Instagram Customer Service Chats: What you need to know

Since acquiring Instagram in 2012, Facebook has been working hard to integrate more of its services between the two platforms. In October 2020, continuing this trend, the company announced it had added messenger Application Programming Interface (API) support to Instagram for a select number of brands.

If you’re an avid Instagram user, you may be aware that up until now many customers ask brands questions about their orders in the comments under their posts. However, with this tool, some companies will now be able to manage their customer communications on Instagram on a scale they’ve never been able to before.

The main difference with will be the way brands are able to handle messages from various aspects of Instagram, such as Shops and Stories, which will now happen all in one place. They’ll also be able to integrate Instagram into their customer relationship management systems. This means, for instance, brands will now be able to see a customer’s order history alongside messages from them. It will also allow the brand to see if you are a loyalty member of theirs, so that they can take this into account when they respond to you.

Facebook’s reasoning behind adding the new feature is to ‘enable businesses to integrate Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows; helping to drive more meaningful conversations, increase customer satisfaction and grow sales.’ Instagram also wants to push shopping as a core activity on the platform, having launched Instagram shops and visual changes to the app to highlight shopping features earlier in 2020.

While, brands have been able to respond to customers on Messenger since 2016 Facebook now claims that ‘over the last year, total daily conversations between people and businesses on Messenger and Instagram grew over 40 percent.’ With this being the case, there is a demand for integrating the two platforms by businesses and customers alike.

In addition, this API is now allowing brands to add automation to Instagram Direct Messages (DMs). This will allow brands to respond immediately to common inquiries. So, for example, if you type in a question like ‘how long will it take to receive my order?’ an automatic response from a chatbot will reply to you. This will be the case until the chatbot cannot answer your question, at which point a live customer service representative will pick up the conversation. On the other side of the platform, live agents can use this API to assign conversations amongst team members, manually or automatically, boosting higher customer satisfaction and reducing support response times.

An alpha test with partner Clarabridge on this feature indicated that client brands improved response rates on Instagram by up to 55% by managing DMs through its platform.

During its beta phase, only a limited number of developer partners and businesses can use this API. These include, Adidas, Amaro, Glossier, H&M, MagazineLuiza, Michael Kors, Nars, Sephora and TechStyle Fashion Group. However, if the brands find that the platform is successful, Facebook will likely roll the feature out more widely.

Do you think Instagram’s Chat service is a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.

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