"I HATE that you contacted me through my Facebook."
"Delete ALL of my info and never contact me again."
These were just some of the hateful messages from my customers that came pouring into my Facebook Messenger App on a daily basis.
In the few months that I had Facebook Messenger connected to my Shopify website, The Bali Market, I had grown to cringe anytime I heard the tell-tale Messenger "ding". I dreaded getting a FB Message. Not because I didn't want to interact with my customers. It was because more often than not, the message was angry.
To be clear, these messages were not from angry people. They were from my customers. And I love my customers. My customers are polite, respectful, gracious and thoughtful with their words.
I thought: "What is happening here?"
My otherwise polite customers had become angry. Angry with me. I had contacted them through Facebook Messenger, and they felt like I was encroaching on their personal space.
No other platform did this to them. My customers and I comment freely back and forth on Instagram. They'll open and read my emails and will reply to the ones that really moved them or inspired them.
There was something about Facebook Messenger that seemed to cross the line for them.
Is it too new? Maybe. FB Messenger opened up its platform to businesses back in 2015. It seemed to take off slowly as companies were learning the best practices for contacting their customers via FB Messenger. But social media and marketing experts were pushing this as the best new way to explode sales. Every digital marketer was saying I had to be on Facebook Messenger. "It's the wild west! Get on the wagon before it's too late!"
It didn't feel right to me, but for some reason I jumped on that bandwagon and set off toward the west.
Maybe this is all my fault. To be honest, I never fully understood how to best use Facebook Messenger as a marketing tool. I implemented a few strategies and thought I was doing the right thing, but maybe I missed the mark.
Or maybe it wasn't just me. Maybe it was just too soon.
Maybe customers haven’t been numbed yet to the "normalcy" of this platform. They haven’t yet accepted this as an acceptable form of business/customer relationship.
But will they? Or should they?
It's like the frog in warm water. Over time we start to accept things as ok, because it happens slowly we don't realize we're in hot water till it's too late.
Then, the whole FB personal info leak started spreading in the news. Ok, ok, we all know FB uses our personal info (how else can they be profitable?? We're their product!). But, with the world fixated on the protection of their personal info, it felt like the right time to disconnect.
The day I disconnected my Shopify site from FB Messenger I felt relief. I knew it was the right move.
So, where is the line of acceptable communication and interuption?
For my customers, FB Messenger was the line. They expected more from me by expecting less. They wanted less invasive communication. Less noise.
I pushed them.
I was using a line of communication that felt uncomfortable and icky to them.
I could have blamed them, thinking things like “ugh, people are so rude." I could have blamed Facebook, “Facebook advertising doesn’t work”. But I listened.
I was grateful they told me how they felt, and I'm so glad I listened. Otherwise I'd still be wasting my time using a tool that didn't help grow my business.
Do you use Facebook Messenger on your Shopify store? Share your experience in the comments.