Don’t handle all your support through social media – use multiple channels!

As a company, being available for your users and customers is today more important than ever before. This is especially true if you’re running a web service, or if you are a global company with customers distributed through different time-zones.

A rising trend in the last couple of years has been to move much of the support from your own website, out to social media sites such as Facebook and/or Twitter. While this is a good thing for availability, it also comes with some potential problems and dangers you need to be aware of, this is what we are taking a look at today!

Not everyone uses social media

The first point and an important one is that not all of your customers use social media or at least traditional social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Over the last couple of years a large number of users have left these sites, either for some new more “hip” social media. Or because of the later trend, increasing privacy issues and people being fed up with companies mistreating and misusing their data.

Therefore if your only way of communication is through Facebook, you are probably alienating a group of your users and potential new customers. This does not mean using Facebook for communication is a bad thing, not at all! But keep in mind when setting up your customer support/communication to include as many as possible.

All eggs in one basket

The second point when going for support using only social media, and especially over only one platform (we keep referencing Facebook here since it’s the most used one), is that it creates a “single-point-of-failure”. Suddenly you are 100% dependent on that service for being able to interact with and help your users. When the service goes down, as happened to Facebook on March 13’th for around 12 hours, so does your ability for communication.

It’s therefore of vital importance that you diversify to be ready for a situation like that. We recommend that you have at least two ways of communications, social media (if that fits your needs), and a dedicated system for support, such as IOdesk. Not being able to communicate with your current customers will lower the overall satisfaction of your service/company and will most likely hurt your sales as well.

Be aware of privacy issues

The last point we want to make is to be aware of privacy issues. This is especially important if you are located in or conducting business with countries in the EU zone. You are probably already aware of the GDPR legislation that went live last year. Where you as a company are responsible for the data you store about your customers and any data that can be connected to a real person.

This can be tricky when using 3’rd party sites for handling your communication, such as Facebook. Facebook clearly states in their TOS that you are responsible for clearly informing your customers/users that any information shared while communicating through Facebook, will be shared with and collected by Facebook

As is the case today, our Terms require that apps provide a clear and prominent link that is easily accessible inside your app settings or any Privacy Policy and from within any store or website where your app is distributed that links to a clear explanation (a) that third parties, including Facebook, may collect or receive information from your app and other apps and use that information to provide measurement services and targeted ads and (b) how and where users can opt out of the collection and use of information for ad targeting.

Since there really is no way of knowing just how Facebook will use this information, or if they really delete data permanently upon request, our recommendation is to only use Facebook for answering general questions. Never use Facebook (or the like) for answering questions that need personal information, unless you in all of these cases clearly explain the above for the customer.

This is again where using a dedicated service for customer support is a great idea, since more and more of them offer GDPR tools for you as a company, to make sure the data is secure and will be removed upon request.

As for IOdesk, we built it with GDPR in mind, and regardless if you are a company situated in the EU zone or outside, we enforce the same privacy rules. What this means is that you as a company (not Facebook or any other service) own your own data, and the data shared by customers. You can at any time permanently remove any data, we offer tools for fetching all current data stored by us, we are a Swedish company and therefore ourselves enforced to follow the GDPR legislation and also we store all of our data in EU datacenters that in turn are also enforced to follow GDPR.

To summarize it all

Not everyone uses social media sites either because of the privacy issues associated with it, or simply because they don’t want to.

To only be able to contact you through e.g. Facebook creates a single point of failure, you become 100% dependent on that service to always be online and available.

Social media is good for a lot of things, but privacy is not one of them. To make sure you as a company treat your customer’s data in the right way, always answer questions in need of personal information through other means, such as a dedicated support platform that enforces GDPR.

We are glad to talk more about this if you would like to know more and to further explain how we work with privacy. Also how IOdesk is a great solution for customer support and communication, without you risking to not follow the GDPR legislation.

Jump on over to https://www.iodesk.net to get more information, just use the support widget or contact form to get in touch with us. 😁😍

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