Businesses need to start taking customer service through social media seriously

4 minute read

Users are increasingly expecting large companies to provide customer service and support through social media channels. That’s right folks, social media isn’t just a place where you can chat with friends and share videos of goats screaming. Platforms such as Twitter have given users a global audience to air any complaints or problems they might have with a company. This evolution in the way in which people complain has made it more important than ever for large companies to use social media channels for support purposes. Actively patrolling social media for comments, questions and complaints can help a company deal with any issues before they get out of hand.

In September this year we saw a disgruntled British Airways customer take to social media to complain about BA’s ‘horrendous’ customer service. He paid to promote a number tweets specifically to followers of the British Airways Twitter account. The tweets were seen by over 73,000 BA followers and cost the customer $1000 in advertising fees. Such drastic methods of highlighting a complaint had never been seen before and resulted in a succession of media companies picking up the story (BBC, The Telegraph, Mashable, NBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, the list goes on).

Customer support software provider Zendesk recently highlighted some interesting statistics collected by Conversocial and Maritz Research about customer support via social media, making for some interesting reading. According to this research 50% of people would be put off dealing with a company if they saw unanswered questions or complaints on a social media profile. They also found that 86% of people who complained on Twitter and didn’t receive a response would have appreciated one.

We’ve seen some large companies such as ASOS, TalkTalk and Virgin Media all taking on social support. For large brands, acting upon the thousands of social media complaints and questions they receive is crucial.

Social media support accounts

It seems that customer complaints through social media channels are here to stay. Why wouldn’t you want to quickly send a tweet to a company and engage with them to resolve an issue? It’s often quicker than traditional support methods. It’s also in the company’s best interests to respond and resolve the situation as quickly as possible due to the complaint or question being visible to the public.

While social support isn’t necessary for the majority of companies, it does have a part to play for larger brands who potentially receive hundreds, maybe even thousands, of support cases daily. That doesn’t mean smaller companies can’t offer support via social media channels. Many help desk platforms have recognised the need for social media monitoring which has resulted in it being an integrated software feature. Here are just three examples of platforms offering this service:

  • Zendesk is one of the worlds largest and most well-known support platforms and offers powerful Twitter and Facebook social integration, allowing you to easily turn a complaint in to a support ticket
  • Desk is another popular support that offers Twitter and Facebook search and ticket generation all built in to its nice Universal Inbox
  • Freshdesk boasts a whole load of great features, offers powerful social search options and advertises itself as the ‘Multinational Social Media Helpdesk’

Next time you have a question or issue with a large company, check to see if they offer social media support. You might be surprised by the speed and efficiency in which you can get your request answered or problem resolved. Want to ask us a question on Twitter? Feel free to tweet us on @signupto!