I have been spending countless hours researching whether a customer support tab on Facebook adds value or is obsolete. We know that at least half, if not most people are visiting Facebook via mobile apps, and those mobile apps don’t provide access to tabs. So, I set out on the internet to see who was blogging on the subject, or writing articles, and I didn’t find much on the subject (if you find something, feel free to let me know, I always value information.)
Then I decided to visit Facebook to see which companies had support tabs. I found that in the service industry, companies focused on customer support had dedicated customer support tabs on Facebook. The list includes Zappos, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, FedEx, Dell, HP and Sprint. Before you say “how are THOSE companies focused on customer support?”, understand that their intention is to excel in this area, they may or may not actually succeed at that goal, or your experience might differer from the company’s desire. I found that most large cable television and satelite providers have customer support tabs on Facebook.
If these companies provide customer support tabs, what’s the flipside? who doesn’t have them? I found that large brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, McDonalds, and AT&T, the really big players, do not have support tabs. I pondered the reasoning behind this. I tried to imagine whether these brands could really provide valuable customer support in the volume they might receive. Honestly, it seemed as though the types of issues or complaints would not really fit in those spaces… well, with perhaps the exception of AT&T. I’m puzzled by that choice.
As a consumer myself, I perceive that the presence of a customer support tab shows a company is serious about customer support. I’ve read that customers want customer support telephone numbers and other ways to contact a company clearly displayed and not hidden under mountains of data. A customer support tab would be a great place to showcase this information. Got content on your website that could help customers? Provide easy access links to that content right on your support tab, especially the most visited articles. This could increase awareness of your .com content to customers that may not have seen it before. Have a forum? Why not add a widget with your forums? HP does a good job of segmenting options into “I want to help myself,” (searching .com answers), “I want help from others,” (support forums), and “I want help from HP,” (HP support services).
So, where do we land? Is there value in developing and maintaining a customer support tab, or does the inclination of Facebook users to go mobile say that investments should go elsewhere? If so, where should they go? I’m inclined to think that if your company wants to show that you are service-conscious, a Facebook customer support tab is still a wise investment. What do you think?