If until now you’ve been reluctant to embrace Facebook as a customer service platform for your small business, then you may wish to read on.

On August 5, Facebook dropped a megaton announcement that looks like it could change the face of customer service communication for the foreseeable future.

For as far back as one can remember, reliable customer service has primarily taken place either face to face or over the phone. Facebook and Twitter have steadily drawn people away from these methods with the premise of convenience; the only downsides being the public broadcast of your conversation and a lack of immediate response.

It’s been argued in the past that the open nature of Facebook business pages was a positive as it allowed people to see first-hand how the company dealt with complaints. In the coming weeks, Facebook page administrators will be able to communicate to page posts in discretion, allowing both parties to resolve any issues efficiently and in private.

Little has changed in the way customers initiate a conversation and others will still be able to see their initial post – the main difference occurs in the resulting transaction. The page admin can now click ‘Message’ under the post and continue the conversation in private with the customer.

Best of all are the new business page accolades, which award the most responsive and efficient business pages with a “Very Responsive” badge. Businesses will have to respond to 90 per cent of all customer messages on their page with a median response time of less than five minutes.

This could well cause businesses to take their Facebook far more seriously and allocate a committed individual to monitor the page at all times. A race to achieve the “Very Responsive” award is expected, with many businesses already gearing up to accommodate this game changing update.