In Time of Social Media Crisis – How Do You Respond?

As part of people’s digital identity, we join communities and groups that are relevant to us and to our interests. In particular when it triggers our feelings – love, aggression or maybe compassion. It’s easier than ever to share your feelings with your friends. This blog post is about how people can achieve social change with help of social communities, and how your company chooses to act in a time of crises when all eyes are drawn at them.

Nestlé – A worst case senario

We all know how fast scandals are traveling. When Greenpeace revealed that Nestlé used palm oil in some of their products, bought from companies destroying Indonesian rainforest, there were many people who engaged themselves in the campaign and criticized the company on their Facebook Page.

Instead of meeting people with respect and understanding, Nestlé did a terrible mistake when answering people with sarcastic, irritable and rude messages. They made things get even worse. The news about Nestlé’s deforestation was then spread, of course, even faster and wider. To make a long story short – Nestlé handled things very wrong when they didn’t realize how important every customer’s opinion is and that they actually are communicators on the worlds largest social network. Their page is still facing hard criticism.

The new target – Our greatest social network

Now Greenpeace is gathering people’s attention once again to a great company for the sake of social change; namely Facebook itself. Greenpeace claims that Facebook’s massive data centre in Oregon, U.S., running the massive daily traffic to the site, is provided by a huge amount of electricity from polluting coal power. Greenpeace are now asking people to join the Facebook: Unfriend Coal campaign to put pressure on Facebook to switch to 100% renewable energy,

The response

So how does Facebook handle this? On the Greenpeace blog, a Facebook representative has replied to the claims and explained the situation. So far, Facebook has seemed to handle the situation with care and respect. Here you can see one of Greenpeace’s ‘Likers’ that has posted a reply that he got from Facebook after sending the criticism of their use of coal power. If you know anything more about this case or if you have seen how Facebook has acted, please let us know.

Time will tell how the environmental process will end up. Maybe Greenpeace has started rolling the boll of social change this time as well. When companies are under great public pressure – their survival can be on hold (Facebook’s extinction seems faaar away though). More importantly – social media let people demand more from companies, which can result into great changes in the world. Greenpeace shares their message with help from the video below and their Facebook page. The stats of their video look pretty good so far with nearly 15,383 shares in five days.

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.