If your business has a presence on Facebook or Instagram, it’ll be no surprise to you that customer service by way of social media is the new normal. In fact, you may have even used your own social media direct messages to ask customer service questions. 59% of Facebook users and 34% of Instagram users report using these platforms to interact with brands, showing how they’ve become essential connection points between businesses and their consumers — and that trend only stands to grow with Facebook’s new acquisition.
Facebook recently announced that it intends to purchase Kustomer, a customer service and chatbot platform with an estimated worth of $1 billion. The move comes on the heels of a year in which customer expectations for brands have risen dramatically. In fact, 75% of Facebook users expect a quick response to private messages they send to brands.
What is Kustomer?
Kustomer positions itself as “not a ticketing system,” but a CRM that brings omnichannel customer service concerns to one convenient place. Its current offerings include Kustomer IQ, an AI that parses messages to provide automated responses to frequently asked questions. It also gathers additional information where necessary to provide context to customer service representatives before they interact with the customer.
Kustomer IQ receives high marks from the platform’s users, including consignment brand thredUP:
“Kustomer IQ has had a tremendous impact on my team’s efficiency. Machine learning instantly identifies the purpose of every inbound conversation, then intelligently routes each customer to a specific team based on their contact reason, such as orders, returns, or clean out. Rather than spend time manually routing conversations, my team can focus on delivering personalized service and resolving issues quickly to decrease customer effort.” — Emily Marcogliese, Head of Customer Support, thredUP
What’s Facebook’s Plan for Kustomer?
The social media giant shared a portion of its plans for Kustomer in its official acquisition announcement, saying it plans to put resourcing behind the platform to “scale its business, improve and innovate its product offering, and delight its customers.”
It’s still unclear what Facebook’s big-picture plan is for integrating Kustomer with its current platform, though. They made a point of mentioning that existing CRM integrations weren’t going away, saying, “we’ll continue to support the numerous options that businesses have to integrate their CRM platform of choice with our messaging services. 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.”
Because the partnership does not appear to be edging out existing CRM integrations, we suspect Facebook plans to monetize Kustomer. It will likely be positioned as a top-quality, paid option for efficient and effective customer service management through Facebook business. Growing Kustomer’s popularity could ultimately create a path for it to become a formidable opponent to CRM giants like Salesforce, HubSpot and MailChimp.
We already knew consumers expect to receive speedy customer service via social media — but it’s clear that this acquisition is going to up the ante. It’s time for brands big and small to put thought behind their social media customer service strategy.
Also, keep an eye out for new offerings and advancements from a number of CRMs in the coming year — they’re sure to be feeling the pressure as Facebook puts its support behind Kustomer.