Many technology integrators allow their clients to submit support requests through a variety of channels such as online forms, live chat, telephone, SMS, and even popular social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.
However, is this multi-channel approach, especially with the public nature of Twitter and Facebook, really the right approach for all, or at least most, technology integrators?
Social Media as Part of the Multi-Channel Mix
Desk.com, part of Salesforce.com, believes strongly that integrators, like most businesses, must embrace Twitter and Facebook support as one of its channels.
See: Ignoring Customer Complaints on Social Media? You’re in Good Company and in Trouble.
I saw a similar question come up a few months back, which I weighed in on, over at the now-defunct LinkedIn Answers.
And since LinkedIn will no longer be making my answer on this topic available to link to (i.e. Un-LinkedIn I guess?!?), I thought our blog readers could benefit.
So the original question was asked by an IT manager at a major Saudi Arabian university.
Balancing the Popularity of Facebook and Twitter with Help Desk Needs
In a nutshell, Shahid Warsi wondered:
if it’s a good idea to offer IT support over Facebook and Twitter as part of a help desk
if the response should go back out over the same originating social media.
After explaining that although some of the channel partners that we advise do have vertical market expertise that they apply in higher education, and our resources are certainly well-utilized throughout the Middle East, SP Home Run Inc. primarily advises and trains IT consultancies, MSPs, and VARs.
Of course, there’s no denying that for a tech-savvy audience, especially college students, faculty, and staff, social media is incredibly popular. In fact, Facebook was even born on a college campus.
Looking at Students, Faculty, and Staff as Internal Customers and Prospective Internal Customers
Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, are great for staying in touch with customers and reaching new potential customers.
In the case of a university IT department, these internal customers would be students, faculty, and staff.
New customers would presumably be those students, faculty, and staff that haven’t yet utilized the IT department’s help desk resources.
Now although both Twitter and Facebook have a “private” side, with Twitter DM (direct messages) and the Facebook business pages private inbox, neither feature is used all that often, compared to the much more popular Twitter streams and Facebook timelines.
But because neither Twitter nor Facebook mandate private, one-on-one contact, and most people tend to use these social media tools very publicly, more traditional help desk SaaS offerings may be a better fit to assure confidentiality.
Of course, support requests still will inevitably originate on Twitter and Facebook from time to time. But most popular SaaS-based help desk systems, like Desk.com and Zendesk, make it very easy to convert social media-originated requests into support tickets.
A very simple strategy: If your IT department’s help desk has its own Twitter profile and Facebook page for students, you can use these channels to distribute tips and breaking news, and just as important: make it crystal clear above the fold how to properly log IT support help desk requests.
Even though this original LinkedIn Answers request was from a manger of a university help desk, this same question and issue is very applicable to small business IT consultancies, VARs, MSPs, and technology integrators.
How does your company deal with help desk requests that originate on Twitter and Facebook? Please share your tips and hints in the Comments area below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on IT Service Contract Secrets for Getting More Repeat Clients and Recurring Service Revenue.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr luc legay
Topics:- Managed Service Provider MSP