Social Enterprise

Zuckerberg at F8: Messenger Business will change customer service and how we interact with businesses

At Facebook's F8 event in San Francisco, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said calling businesses "doesn't feel like the future." So he unveiled Messenger Business.

Image: Erin Carson/TechRepublic

Good news for people who hate dealing with businesses — Facebook wants to streamline the online purchase process, including customer service, and put it all in users' Messenger inboxes.

"I don't know anyone who likes calling businesses. It's not fast or convenient, and it definitely doesn't feel like the future," said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg the during the opening keynote of Facebook's F8 developer conference at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, March 25.

Zuckerberg announced a new aspect of Facebook Messenger — Messenger Business.

The premise is this: When consumers make a purchase online, it's in efficient. It's a flood of emails including purchase confirmation and shipping info, and they're all on separate threads generated from different tasks. Clicking on any of those emails directs to a website — it's a situation Facebook's VP of messaging product David Marcus called "inconvenient on desktop" and "barely usable" on mobile.

With Messenger Business, all information related to the purchase comes in on one thread, along side users' other messages. Within that thread, users can change an order, track the package, receive a receipt, or even just ask if that recently-purchased shirt comes in black, Marcus said.

As part of the F8 opening keynote, Zuckerberg also announced Messenger Platform, which will let apps makers send content through Messenger.

It also includes integration with more than 40 apps like JibJab, Dubsmash, and others that allow for the inclusion for various types of rich content like gifs, video, animations, and more, into the Messenger app.

The Messenger app split off from the core Facebook app in 2014 and currently has more than 600 million monthly users.

The announcement also comes on the heels of the recent news that users will be able to send money to each other through the app, as well as other additions integrations like stickers, video, voice calling, and locations, signaling the increasing importance of Messenger within Facebook's family of apps.

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About Erin Carson

Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.

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