Social Media use by persons of all ages continues to grow. It's not a fad, it's penetrated to become part of our fabric as a society. As businesses have seen this change, they have responded to incorporate social media as part of their business strategy.
Many use Social Media as part of a sales and marketing strategy but increasingly we are now seeing Social Media used by businesses as fast and efficient support and customer service tool.
Here’s how social media can be used as a support channel for a business:
Facebook, Twitter, and Google + can all be used as an announcement tool for service issues.
For example, if there is a weather emergency, an organization can post a message on their company Facebook Page and Twitter account to let users know there is a delay or that they are closing early, etc. This is a pro-active way to get a message out quickly where customers, fans, and subscribers can see it and potentially Like, Comment, Retweet or Share it so the reach goes out farther and faster. The more this is done, the more customers will get used to looking at your social media site as a place to get information on these types of matters.
Many social media software services like HootSuite, PlanYourPost, and Sendible allow you to setup searches and monitor terms. You could monitor terms for your business name so that you catch "social chatter" related to your company and can respond to comments, questions, and complaints. This is sometimes called "social listening". Listening and monitoring can help a company offer assistance which can help boost sales and solve customer issues. Cable giant Comcast is noted for this as they have staff monitoring terms on Twitter, for example, so that they can review and respond if someone is tweeting about a Comcast cable service issue.
Sometimes the best response is a quick response! If a customer is having trouble setting up your product, purchasing your product online, or wanting to know something, a quick response can make all the difference in the world in terms of their overall satisfaction. Allowing users to send your company a Tweet or post on your Facebook page News Feed allows your company the opportunity to publicly respond. This can solve the issue for the requester but also answer that same question for others who were getting ready to inquire! This public answering can help elevate your company and be a differentiator between your company and a competitor.
A utility provider in Arkansas, Entergy Arkansas, recently used their Facebook Page as a key support tool during weather related power-outages in their service area. While the company Facebook Page notes that it is primarily monitored during business hours, the Page offers key resources using TabSite's tools to add resource tabs to the Fan Page so that users can view information on Facebook about service outages and getting power back. By posting updates on their Facebook Page and using tabs on their page, fans of the Page are kept abreast of the latest information and can share this with others.
Ultimately, the more options for getting information out quickly and effectively to customers, the better. So, like many businesses, it may be time to take a deeper look at social media not only as a marketing opportunity but also as a support channel.