May 10, 2016

Using Facebook Messenger as a Free Intercom Replacement

Up until yesterday I used Intercom to run a livechat experience on Fiercely Curious, an online art startup that I run. But it costs $50 / month and the mobile app for iOS was acting up not always delivering notifications so I decided to play around and see if I could replicate the functionality using Facebook Messenger.

The result - success! (with some quirks). Here’s the experience showing a Facebook chat call to action:

And here’s the experience when you engage with the button:

I had a few people asking how I did it so I wanted to share the code. It’s nothing complicated and I’m sure there are more efficient ways of presenting this so I hope by sharing it we can improve the experience!

Here’s the HTML code on every page of the site:

And the accompanying CSS:

I’m excited to play in this space - clearly the experience is subpar for those users who don’t have a Facebook account or even just aren’t logged in but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for now. I think Facebook will build out more robust tools for businesses that want to use messenger as a tool for customer interaction.

Try it out right now:!

Any feedback? Got a suggestion to improve the experience? Let me know!

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This post was written by Tom Critchlow - blogger and independent consultant. Subscribe to join my occassional newsletter: