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Technical Support On Social Media: Big Companies Lessons

August 15th, 2013 | | Posted in category Facebook Social Media Twitter Uncategorized

Customers want you now, they want you 24/7 and your time zone sleep preferences are of little concern to them.

They contact your support team and if they feel that your support reps are taking too much time to reply (they always think so), they are most likely to get you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. It's OK if you have like 5-6 support requests on social networks per day, but what if there are more?

Let's see how big brands cope with huge loads of support requests on Social Media and how massively they fail/succeed.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa Facebook page is one of the greatest examples of the social media managers' team any company would die to hire. If you have a careful look at their wall you'll notice that new messages are being sent to LuftHansa every hour (at least 3-4 per hour). Some of them are positive, some of them are complaints or just accusing words. The remarkable point is that support is provided minimum in two languages: English and German. Can your team be called a bi- or multilingual?

Here is how a typical message would look like.

lufthanse tech support

Being a little bit more supportive could make a difference potentially. Social Media manager could really make an additional effort and check the online status herself (or contact the relevant department for this issue) and write it on Facebook.

Here's another example:

lufthansa customer is mad

Actually it's a perfect reply for a brand that has nothing to do with the problems that the client experienced but is still willing to invest in their good reputation and relationships with each consumer.

This post also cries for being a little bit more helpful. Social Media manager could have contacted the tech support on his own and updated on the progress.

lufthansa tech support on social media

Awesome work, prompt replies? Yes, sure… at first sight.

Looks like LuftHansa social media managers team is on Facebook to guide people, but not to address their problems directly. It is however quite understandable bearing in mind the size of the company. Do users care what your size is and how much time you have to pay attention to their particular case? No.

Lufthansa Social Media Support Philosophy:

  1. Be there for your clients and promptly answer their concerns
  2. Send your clients to an appropriate department where they will get necessary assistance
  3. Ensure multi-lingual support

Conclusion: Sometimes all companies have to direct clients to other departments or even repeat the info users could have found themselves on the official website. Nevertheless, the rule of good tone dictates any brand to make the communication between a client and a company single channel and give them any kind of info now and in the place convenient for them.

Bank Of America

We're sure almost everyone has heard of their epic fail automated tweets situation on Twitter.

Everything started with an ''innocent picture'' that wasn't even about helping someone; it was just a protest against Bank of America foreclosures.

tweet bank of america

However Bank of America official Twitter account answers just made the whole story a lot bigger.

Below are some tweets to prove their Twitter account is almost 100% automated. If you're willing to see the whole conversation, read this.

back of america epic fail

Can it be even worse? Sure!

bank of america tweets

And even more…

bank of america automated account

There wasn't even a thing spoken of somebody's account. I do not want to make this post any longer and which is why I am not putting some more screenshots featuring the very same answers to different people.

Bank Of America Support Philosophy on Social Media:

  1. Automate all the things on Twitter, they will not notice it all the same. Users are idiots.
  2. Never get back, comment or apologize after the web is mocking at you. Hope that everyone will forget your epic fail.
  3. Assume that each time people write you they want you to get an answer only to support questions.
  4. Assume all your clients have one, maximum two similar questions. No fantasy here!

Conclusion: being a big company and answering all tweets is kinda overwhelming. However having a reputation of a brand without real people behind can cost you more bucks than simply hiring a decent Social Media manager.

Hilton

Hilton Hotels and Resorts have a Facebook page and it looks pretty neat, colorful and cozy at first sight. However if you view their wall you'll have mixed feelings.

hilton support on facebook

Pretty prompt reply and the SMM team sent the complaint to the relevant department themselves. However aren't the other two guys still worthy of receiving any replies?

hilton ignores a client

Client sends a message and receives no reply. But he doesn't give up.

hilton client great disappointment

 

And again, no reply to other members who also participate in the discussion and take their time to write feedback about your service. I don't know how they call it at Hilton, but SMM team of Link-Assistant.Com calls it disrespect.

Hilton Support Philosophy on Social Media:

  1. Always answer as soon as possible, do not make clients wait
  2. If possible solve the problem yourself, if not – send to the relevant department
  3. Interact and reply only to the people who initially published a post on your wall, ignore those who support their opinion there or share their own experience
  4. Ignore some users for good. Sure, clients love to be ignored.
  5. Multi-lingual support

Conclusion: you can be the best chain of hotels and resorts in the world, but you still have to make every client feel special. No matter what your client writes, you have to react in any way even if it was an ordinary ''thank you'' or ''I hate you''. Every ''thank you'' from a client makes your day a little bit more enjoyable and every ''hate you'' makes your service a little bit better because someone has shown you the path to improvement.

Dove

Dove is renowned for launching outstanding viral social media and TV campaigns that are focused at upbringing self-love in women. Just remember their Real Beauty Sketches video and you will burst into appreciation words about the team that created this experiment.

Do they deal with down-to-earth issues on Social Media as good as they inspire self-love in women? Let's have a look at their Facebook page.

dove support on facebook

Looks like Dove team was not surprised with an ''unexpected'' technical problem and didn't care to explain what was wrong and why the user had to experience disturbances. Plus like the majority of huge bands they ignored all other people's comments to this message.

dove facebook fan

I guess the comments speak for themselves. If you have a contest make sure your clients don't have to ping you for results, make the results available online instead.

dove consultation

Deleting users comments multiple times? Dirrrty move.

Still Dove is Dove and there are plenty of positive words about them on Facebook too.

dove generosity

However I suspect that this love of consumers is inspired more by outstanding products and advertisements rather than top-notch customer support on Social Media.

Dove Support Philosophy on Social Media:

  1. In case of unexpected technical problems just say ''sorry'' and never ever say why it happened and how soon the issue is supposed to be resolved
  2. Reply only to people who initiated a conversation with your page, pretend others participating in this discussion don't exist
  3. Delete comments that you don't like. Do it several times just to show a consumer how insignificant his/her complain looks to you
  4. If you delete somebody's comments never apologize for this later
  5. Encourage customers' love by giving them free products

Conclusion: Answering just for the sake of showing any reaction is a bad strategy. People expect you to give them definite information related to their problems. The trick here is to read users' minds and give the answers to the questions that are not pronounced but implied.  If your service is not working explain why. If you don't know the reason yourself ask users to help you with the investigation.

Is There Really No One Behind Big Brands?

In reality there are thousands of people behind big brands but all of them are responsible for certain tasks and have their own responsibilities. People belong to different departments and communication between departments as we know suck even in small companies.

Let's just look at the picture from behind the fence:

  • You are a part of a Social Media team, each day you receive so many requests on Social Media than humanly possible to process. The saddest part is that in most situations you don't have a right to solve these problems as it's a job of other people.
  • Normally it takes millions of efforts to get an access to the systems, CRMs and the like used by other departments. In most situations you simply don't get approval and have to ask someone personally to check this or that for you.
  • Some people ARE crazy, they write the things no one will ever understand and the first instinct is to delete those comments in order not to have a spammy look. However sometimes you can confuse spam with just emotional customer who's in a hurry.
  • You have to answer hundreds of similar questions every single day. Part of these questions is on the website, the other part was already explained by your company on social networks below. Inventing some new formulation can take you more time than re-writing ''An American Tragedy'' and which is why sometimes you allow yourself to use some clichéd phrases.
  • Social Networks like Twitter and Facebook have a significant number of bugs when it comes to notifying about new comments or tweets. Missing some when you have a huge scope of ongoing tasks is also possible due to technical problems on the side of social networks.
  • Sometimes you just don't give some information because it's not given to you or ''the official version'' isn't decided on yet. But you still have to reply.

I’d say there are many people behind big brands and support on Social Media normally cannot be performed only with efforts of Social Media team. Only a proper organization of a huge company can result in excellence on Social Media and in other directions.

There are also a number of different misconceptions on what Social Media managers should really do and that can cause some severe problems within the company too, especially during the planning stage.

What would you say? Did you have any experience in communication with big brands on Social Media? Did you get the help you needed?



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