As regular readers of this blog will know, I like my communities to have a clear purpose. It’s not good enough simply to use social media to push out your content. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, you won’t be able to measure it, and therefore won’t be able to tell if you’re doing it well or not.
Customer service is the kind of thing that social media can greatly assist with. MetroTwit provide a good example of a company that is using Facebook well for customer service purposes. In 2010 they launched a Facebook group whereby customers could post problems and share tips on how to use the Twitter tool more effectively.
As many start-ups will no doubt attest, in those early days you want a nice and low cost way of doing as much as possible. Social media therefore offered up an attractive platform for providing customer support.
Product manager Long Zheng said that its Facebook help group started out as a low-cost forum for the firm’s software beta testers. “From the very beginning we saw the power of users helping other users,” says Zheng. “It was a natural transition to bringing this functionality to the rest of our user community. Whether discussing a problem or making a feature suggestion, it was usually other users who were first to respond before anyone from the official team did.”
Now obviously one major difference between a Facebook based support community and traditional discussion forum based communities is in the level of disclosure each user provides. Most forum users for instance use anonymous aliases, whereas on Facebook you post very much as yourself. This however was something they found was positive.
Zheng said, “Having an identifiable face and name attached with each user made it feel more friendly and approachable than a traditional support forum.”