In the last couple of weeks, Facebook made two changes which make customer service an even bigger issue for companies with pages.
Any user can now write on your page - even if they're not a fan
Posts on the wall by friends are now highlighted in their own tab
Previously, only people who 'liked' your page could write on the wall; and posts would gradually go down the wall, making it hard to see any activity by your friends. Earlier this week, we wrote on what the first change meant for our metric IPM. You can read it here. However both of these changes have an even stronger impact for companies who experience direct customer service requests through Facebook.
The opening of the page to non-fans removes any kind of barrier that the like button may place on antagonists wanting to post on the page. If they were really unhappy, they may not wish to 'like' you. Now there's nothing stopping them, which makes it more likely that angry people will leave their complaints and issues on your page. It also makes it much easier for issues to spiral up into much bigger problems as strangers can easily come to a page for one off negative remarks. Of course, this change isn't all negative, and expect wider discussion and sharing as a result - but also be prepared for an increase in customer service issues and negative posts.
Highlighting friend activity in its own tab means that customer service issues and complaints from your customers just became a lot more powerful. It's never been good to have a potential customer come to your page and see it full of unresolved complaints - but now, they might be looking at the unresolved issues and anger of their friends. This is much more powerful than the problems of strangers. The friends activity tab also shows posts by friends that mention or tag your company - even if not written directly on the wall. Although you can't always respond to these (and can't delete them), it's important to be aware that how your company is being talked about is getting even more visible to friends online. The counterpoint to this is that good experiences, and resolved issues that leave customers happy, will also be more visible to their friends - creating strong positive earned media.
These changes make it more important than ever for companies to be fully prepared to deal with customer service issues in Facebook. Deleting posts causes more anger and upset, and our research has shown that closing the wall or just telling customers to 'contact customer services' is ineffective. To scale, the only option is to train a dedicated social customer service team and enable them to deal with issues and respond directly through your Facebook page. This isn't easy, but it's possible - we're helping our customers do it everyday.
Next week we are sponsoring an event on social customer service in London, with speakers from Facebook, Marks & Spencer, Cap Gemini and We Are Social. We'll be investigating some of the issues around dealing with customer service issues through social media.
Find out more and buy tickets here.
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