By responding to customer issues on Facebook from a fake profile account (or staff personal accounts) you are putting your customers at risk and making great social customer service harder.
When you respond to a question on Facebook, the response is 'from the brand' rather than from an individual agent. Some companies, concerned by the corporate nature of this, have responded by setting up fake profile accounts (e.g. Holly at BrandName) which respond to questions on the Facebook wall. Their agents share log-ins for the personal account in order to respond. Others have their agents respond directly to customers with their own real, personal profiles. In this post I'll outline the risks, and show why you should always respond as the page your customer is talking to.
Putting your customers at risk of criminal activity
In minutes, anyone could set up another fake account with the same name and profile picture as the personal profile you responded as (including saying that they're working at your company) - and your customer has no way at all of telling it apart from the real thing. When you respond as a page, the user can hover over the name or picture and see it's genuine; or verify by clicking, and seeing they're on the same page. This is impossible with a personal account; there's no way of telling your real one from a criminal fake one. When a customer writes an issue on your wall, a criminal could easily message them with a fake account that looks exactly like your real one, asking for personal details. You're opening yourself up to a big risk, and an even bigger one for your customers.
Fake profile accounts are against Facebook's Terms of Service
By setting up these accounts, you are breaching Facebook's ToS, which explcitly prohibit profiles which are not real individuals. They have multiple systems designed to find and shut down these accounts. If this happens, not only have you lost the face of your Facebook customer service, but you will also lose all of your private messages with customers - some half way through being helped. Facebook won't help you retrieve these or re-activate your account, as you are in complete breach of both their terms and their recommendations.
No audit trail
With a page, you can use software like Conversocial to control access and ensure you have a full audit trail of all employee actions. This is not possible with a personal account, putting you at risk of bad employee behaviour - or even of employee mistakes, with no way of knowing what happened.
Private messages for brands are only from the page
With the launch of Messages in the new Timeline, customers can private message you. But you can only respond as the brand. If you then respond to their public comments with another account, you're not only confusing your customer - but it makes it impossible for software like Conversocial to provide a full conversation history, which we can do if you respond only from the page.
Customers expect you to respond as the page
Millions of people are interacting with brands every day on Facebook. And the vast, vast majority of the brands are responding as their pages. It's what Facebook users are used to, and all the leaders in social customer service follow this best practice. This doesn't mean you can't make your posts more human - a common practice is the finish the end of posts with the name of the agent who responded, so customers know the name of the agent they're dealing with.
There are many benefits to responding to customers as the page - on the other hand, responding with personal or fake accounts makes great customer service in Facebook more difficult, and puts your customers at serious risk. We strongly recommend to all of our customers to stick to best practice and focus on how to deliver the best possible service without using personal accounts.
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