Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Sprint taps Facebook Messenger as customer service goes social

Sprint is the premier telecommunications brand leveraging Facebook Messenger as a new social care channel with which it can respond to inquiries and provide real-time chat solutions to customers.

Sprint has teamed up with Conversocial to implement the new strategy, highlighting the rising amount of marketers seeking to take their customer service to social media. Now, time-strapped consumers will be able to ask questions and resolve communication issues by instant messaging with the company via Facebook's platform, instead of spending hours tied to a phone if placed on hold.

?Mobile is a channel of choice for the consumer and being a telecommunications brand like Sprint, it's important to lead the industry in the U.S. to show that our customer service philosophy means adopting channels that our customers are using, to react and engage with them in their customer service moments of their choosing,? said Josh March, co-founder and CEO of Conversocial, New York.

Messenger?s unstoppable rise
According to recent Nielsen research, Messenger was the fastest-growing mobile application of the year, thanks to Facebook?s decision to separate the chat service from the rest of its social offerings. Messenger experienced a 40 percent uptick in growth from 2014 to 2015, suggesting it may be the ideal messaging app for customer service employees to use.

Sprint will now be able to manage its customer service questions by manning its Facebook Messenger account with agents. The company identified a large portion of its audience that prefers to communicate via social media regarding service-related concerns.

Consequently, consumers can enjoy real-time chats with Sprint agents without needing to call a designated customer service number and potentially be placed on hold for large amounts of time.

Sprint?s integration with Messenger reportedly took little training, giving the company more time to bolster long-lasting customer relationships. The telecommunications firm is likely to enjoy an increase in consumer satisfaction, especially as it is the first in its sector to roll out this capability.

Conversocial also understands that more and more conversations are taking place on mobile channels these days, a trend that is beginning to affect the business world as well. It is no longer satisfactory for individuals to communicate with friends and family only via social media; they want the same options for speaking to their favorite brands.

?Consumers are using the channel to speak to their friends and family and we're seeing the increase in conversations for brands such as Sprint who've recently adopted the channel,? Mr. March said. ?The growth in these conversations continues to grow daily.?

Conversocial believes Facebook?s Businesses on Messenger tool is set to be a growing channel, as it enables users to search for Sprint and engage in real-time chats with employees.

Customer-first mindset
This omnichannel approach to fielding customer service questions stems from a new type of mindset that brands should be employing more frequently. Consumers do not want to be doing research on one platform, such as mobile, and then told to call or email the company if they have a concern.

Rather, an instant communication option should be widely available on all mobile and desktop channels.

Customers will also be able to save significant amounts of time by communicating with marketers via Messenger, which will also win brownie points for participating companies. Users can easily type their question and keep their smartphone nearby while they complete other tasks during the response period.

Sprint is not the only brand to engage in this strategy.

A growing number of brands are teaming up with Facebook Messenger after realizing its potential as a communication channel for offering customer service and building personal relationships with mobile users, with Hyatt leading the hospitality industry (see story).

Conversocial has also worked with Barclaycard, Travelex, Google and ConEdison.

?Customers are already social-first, contacting brands on a daily basis through their social channels using their phones on the move or for their in-the-moment customer queries,? Mr. March said. ?Consumers want a resolution to their problem, in real time rather than making a public statement and waiting for a brand to respond.

?Messenger allows the brands to have a one-on-one conversation with their customer in a channel of the consumer's choosing.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York