Retailers with their own pages on Facebook will have more options in how they respond to a customer’s question or complaint.

Plenty of consumers already turn to Facebook to voice customer service issues or raise questions with retailers and other businesses. But the experience has often been lacking.

For instance, retailers could only respond to consumers in the same way the Facebook user reached out to the company, whether through a comment or a private message. But Facebook today rolled out several new communication tools for retailers and other businesses with pages, including letting page operators respond to shoppers’ public posts in a private message. Other tools include a new ad format that brands can use to encourage shoppers to send a message and an indication that shows which pages are the most responsive.

The moves aim to bolster Facebook’s Messenger chat application, which is part of the social network’s desktop site and exists as a standalone mobile app. And they build on the social network’s plans, announced at its F8 conference in April, to enable brands to use its messaging platform for post-sale interactions with shoppers.

“There’s a reason many people prefer to communicate with friends and family through private messaging: it’s fast and convenient,” Facebook writes in a blog post. “And increasingly people want to communicate with businesses in the same efficient way.”

Facebook wants to entice retailers and other businesses to use its tools to communicate with shoppers by identifying pages that respond to 90% of messages and have a median response time of less than 5 minutes with a “Very responsive to messages” badge on their pages. Responsiveness ratings are dynamic; Facebook calculates them based on data from the past week. The social network will show all page administrators their response rate and median response time in Facebook’s Page Insights page but, for now, only the best-performing pages will have the public badge. 


Facebook also rolled out a Send Message call-to-action button that brands can use in ads that appear in the news feed. When a shopper clicks the button, he can contact the business directly from the ad.