So you can look forward to stories from the biggest companies you deal with -- as well as some small ones -- in the next few weeks. But because Michael Dolan, a spokesperson for Iridesco gave me such a lucid list of reasons why social media works for his company, I'm launching this discussion with a small-business Web tools company in New York City. (You can see Dolan's examples in action by following @Harvest on Twitter.com.)
"At Iridesco," says Dolan. "We've been using Twitter for customer support for the last three months. It has been working well for us. We're the creators of Harvest -- a Web-based time-tracking and invoicing application -- and Co-op, a Twitter-like communications tool for businesses."
According to Dolan, there are several reasons Twitter is a great customer support tool:
- Because Twitter is public, our clients can all see how we answer common support questions. This cuts down the number of inquiries because clients may see the answer to their questions in our Twitter stream.
- Many times a support inquiry can be solved quickly by sending a link to a FAQ or a section of our help site. Twitter is a simple, efficient way to share links.
- Many clients are comfortable with Twitter so they are more likely to reach out to us for help in a medium that is familiar. This is great for us because answering support questions helps clients get the most out of our software. Happy users are our end goal.
- The 140 character limit on Twitter helps the conversations run efficiently. Clients ask short, to-the-point questions and we provide short, to-the-point answers. It saves time on both ends.
- Many of our clients aren't located in the US. The time difference -- especially with Asian and European clients -- can be a big hurdle for support. Twitter users can send us a query and we can get back to them when we see it -- without worrying about the time difference.
Good points all. Thanks Michael! Twitter is just one of the social media tools companies are using to provide support, but it is very popular because it's quick, easy to monitor, and public. Look for more examples coming up. This is going to be a lot of fun. (Those of you who object to fun can stop penning that nasty "FUN ISN'T ALLOWED ON THE GRIPE LINE" letter. We got that memo.)
Got a gripe or Twitter tale? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.