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Offering Tech Support Via Social Media: Too Impersonal?

ImageSocial media has slowly immersed itself into the tendrils of humanity, imposing its precocious presentation amidst our daily activities. Organizations are starting to severely increase their social presences since social media, by design, is a platform that allows you to reach massive segments of any market quickly.  Here is where society’s most refuted adage, every man for himself, applies - even when it comes to technical support.

Business managers and entrepreneurial veterans perceive social media platforms as tightly woven environments to reach potential audiences, consumers or even professionals. However, the potential of this new, interactive world stretches beyond that. Communication is about something more than pitching a product and a new tendency is starting to emerge – technical support through social media.

Technically, it could work

The idea surely has its merits – social media platforms are an accurate, nearly surefire way to quickly reach people; statistics show that nowadays it is more probable to catch someone on his Facebook rather than on Skype. This is what makes this method more convenient for a client to quickly send his inquiry on a problem and, in turn, receive the solution without struggling with phone connection snafus and all other ‘archaic’ communication procedures retired by forward thinking businesses.

Dave G., representative of an incredible place where you can buy Facebook fans, chimes in on the current state of technical support affairs: "As people are continuing to use the internet for social media exposure across miles of wire, the need for expert tech support only grows. And it’s not just ‘break fix’ support anymore—people want tech advisors they can trust, who they can call with any problem, from getting their pages liked quickly to increasing followers. That’s the kind of relationship I foster with clients—they know we’re always there to be their technology coach."

All told, this phenomena brings up a new question – isn’t it too impersonal to operate like that? Many people share that contacting a person over the phone and having an actual conversation is an experience they value when contacting the person or organization they are doing business with. From a psychological point of view, this is a strong factor because to some extent you have the opportunity to monitor what the person on the other side is doing – is he or she concerned, in a hurry or even interested in your problem? It is also important to note that personal service is perceived as a sign of how much the receiving party values its customer. 

Phone calls - more 'personable'?

Taking all mitigating factors into consideration, it seems that from a social perspective the phone call method of service is sure to bring more value to the business – customer relationship. For example, it seems to make more sense to call when having a problem with your MPLS VPN than waiting for tweets. Nevertheless, the technical side of the matter is also important. A phone call is not always the standard procedure and a medium such as e-mail is often the way tech support communicates. In comparison to that, a social media platform is much more personal and to some extent effective, as people are spending more time there and this increases the chance of an inquiry to be noticed earlier.

So when we look at the big picture, the issue becomes quite tangled. Some of the standard methods for customer support procedures are surely more personal and suggest an in-depth attitude towards a problem, while some give the impression of a mere formality and little involvement from the side offering support. This is why it seems like social media stands somewhere in the middle. It is more personal than an e-mail, yet much less involved than a phone call. On the other hand, using a media platform for tech support-related issues suggests that a consumer can have easy access to the other side’s page or profile, which increases the chances of relevant information flowing even without personal involvement. In the end, it all depends from the perspective; whether the focus is on performance or interaction, this is something everybody must define for himself - especially when it's sometimes hard to talk to tech support.

In a world where word of mouth marketing is now easily shared through the Internet, it’s extremely important for your company to pay attention to what your customers are saying about you.  Airing your tech support laundry where millions can disseminate your positive, or negative, customer treatment across the world should be seriously discussed behind closed doors before enacting a socially conceived tech support service.

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