3 minutes reading time (537 words)

Do I need the last word in every Facebook conversation?


Be responsive with your customers 

This is a question I've heard several times recently, which is why I'm addressing it. Actually, the question is usually phrased as: "How do I have the last word in a private message conversation on Facebook?" And it's not from people who want to have the final say in an argument.

The short answer is: You don't need to have the final word. Facebook measures your responsiveness to the first message, not to each of your replies within a conversation.

So you don't need to worry about having the last word. Although Facebook will send you an email alert if you haven't replied to a comment - even if all the customer says is 'thank you' and the conversation is over.

This question usually comes from businesses wanting to protect the 'response indicator' on their Facebook Page. That is, the indicator that says: 'Typically replies within…' Businesses want their customers to have a realistic expectation of how long they will take to reply. And some customers want to be confident of getting a quick reply.

How does the response indicator work? 

Facebook awards you the 'very responsive to messages' indicator if you reply to 90% of messages within 15 minutes of them coming in.

Below 'very responsive' are several grades of indicator, with the lowest being 'Typically replies with a day'. Although, the absence of an indicator is itself a clue that the Page administrator often takes more than a day to respond - if it allows private messages at all. You can turn messaging off in Settings - General - Messages.

Does the response indicator include auto replies?

No, auto replies are not counted by the response indicator. You can set various types of automated reply using the Facebook Response Assistant tools. These are found under the Messaging options in Page Settings.

Using the Response Assistant allows you to set expectations with people who message your Page, by giving them an indication of how long you might take to reply, or alerting them to other ways of getting in touch that could give them a quicker answer, such as by phoning.

Expect to see more features added to the Response Assistant in the coming months. Automation is becoming more prevalent in online communications, helping people get answers to commonly asked questions without needing the interaction of another human being.

Am I penalised if I can't get to my messages because I'm working?

It's okay for businesses with an admin team that keeps an eye on Facebook messages all day, but what about sole traders who can't afford to respond to every notification on the spot?

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You can tell Facebook when you're usually available to take messages, again using the Response Assistant. There's an option titled: Stay responsive when you can't get to your computer or phone.

You may also have the option to set your messaging status as 'Away'. If available, the option is on the bottom left corner of your Page's Inbox. However, this option doesn't seem to be available on all Pages - I manage several and it's missing from most. I think it's an older feature now being replaced by the Response Assistant.

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