Gartner’s Michael Maoz posts this week on Facebook and Twitter as customer service tools in “Twitter and facebook efforts are mostly distractions for Customer Service improvements.”
“In many cases ’social’ efforts are interesting but distracting projects. It’s a bit like the dogs in the 2009 Pixar film, “Up” where, in the midst of planning just about anything, one of the dogs reflexively calls out “Squirrel!” and everyone becomes momentarily distracted.”
More and more companies are using social media for customer service. Social Media isn’t just the domain of marketing. It has huge value for product development, customer support and CRM/Sales. To keep these tools valuable, you need to use them properly and set up the right infrastructure to manage them. For example, a good monitoring system with a decision tree and ticketing to flag comments and determine what part of the company they should be routed to and then assign them to a specific individual who can address appropriately.
For customer service and support, you don’t want to encourage the use of Twitter or Facebook as a primary contact vehicle. There’s just not enough context to be useful, but as a tool to watch for unhappy customers and identify and address issues early Twitter has tremendous value.
As a transactional tool, to solve a specific problem Twitter and Facebook leave a lot to be desired. For realtime support, you want to move the engagement from social media where it’s public to a more intimate setting until the issue is resolved.
I guess you could agree that Twitter and Facebook are distractions as long as you believe customers are distractions.