Implementing Facebook Messenger safely and successfully at city hall
Facebook Messenger is ideal for business use. In this article we explain how to use this channel successfully and how to do it safely.
During the past years Livecom has helped many municipalities with organizing their customer service and webcare. To lower the contact threshold for citizens and be more accessible and improve efficiency for themselves.
What is almost the most important for municipalities, is the fact that it is used safely and the privacy of citizens can be ensured.
Facebook Messenger as a business tool
Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly users across the globe. Of which 1.18 billion use it daily. From these users 1 billion of them also use Facebook Messenger (1). The chat service of Facebook. In the Netherlands there are around 9.5 million registered Facebook accounts (2). The popularity of messenger has skyrocketed in a short time. This is mainly because Messenger can be used on virtually all mobile platforms and thru the Facebook website.
Besides chatting with friends and family, it is also possible to send messages to companies and government pages. Facebook Messenger is an easy way for citizens to contact your municipality.
Besides the great advantage of being easily accessible to citizens, it is possible to reach different audiences through this tool. Not everyone wants to use chat or e-mail, but perhaps Facebook Messenger lower the threshold. By offering this, you can reach more citizens.
Clearly Facebook Messenger is focusing on the business market. Therefore, Messenger has several business functions which are rapidly expanded. An interesting feature for example is, companies can create codes and links, which can be used to directly start a conversation. This code and link can be placed on your website or other marketing materials to make accessibility quick and easy.
Facebook Messenger versus WhatsApp
In the Netherlands, Facebook Messenger now is the number two online communication channel after WhatsApp. This is also the case in other countries, however, the ranking may be the other way around in some countries. For example; In the USA Facebook Messenger is 1 and WhatsApp 2. The popularity of Messenger is primarily arisen since the chatapp was separated from the website. Facebook Messenger is much more user friendly than WhatsApp. With WhatsApp you need to add a mobile number to your address book in your phone, with Messenger this is not needed. The page of the city hall or company can be found easily via the search function of the app on your mobile or when accessing your website. The conversations are synchronized between the app on your mobile and on the computer. If you as a citizen open Facebook Messenger on a computer, you can read back all your chat conversations. Or continue the conversation when it has not been completed.
The possibilities for citizens which use Facebook Messenger to communicate with city hall are many. For instance sending a picture, video or voice message. And by adding the location information of the citizens you immediately know where to go to solve the problem. This creates a powerful tool for complaints and Notification regarding the public areas.
Is Facebook Messenger safe?
The main question is of course whether communicating with citizens through Facebook Messenger is safe. Where is the data being stored? and is it safe there?
Within Facebook Messenger it is possible to send “safe” or encrypted messages. Also, called End-to-end encryption. This means that the whole conversation is encrypted. It can not be read by other parties, but only by the two people that are chatting with each other. Even Facebook can not access the conversation (3).
3 tips to use Facebook Messenger successfully at city hall
The communication channel Facebook Messenger is fast and direct, people expect quick response. A good guideline is within 5 minutes. Facebook also shows how quickly you respond to messenger chats. As a page you can even deserve a special badge that indicates how responsive you are to messaging via the Facebook page. For citizens, this is an additional trigger to contact you, because they know they’ll get the answer and how quick.
Use a dashboard
Let your Messenger chats enter through a dashboard where you also handle all other (chat) communication channels. This is especially useful when the volumes of Messenger chats go up and it is no longer efficient to answer the messages in the Facebook business account. When all service channels (besides Messenger also chat, e-mail, phone) are be blended in the dashboard, it provides efficiency for the call center employees and clearly adds value for citizens.
Tell about the possibilities
Let your citizens know what the possibilities with Facebook Messenger are. What are the advantages over phone or e-mail and hand them ideas. This way they will use Messenger sooner to contact the municipality. An example is that citizens can send a photo or video with their message to clarify their question or problem. Also, a geo location data can be sent. This way your municipal services immediately knows where to go to solve the problem.
Besides all the great features of Facebook Messenger, there are some points to consider:
- Facebook Messenger is a tool of Facebook. You are dependent on their services. If they decide to stop or make drastic changes to the concept, you have no influence on this.
- Currently Facebook Messenger is free, but in the future they can decide to start charging money.
- People want to talk to people, not brands or logos. Facebook is currently focusing on the combined use of Messenger with a chatbot (4). In the case of a service such as a municipality, we see a justifiable reluctance when it comes to the use of chat bots. Several tests with a chatbot show that the chatbot knows to few answers and the learning curve is too slow. This means that customer satisfaction of citizens will descend and even accomplish frustration and therefore your NPS will drop.
Do you see the benefits of the business use of Facebook Messenger for your municipality? Please contact us. Call Han Beukers +31 88 5483200 chatting is also possible on Facebook Messenger or via website. Send an e-mail is also an option. Please send it to email@example.com.