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!

This blog is written by Tom Critchlow, an independent strategy consultant living and working in Brooklyn, NY. If you like what you read please leave a comment below in the comments or sign up for my newsletter.