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There is a huge opportunity on Facebook for businesses to listen to their consumers and demonstrate the importance of customer input. What about the individuals that aren’t as out spoken, or perhaps those who don’t want all 10,000 fans to read about their experience with the organization?  These individuals deserve a chance to be heard without being obligated to share their thoughts for all to see. Also, sometimes businesses may take more care and consideration into negative experiences when expressed calmly and privately.

Well, Facebook is offering the option to privately message select business users in Asia and will hopefully be expanding globally this year.   The consumer or fan of the page can choose to publicly make a statement on the business page wall, or send a private message. The wall public messages can still be deleted by the business page administrators, but your private messages cannot be made public.

How could this new function benefit business page users?

  • Customer Service Outlet. Maintained often and correctly this tool could really impact consumers’ view on that company’s  customer service. Assuming consumers don’t use it for silly follow ups on online orders, or common questions you can access using a search engine; the business page administrators should be able to at least read what consumers want to say and evaluate moving forward with a follow up.   And, administrators, be sure to follow up.  No follow up could be seen as being ignored, which could turn into an ignored paying customer or loss of future customer.
  • Documentation. How often do you hear, “This call may be monitored for quality and training purposes”? Now you have the opportunity to go back and see what was said and how it was handled. Observing how things were addressed  could assist you in improvement for the future. Plus, you will have a direct link to the consumer that messaged you to follow up or possibly use as a referral at a later date.
  • Testimonial Access.  The consumer will often be happy that you have addressed their issue, listened to them, or evaluated their concern and they may be willing to offer a positive statement about the situation publicly on your business page.
  • Referrals. Imagine the opportunity you could have if every individual you personally followed up with told someone about their experience, and perhaps referred your business. Every message extends your reach, but even 4 referrals a year just from following up on Facebook. Sounds like something to at least try!

There care a variety of reasons why individuals would prefer a private message over a public announcement of their experience, regardless administrators can really impact consumer opinion by utilizing this tool when it’s introduced in the U.S.  Positive or negative, take all feedback into consideration because it’s valuable to growing your business.  An increasing number of businesses are interacting with their consumers on Facebook, including, so be sure to LIKE us!