I was involved in a discussion the other day about whether customer service has a place on a brand’s Facebook Page or not. There are obviously two sides to this viewpoint but my personal opinion is that customer service and support do have a clear place on Facebook.
From what I have observed on Facebook brand pages, customers will often come to a Facebook Page with a support issue for the following reasons:
- They are frustrated and haven’t been able to get support from other channels (physical, phone, online) and they are looking for an avenue to escalate
- They have a product query and the answer isn’t immediately obvious on the brand website
- They are travelling and it is the fastest, cheapest and most convenient way for them to contact the brand
- They want to post a comment or opinion in a public place
If there are privacy or confidential matters then the conversation needs to move offline, but a significant portion can be answered on quickly, on the spot, on the Page. Customers who have had a positive service experience will tell others – that’s how social media works, right? And customers who write on your Wall and get no response will likewise tell others.
Some brands have tried to tackle this by moving the customer support to a custom tab on their Facebook Page for support, such as Australia Post.
As you can see, there are plenty of comments in here (it is the default landing tab for their Facebook Page), and interestingly enough they are sorted by ‘Social Ranking’. A quick look at the Facebook Wall though shows a steady stream of comments still being posted there regardless of the Customer Care tab. This might suggest that Fans don’t want to use the custom tab, or don’t know it is there. However it does beg the question of whether there any point in having a custom tab if you still need to monitor the Wall as well for posts requiring a response.
Some brands like Starbucks seem to just ignore comments on their Wall. I’m not sure what the strategy behind that is – getting no response from a brand is not a good sign. Visitors to the page see a stream of unanswered posts – this reflects poorly on the brand and also suggests the page is not monitored (a cardinal sin).
Other brands, like McDonalds, have closed off the Facebook Wall so comments can’t be posted. This just forces customers to post their comments on a McDonalds status update – which everyone can see. Foiled, much?
Lastly, here is a Facebook case study on AT&T who only use the Facebook Wall for customer service. Two of the key lessons here were: Customer service on Facebook does not need to require additional development work, and investing in customer service on Facebook can build brand favorability. It is great to see Facebook showing strong support for customer service in the easiest, most convenient place for Facebook fans: the Wall.
If social media is all about listening (“Be part of the conversation” “Customers will still talk about about you regardless of whether you are there or not” “If you are on social media then you have an opportunity to respond” etc etc), then why would you ignore a customer who has tracked you down on Facebook to ask a question or request support – it’s a golden opportunity missed.
Brands don’t hang up on customers when they phone up the call centre, so don’t do it on social media either.
Do you think customer service should be provided on Facebook Pages? Let me know in the comments.