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What businesses need to know about Instagram conversational customer service

Conversational customer service Instagram
Image credit: wichayada suwanachun /

Conversational customer service continues to define contact centre and customer experience (CX) strategies. Businesses are drawn to the ability to offer responsive self-service, proactive communications, and agent chat on the channels closest to customers.

Investing in conversational customer service matches up well with recent research reporting consumers valued efficiency in solving their problems, the ability to self-serve effortlessly, and expect frictionless interactions – with 75% saying they would return to a company if it resolved their issue promptly.

These are all customer expectations that conversational customer service can help to deliver on while helping to reduce operational costs. The challenge business leaders face is which channels to prioritise first.

There are traditional channels like SMS and live chat and a wave of new digital channels like WhatsApp, Apple Messages for Business, and Google Business Messaging.

However, Instagram is a relatively new and rising channel that is receiving increasing attention from retailers, travel companies, and other businesses with a strong social presence after the release of Messenger API from Meta. The API is enabling them to connect with more than one billion active users each month, with 500 million accounts using the app every day.

Instagram’s Messenger API

The Messenger API of Instagram allows businesses to have scalable conversations with their customers via Direct Messages (DM) and Stories.

Instagram interactions can now be more actionable, with rich messaging turning conversations into positive business outcomes. Users can go see a post and then enter the DM channel to find out more details, gain answers to FAQs, browse products, see store locations, book an appointment, etc. Developers and those responsible for digital conversations can leverage a number of features to enrich and optimize the journey for various use cases:

  • Messaging: enabling businesses to send text, rich media, and more.
  • Quick replies: presenting a set of buttons in-conversation for customers to reply with.
  • Private replies: replying to post comments with a single message.
  • Ice breakers: start a conversation with a business with a list of frequently asked questions.
  • User profile: personalise conversations and create unified experiences.
  • Story mentions: get notified when a customer mentions a business in their story

Provide instant customer service and support

Consumers want to talk to businesses on the channels they use every day, at their own convenience. They don’t want to be told they have to submit an email request and the company will get back to them and many would rather avoid having to call a contact centre and waiting on hold.

When customers reach out on Instagram, businesses can immediately respond to direct messages, providing an always-on experience, and reply to story tags and public comments with private direct messages. By leveraging NLP & AI capabilities, businesses can automate customer interactions for simple customer queries within the channel.

More complex support queries can be seamlessly handed over to customer service agents. All of this happens within the Instagram channel. It’s a solution designed to provide answers to customer questions and solve their problems quicker while reducing the number of calls being made into the contact centre.

Getting started 

Instagram is an exciting channel that presents the opportunity to interact with customers across a wide range of use cases. When combined with a cloud communications (CPaaS) platform like Webex Connect that’s built for managing and automating enterprise-scale communications, the channel can enable customised, seamless and end-to-end customer journeys.

The easiest way for businesses to get started is to partner with an expert, a company that is an official technology partner of Meta and has the know-how and experience to get them up and running. WhatsApp Business is a versatile channel that provides businesses the opportunity to interact with customers across a wide range of use cases.

We are an official Meta solutions partner and have been for a number of years. Our Future Messaging team works directly with technology partners to stay up to date with the latest developments and helps businesses to implement the next generation of messaging channels, including Instagram.

If you want to get started with using Instagram for customer service and commerce, visit the channel page on our website or speak to one of our experts to know more.

In partnership with Webex CPaaS Solutions