of booking appointments can be further simplified via a couple of automated messages.

This service is effectively like using a chatbot, with one specific post triggering the bot. Sephora set the precedence by building an appointment booking experience on the Messenger Platform, which led to a significant boost in in-store bookings by 60%.

Lead generation with Facebook Messenger

Perhaps the greatest update to come out of the F8 conference is the Messenger lead generation template. Facebook has begun Implementing lead generation templates directly into Ads Manager. The ads redirect visitors to automated messages, from where, Facebook Messenger can take up the conversation with automated responses to funnel down the needs of the customer and what they came for. This process is fairly simple, since all it takes is a handful of messages to get to the root of customer intent.

This tool is especially helpful for small businesses, that are already pressed for resources and time, working on shoe-string resources.  Now, they can simply leverage this technology to generate more qualified leads without constantly having to keep tabs on the desktop or Messenger app or contend with responding to soft leads or spam accounts. Such automated conversions render it a breeze to generate and convert leads.

According to Facebook, General Motors has leveraged this tool to generate 3,000 leads over an eight-week span, and the company converted at a rate 30% higher than other digital marketing channels.

Updating Standard Messaging Window

Facebook has announced that it is tweaking its Standard Messaging response window for businesses leveraging Facebook’s Send/Receive API from where it stands at 24+1 setting currently to 24 hours only. Currently, standard messaging allows brands to respond within 24 hours after a message has been initiated by a person in Messenger, with the flexibility to send only one message after that 24-hour window has passed. This suited businesses that somehow failed to get the right response within the day. However, Facebook’s Messenger Platform Policy seems to be bidding adieu to this option soon.

“The +1 message that allowed businesses to send 1 additional message after the 24-hour window will no longer be available starting Jan 15, 2020. This change aligns with people’s expectations of faster responses from businesses.”

This change could be enormous for brands that have already integrated Messenger into their workflows. Even when the initial 24-hour window has passed, brands would still be able to re-engage customers on Messenger via sponsored messages, and with the help of send updates on account changes, bookings, purchases, etc. Oh, this also reminds us to tell you that Facebook is also looking to cut down on the number of  available tags from 17 to 4 to make it easier to understand acceptable use cases.

Effective from the January of 2020, four new categories for Messenger tags are going to be introduced:

  • Human Agent (closed beta) – This allows user inquiries to be addressed by human agents.  Messages can be sent within 7 days after a user message.
  • Account Update – This notifies the user of a non-recurring change to their account or application.
  • Post Purchase – Notify the user of an update on a recent purchase.
  • Confirmed Event – Send the user updates or reminders for an event they have registered for. This tag may be used for events in progress and upcoming events.

This simplifies the tags process, with clearer guidance around what responses are acceptable within the system.

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