What’s New?

Facebook introduced Customer Chat – a new site plugin that enables brands to integrate Facebook Messenger with their own websites. Businesses can set up Customer Chat to meet their live chat needs including sales and service. Although many live chat plugins exist, none directly link businesses to the more than two billion active monthly users on Facebook… until now.

How does it work?

On sites with Facebook Customer Chat enabled, users will see the Facebook Messenger icon in place of traditional “live chat” or “chat now” buttons (here’s one you probably recognize).

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When a user clicks the Messenger icon, they’ll be able to begin chatting through a pop up that mirrors the look and feel of Facebook’s traditional peer-to-peer Messenger app.

Whether on Facebook Messenger or the business’ site, customers will be able to continue chatting on their phone or tablet through the Messenger app without losing the conversation history. Customer Chat comes packaged with some of Messenger’s marquee features, including built-in NLP, payments, and the ability to display rich media.

See more examples in action:

 

What does it mean for brands?

Over the past year, Facebook has focused on improving business-customer communication (see: Discover tab and increased chatbot functionality). This new Messenger plug-in could be a great tool to streamline customer service communications and processes, notably for businesses that are already actively using Messenger to communicate with customers.

Some brands might not be so eager. First, and perhaps the most obvious, customers will need to be logged into a Facebook account on their browser. In the present stage, the plugin does not allow for analytics tracking or support features that other, more sophisticated chat apps offer. Moreover, it’s unclear if tracking data will be available to see the conversions of fans from Messenger to a business’ site and vice versa.

Currently, the plugin is being tested in closed beta by a select group of partners. Interested businesses can sign up here to be notified when it becomes more widely available.