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About Jack

Jack Cotter, social media expert for Dealerscope and CustomRetailer, helps retailers and manufacturers find the answers to their social media problems.

Follow Jack on Twitter at @JackJCotter

and on Google+ at +Jack Cotter


Complaints Are Coming. Is Your Twitter Team Ready?

I'm a tech guy, but I'm not the most technically savvy. I mean, I'm happy with a soundbar, because I don't want to wire and place surround sound, and the idea of setting up a router makes me break out in a cold sweat. So I wasn't too surprised to see this headline in MediaPost: "Consumers Want Professional Tech Support."

Clearly the home network is more crucial than ever before. More devices are connected to the Internet, and companies are all trying get consumers to buy into their ecosystem of devices, data and content.

I understand you can't give higher-level support on Twitter and Facebook, and you shouldn't be doing that there. But I believe if your company is going to have a Twitter and Facebook page, you should be prepared to take customer service requests and respond to complaints.

Someone needs to be monitoring your social account throughout the day. That person needs to get an email notification whenever your company is mentioned so he or she can respond immediately. A good response would be "Here's my email address, let's figure this out" or "I'm now following you, send me a direct message with more details." You don't have to have the answers, but at least get the conversation back behind closed doors. An email exchange also gives you a little more time to go find the right technician or customer service agent to answer the question. We don't demand instant email response the same way we do with Twitter.

In a previous post, I wrote about how Citibank unleashed a few specially trained social media agents who could respond immediately without going through the bureaucracy. Even though social media represented less than one percent of customer service inquiries, Citi realized leaving those complaints out in the open for the world to see was damaging to the brand, but a quick answer could be positive word-of-mouth publicity.

A few weeks ago I read that some brands were quitting social media because they weren't able to keep up with the customer service requests. I think reallocating some of their customer service budget would have been a better idea, but if you're not going to do social media right, better to not do it all. (I couldn't find the article, but if anyone can direct me to that one, please send a link).

Speaking for myself, I would rather email a company than make a call, and I wouldn't be surprised if that becomes a trend as more of the Internet generation comes of age. Even if social media is just one percent of your customer service inquiries now, that one percent is very public and it's going to grow, so be prepared.

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