Facebook’s Instant Replies is a new function that allows Page admins to set up an automatic response. Admins can now create a message comprised of up to 250 characters, that will automatically be sent to anybody who messages the Page during business hours.
It works in the exact same way as Away Messages but Instant Replies can be used during your hours of operation e.g. if you’re in meetings or if you’re busy writing your latest appeal.
Instant replies can be used in a number of ways: to provide the user with additional info about your business; to thank them for contacting you and reassure them that a human bean will be in touch shortly; or, it could also be used to supply your charity’s helpline telephone number.
It’s a small but significant example of Facebook demonstrating that they understand the value of providing Page admins with the best tools.
An automatic reply on Facebook is an easy win for businesses because it makes you look professional and demonstrates that customer interaction is important to you. And, it’s an instant win for Facebook, because it only deepens our reliance upon their system.
Key Benefits of Instant Replies:
- A short, friendly response acknowledges receipt of communication
- It’s an opportunity to greet the customer/supporter
- A well written reply can help manage customer expectations and hopefully enhance their overall experience
- Admins will spend less time monitoring a page and more time responding in detail
The potential risk from using Instant Replies – or being over reliant on them – is that unless written with a customer/supporter in mind, you’ll lose some aspects of personalisation. However, Facebook – to a degree – has also addressed that, giving you the option to include the users first and last name, and even a URL.
But, the success of Instant Replies largely depends on the frequency of use and the type of communication that you set up.
And remember, an instant reply is not sent when you’re business is closed or status is set to away – to do this you need to enable Away Messages. Also, if you have set your own response time, or state that you will respond within 24 hours – make sure you don’t forget to reply!
Savvy Page admins everywhere should warmly embrace Instant Replies; these aren’t a replacement for replying to all messages, but they are an excellent measure to help you juggle your digital duties.
So, how do I turn on Instant Replies?
- Click Settings at the top of your Page
- Click Messaging in the left column
- Below Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page, click to select Yes
- To change your instant reply message, click Change, update the message and click Save
Instant Replies are not sent when your Page’s messaging status is set to Away and are not included in your Page’s response rate or time.