Facebook Messenger hits 40M business users, but won't replace Slack anytime soon

Businesses are increasingly using Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers, but the company is far from dominating the internal communications market.

Video: How developers are building Facebook Messenger bots to make online shopping a lot smarter

More than 40 million businesses actively use Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers, the company announced at its F8 conference in San Jose, California on Tuesday. A series of new tools announced at the show aim to help businesses connect with customers by generating leads, driving in-store traffic, and providing customer support, our sister site ZDNet reported.

Facebook's efforts to turn Messenger into a business platform appear to be paying off: Today, 20 billion messages are exchanged between businesses and customers each month, an increase from 8 billion last year. Nearly 300,000 developers build on the Messenger platform, up from 200,000 last year, Facebook said at F8.

SEE: 10 ways to communicate more effectively with customers and co-workers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Companies are using Messenger externally for connecting with customers. However, the popularity of the app could lead to speculation of whether the company would even license it and sell it to companies for internal communications, merging it with Facebook's internal collaboration platform, Workplace by Facebook.

Messenger is the second most popular iOS app of all time, behind Facebook itself, ZDNet reported. More than 1.3 billion people use Messenger monthly, the company said at the conference. Facebook also announced a desktop version of the Messenger app for both Windows and MacOS, launching globally later this year. Facebook has also moved to make the Messenger platform more secure, recently adding end-to-end encryption.

Customer support app options

Gartner predicted that by this year, requests for customer support through consumer mobile messaging apps would exceed such requests through traditional social media. Mobile apps are also expected to have the largest impact on business success by 2020, Gartner reported. The massive year-over-year growth of Facebook Messenger for this purpose appears to be a sign that the trend will continue.

If your business is looking for a customer support or communication app, options like Salesforce, Desk, Zoho, and Zendesk may help organize feedback, tickets, and general CRM issues.

SEE: Microsoft Teams: The right collaboration platform for your organization? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If your company is looking for an internal system, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Slack continue to dominate the enterprise collaboration tools space in terms of business chat platforms.

For more information, check out Comparison chart: Enterprise collaboration tools on Tech Pro Research.

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Image: Facebook