Rogers Communications Inc. on Friday made it possible for clients to access its customer service representatives through Facebook’s Messenger service, becoming the first of Canada’s telecoms to move customer service functions directly into the social media platform.
“Over 16 million Canadians are on Facebook every day so we wanted to go where our customers are,” said Guy Laurence, CEO of Rogers (which owns Canadian Business), in a release. “We met with the Facebook team earlier this year, and immediately began development of this service for our customers.”
Instead of sending an email, filling out a message on a web site or dialing a toll-free number, wireless, cable and Internet customers can just go to Rogers’s Facebook page and click on the message icon to start a chat session with a company. Representatives staff the Facebook lines from 7 a.m. to midnight eastern time. The company is in the midst of a major reorganization aimed at improving its customer service and courting the growing millennial consumer demographic; shifting account queries to Facebook makes sense on both counts.
“Telecommunication companies receive a high volume of questions on Facebook,” said Jordan Banks, managing director, Facebook Canada, making it a logical place to offer more responsive customer service. “Self-serve is the future.”
Tod Maffin, a Vancouver consultant and speaker specializing in social media, sees the move as a small step in the evolution of how companies interact with their customers. “People have been exchanging messages with brands on Facebook for years,” he said—including over the web, before the Messenger app was introduced. “Large brands usually use third-party tools like Sprout Social and Sprinklr to review and reply to incoming messages from customers on Facebook.”
“Unless Rogers has been actually ignoring incoming Facebook messages in the past—which I can’t imagine they were—this is not anything new.”