Does Facebook’s New Feature Negatively Impact Personalization?

When Technology and Common Sense Don’t Match

I have been asked recently to provide my opinion on the biggest customer service challenges affecting organizations today. My number one answer is that consumers want to do business with companies that provide personalized service delivery.  How can companies combine technology with the human-to human touch to create a winning combination?

Let’s use Facebook as an example.  Facebook is now testing a messaging feature for Pages that enables businesses to create, save and send canned responses to frequently asked customer service questions and feedback. The new feature is called, “Saved Replies.” The claim is that the new tool can be a big time saver, especially for businesses that receive a large number of questions from customers on Facebook. Companies are given sample responses that they can use or customize. They can also create new replies and save them for later use. For companies with varied questions, there’s also a way to search for answers.

I am concerned. While large companies have been using scripted responses for years, smaller organizations have not been able to afford the technology to supply the templates.  I’m not suggesting that employing technology to aid in developing quick replies might be helpful. However, an advantage that small companies have is their size and the ability to deliver a customized experience. Facebook is misleading the neighborhood store or unique boutique by encouraging them to reply to a question on their page with a canned response.

We know from our research that consumers are demanding more customized responses.  There will be frustration if an answer to a question not only sounds scripted but possibly is totally off the mark.  Are customers supposed to ask again?  Or, will they give up and seek solutions at a competitor?

Several articles have been written about this new feature and some have stated that it’s a great time saver for start-ups too. That really frightens me. Start-ups will never become sustainable businesses unless their early adopters are completely satisfied not only with product or service offerings, but feel the company truly values and appreciates them. Canned responses are dangerous and will not make the customer feel warm and cozy. Taking extra time to personalize communication is important.

Customers are upset when their questions are not answered completely.  Customers also appreciate when they are provided with additional useful information, and their underlying emotions are heard.  Tailoring messages according to a customer’s buying preference are a big plus. Customers are any company’s biggest asset. Use every question as an opportunity to engage the consumer. It’s definitely worth it.

What’s your opinion of scripted responses?

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