Facebook to Give Small Businesses Greater Customer Service Tools With New Acquisition

Customer service remains a critical touchpoint of retail, but it’s increasingly taking place through digital tools. As retailers look to invest in their customer support solutions, Facebook is helping its small business users do the same. This week, the social platform announced the acquisition of customer relationship management platform Kustomer.

The growth of e-commerce has made having an online presence nonnegotiable for brands and retailers of all sizes. But operating a digital channel requires building out new support functions that can also take place online. For smaller businesses who may not be able to invest in a comprehensive solution, customer support  frequently means manually responding to customer queries through email, phone calls – and social messaging.

“As businesses adjust to an evolving digital environment, they’re seeking solutions that place people at the center, especially when it comes to communication,” said a statement from Facebook. “Any business knows that when the phone rings, they need to answer it. Increasingly, texts and messages have become just as important as that phone call — and businesses need to adapt.”

Facebook has expanded its small business offering in 2020, with the launch of Facebook Shops. This enables businesses on the platform to establish digital storefronts that can support direct purchasing. Now, with Facebook’s acquisition of Kustomer, these businesses will also be able to automate simple customer service queries and focus on quality engagements.

As an omnichannel CRM solution, Kustomer provides a centralised space in which brands can respond to issues from multiple channels. By providing access to all available consumer data and purchase history, Kustomer enables sales associates to provide better, fast service, regardless of which channel they purchased through.

Screenshots of Facebook's new Facebook Shops feature for e-commerce
Facebook Shops provide online storefronts for businesses on web and smartphone app.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Facebook

The solution will be integrated through Whatsapp and Messenger, both properties of Facebook. Customers who want to speak directly with customer service can contact brand representatives through these chat tools; they will immediately receive either an automated response to common questions, or a personal response from a staff member. This allows for real-time problem resolution, which is critical for retail success in a competitive landscape.

“Kustomer is one of many solutions in this arena, and we’ll continue to support the numerous options that businesses have to integrate their CRM platform of choice with our messaging services,” said the Facebook statement. “We want businesses of all sizes and across all industries to discover the value of messaging — and having a vibrant partner ecosystem is critical in providing our customers with choices.”

Facebook reports the 175 million people contact businesses through Whatsapp every day. With e-commerce sales expected to continue to rise in 2021, this acquisition demonstrates an investment in greater online service for small businesses – who will need digital revenue to remain competitive.

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