How to Respect Your Customers (And Facebook’s Chat Policies)

Facebook Messenger is one of the best chat channels in your arsenal. After all, there are 1.2 billion people actively using Messenger — and that number is rapidly increasing.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of bot-building platforms out there that not only enable but actively empower brands to build and deploy chatbots that don’t comply with Facebook’s rules. These bots not only disrespect Facebook, they also disrespect Messenger users.

Facebook is, after all, a fundamentally customer-oriented business; their mission is to connect people and provide them with an excellent user experience. The reason Facebook enacted a chatbot policy in the first place was to shield users from bot spam, thus allowing people to focus on the friends and brands they really wanted to hear from.

So how can brands ensure their chatbot respects Facebook’s policies—and, in turn, respects their customers?

(1) Obey the 24+1 rule.

Facebook’s 24+1 rule is simple: standard Messenger bots can only respond to users who initiate conversations. They have a 24-hour window to respond, and can respond once more outside that window for reengagement. Each time the person responds, the 24+1 clock resets. The 24+1 rule is, quite simply, Facebook’s way to mitigate bot spam and stop brands from sending out unwanted Messenger blasts. It’s also a best practice for any brand employing a chatbot. Spam doesn’t help you engage users; instead, it alienates people and makes your brand look disreputable and rude.

There are some chat platforms, however, who disregard the 24+1 rule and spam Messenger users outside the 24+1 window, or they message users who didn’t opt into a chat. This not only disrespects Facebook and the customer, it also harms your brand. Furthermore, it harms all the reputable, rule-following chat platforms. Unwanted Messenger spam gives chat a bad name, and it gives Facebook ammunition to impose more rules. Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Instead, only send messages inside the 24+1 window. It’s an easy way to show respect for your customers, Messenger users at large, and Facebook itself.

Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Only send messages inside the 24+1 window.

(2) Give people the chance to opt out…and respect it.

Just because someone opted into a chat conversation doesn’t mean they want that conversation to continue eternally. That’s why you should offer people the choice to opt out of your conversation with a clearly marked button. (Facebook also allows people to block you or delete your conversation.)

But it’s not enough just to let people disengage from your chat. You also need to respect the wishes of those who opted out. That means ensuring you stop sending people messages when they opt out. You need to set up your platform to identify those users who’ve opted out and exclude them from future messages. Even if you do so errantly, messaging people who’ve opted out makes you look at best not careful, and at worst disrespectful.

(3) Don’t send too many messages.

No one likes to be messaged too often — especially not prospects and customers who are still getting to know your brand. Spamming those new customers is a surefire way to ensure they block you. Unfortunately, some chat platforms are messaging people 4+ times a day. That’s an awful user experience, one certain to piss off both prospective buyers and your most loyal customers. 73% of people who have a bad experience with a chatbot won’t use it again, which means it behooves you to ensure your user experience is a great one.

(4) Choose the best Chat Marketing partner.

We’ve said it before and we’ve said it again: choosing the right Chat Marketing partner is the best way to make sure your brand is trusting your most valuable assets — your customers and their data — to a partner you can trust.

The right Chat Marketing partner will be aware of all of Facebook’s updates and policies, and will help you build a strategy that avoids spamming people. They’ll guide you to deploy your chatbot in a way that won’t piss your customers, or Facebook, off. Ultimately, with the right chatbot partner, you will attract customers, engage them, and keep them engaged over their lifecycle as a customer.

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