After moving from sunny Southern California to Copenhagen in the fall of 2017, I can honestly say that my use of Facebook Messenger increased dramatically. Messenger provided me with an easy way to stay in touch with my friends and family back home, as well as my new friends here in Copenhagen, many of which are international and don’t necessarily have a local phone number themselves. So, it was a win-win all around. Messenger provided convenience, ease-of-use and helped me stay connected with those that I cared about at all times.

When messaging friends turns into messaging brands

Naturally, as I began to use Messenger more in my personal life to communicate with friends, I also began to use it to contact businesses since I was already spending time in the app. The first brand I began to communicate with on Messenger was KLM. I often fly KLM when returning to the states, so when I was asked where I’d like to receive updates about my upcoming flights, I chose Facebook Messenger. I hadn’t really thought it would make my life that much easier until I started receiving updates on my gate, flight time and boarding pass. I no longer had to spend minutes gazing aimlessly at the TV screens to find information out about my flight while people rolled their suitcases over my feet as they passed by.

Messaging is on the rise… and here to stay

It seems that I am not the only one who has started using Messenger more and more to communicate with friends and brands alike. According to Facebook, people and businesses now exchange over 10 billion messages on Messenger every month! In fact, messaging in general has been on the rise over the past couple years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. A recent report from Statista shows that the number of mobile phone messaging app users worldwide is expected to grow to 2.48 billion users by 2021.

Messaging is on the rise for customer service related inquiries too. According to a recent study conducted by Sentient Decision Science commissioned by Facebook, among those surveyed who message businesses, over 70% expect to message businesses more with customer service questions in the future.

So, why do people love messaging apps so much?

For me, communicating through Messenger simply fits into my daily life better than any other communication channel, regardless of whether I am talking to a friend or a brand. It’s instant, personal, mobile friendly and nearly everyone you want to talk to is there. It offers a level of convenience that simply can’t be beat by any other method of communication. Plus, it’s free!

Take my experience with KLM for example; I got everything I needed sent right to my mobile phone, even when my flight was cancelled. Not only was I notified immediately, but KLM also proactively provided me with the information I needed to rebook my flights and how to get compensated for costs incurred due to the cancellation. If I would have only been notified via email, it might have been a couple hours before I saw the email, which can make a huge difference in one's ability to find the next suitable flight.

Additionally, not having to fumble around a brand’s website to find answers when you’re on the go and might not have access to a computer (or even if you do) makes life much easier, often increasing your likelihood of converting as well.

Since implementing Messenger as a support channel in January 2017, KLM has achieved a 40% increase in customer interactions as well as 15% of online boarding passes being sent via Messenger and a 5-point higher average Net Promoter Score than other channels.

Here’s what KLM’s Director of Social has to say about Messenger:

“Messenger gives our customers the opportunity to talk to us throughout their entire journey. We believe we can strengthen customer relationships by being where our customers are, which is Facebook and Messenger.” - Karlijn Vogel-Meijer

How Messenger can boost your business and customer relationships

There are many elements about Messenger that make it so suitable for brands to use as a channel to communicate, engage and support their customers. So, it comes as no surprise that there are already over 20 million businesses using Messenger to communicate with their customers every day.

Here’s what makes Messenger such an incredibly modern, useful tool for businesses of all kinds:

1. Conversational communication vs. Transactional communication 🔄

For businesses, Messenger offers customers and brands the ability to communicate in a more natural manner, which mimics the way customers communicate with their friends. Previously, most interactions between businesses and customers have been very transactional in nature, meaning once the customers inquiry has been resolved (or not) the conversation ends and is never referenced again. And it seems that people are craving this kind of continuous or ongoing interaction with businesses, especially given that most consumers who message businesses do so across all stages of their journey – from seeking product information to sharing product feedback.

With Messenger, the customer and the brand always have a complete conversation history in one place and customers can respond on their own time with ease. This helps increase customer engagement with the brand and in many cases increases the number of interactions, strengthening the relationship between the two. Plus, you can use all the emojis your heart desires 😍!

2. Quicker, easier, better customer support 💯

Messaging has quickly become one of the most preferred methods of communication with businesses. The majority of people that message businesses feel that messaging provides them with faster response times and better advice compared to reaching out via traditional channels like phone or email. But expectations are also higher on Messenger, so if you decide to implement it - be sure to have processes in place to deliver speedy responses.

Additionally, now you can integrate Facebook Messenger with your customer service software and answer Facebook messages alongside chats, emails and calls. In doing so you can bring the channel back to the customer service team instead of having it live in a silo with the social or marketing team. This makes it easier to provide more consistent, quality support on Messenger and even track customers who reach out on multiple channels.

3. It helps build trust 🤝

According to Facebook’s commissioned study by Sentient Decision Science, of those who message businesses, the majority say being able to message a business helps them feel more confident about the brand and personally connected to the brand. This could be due to the fact that Messenger presents an experience that allows customers to communicate with brands on their own terms, avoiding long wait times on the phone or having to keep chat windows open. The level of convenience it provides helps customers trust brands that use Messenger because it’s so easy for them to reach brands and get the help they need instead of getting deflected or having to jump through so many hoops the customer gives up.

Communicating in this way ultimately leads to a better customer experience and stronger bonds between brands and customers.

4. You can increase your conversion rate 🛒

Over 80% of consumers who message businesses do so to inquire about purchasing a product or service. Being there to answer a customer's question on Messenger can be the difference between them becoming a paying customer or just a visitor. And it's time well spent as brands that engage with customers on Messenger are spending their time on highly qualified leads that are interested enough in making a purchase that they take the time to reach out. Essentially, Messenger makes it easy to help customers along their path to purchase. You can even send direct product links to customers that they can purchase directly in the conversation. Does it get any easier than that 😉?

The channel of the future

Messenger provides brands with the opportunity to engage with customers in a meaningful and personal way. It’s also a platform that 1.3 billion people are already using to communicate, so it’s safe to say it fits into many people’s daily lifestyles. There are several ways you can take advantage of Messenger’s features to elevate your customer experience, but if you don’t provide quick and helpful support when customers reach out, it won’t matter. Make sure you have the right software in place to manage your customer engagement on Messenger with ease. If you do, Messenger can have a positive impact on your customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as your bottom line.