Facebook Update Puts More Pressure On Brands

02/11/2015

Facebook have recently announced an update to Pages on mobile devices with the intent of empowering businesses with a better mobile presence, but brands beware – this may come at a cost. With increased social customer service costs as Facebook points out in the update, customers “expect information to be available at their fingertips and that people and businesses will reply to their messages as soon as possible.”* However, working with our clients, we know this is a point of contention for their CRM strategies.

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With the update, consumers will be given even more ways to contact a brand should they be upset or disgruntled. For example, the latest update will allow them to contact brands based on their services or product (as per below image) as opposed to just generally messaging them.** This furthers the sense of immediacy that consumers have come to expect from social channels, but whilst it’s a private message, there’s nothing stopping a user from taking a screenshot of the new functionality and posting it to the page, complaining about response times, the equivalent of being ignored by floor staff.

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Gone are the days when a business could rely on complaints coming in via email, phone, or post, in such a way they could be dealt with privately without the pressure of a public audience. The consumer now has a more powerful voice, particularly the disgruntled ones and brands must constantly monitor their social channels, less they risk a negative post going unanswered, gaining traction and generating unwanted attention.

Yet from a consumer perspective, I don’t necessarily think this is such a bad thing – more power to the consumer means we’re able to better hold brands accountable for poor service.

The flip side of that however, is that it can quickly become open season on brands.  Even brands with the best intentions can struggle to cope with the influx of feedback, rendering their page – and their brand – vulnerable too.

In my capacity as a social community manager, I regularly see unsubstantiated or inflammatory feedback left on a brand’s page, with the sole purpose of causing trouble or even securing free product.

It begs the question, has all this newfound power gone to consumers’ heads? Are the odds simply stacked too heavily in their favour?

If so, this latest update will only lengthen those odds. 

References:

*https://www.facebook.com/business/news/pages-updates

**http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/08/facebook-storefronts/ 

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