So a lot of the local companies have gone to Facebook and Twitter to extend customer engagement and support. The idea is to add more channels on top of the existing service infrastructures like business centers and 24/7 telephone support.
It’s also a good way to connect with loyal customers, build community and drive marketing efforts (and a lot of other things, depending on the company’s goals).
The thing is, adding social media to the mix isn’t a guarantee that you get better customer service either. Granted that having a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account allows for two additional channels of support, these channels do not necessarily mean you get better service.
A friend once told me “what good is a Twitter account if they don’t reply to your questions” or “a Facebook wall that is heavily moderated just to allow positive feedback while negative feedback are deleted?”.
I think it all has to start offline — if a company has great 24/7 telephone support, the one that does not let you wait 30 minutes before the next customer service representative can get to you, sending a DM on Twitter would be the last thing a customer would ever do when they needed help.
If by visiting a service center and be able to have your problems fixed in 15 minutes, one would not need to post and excruciatingly explain a problem on a Facebook wall.
If we looked at it that way, then maybe we can also make the conclusion that the company that has the most active Facebook wall or the most number of followers on Twitter are the ones who fail miserably at providing the most basic support services. Why else would people resort to waiting for hours to get a reply on Twitter/FB when a 5 minute phone call would have solved a problem?
My personal experience has been a mix of both — if all I needed was information and it’s non-urgent, Twitter works best; but if I needed to get my internet fixed, I’d always make the call however long it will take for me to wait for an operator. And from experience, the phone calls still get things done faster than FB or Twitter. Besides, it’s very hard to limit your rant to only 140-characters.
How about you? Are the Twitter and Facebook accounts of your subscribed services been better than the usual channels?