+++ refreshing this 2012 post for your summer pleasure +++

I was having a discussion today with a recruiter about facebook and customer service. And I heard myself say something amazing, "It's just like AOL was back in the days before the net."

Picture this: online modems were the only way beyond your physical network. email was huge and online scheduling was gaining traction. And if you had a problem with a tech company you went to AOL (America On-Line) and you searched for that company. At one point, before the net, 80% of tech companies were using AOL for customer support.

Today Facebook is that conduit.

Sites like GetSatisfaction and Yelp are great for lodging complaints or reviews, but how do you get a question answered. Again, you can go their website and look for support, or contact us, or "HELP." OR, go to their Facebook page and …

Let's look at a typical Facebook brand page:

Screen Shot 2012 04 04 at 3.12.21 PM Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding?

41 million likes, and what do you get? Let's look at their ABOUT page, maybe there's something there… (That's about 431-to-1 Likes to Interaction.)

Screen Shot 2012 04 04 at 3.14.50 PM Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding?

Okay, but there's surely more to Coke's massive Facebook ad and social media campaign, right?

Screen Shot 2012 04 04 at 3.17.04 PM Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding?

That's a bit better. And obviously Coke doesn't really want to encourage the growth of their customer support queue. But something is missing. Something BIG.

First let's look at the "Ask Coca-Cola" page.

Screen Shot 2012 04 04 at 3.20.25 PM Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding?

All right, let's look for someone who's kicking ass at support on Facebook.

Facebook Home:

Screen Shot 2012 04 04 at 3.28.14 PM Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding?

And there it is, far right… Nike+ Support:

Screen Shot 2012 04 04 at 3.28.56 PM Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding?

BOTTOMLINE: Meet your customer on Facebook. They are already there.

Facebook is your interface to 800 million potential customers, but also know that your customers are all on Facebook. So you might start treating Facebook like a communications channel instead of a broadcast network. It's it's why we call it "social" media.

Today most companies are on Facebook. But they are not doing a very good job of engaging the customer. Many of them don't even allow posting by the public. And if you're not asking how you can SUPPORT your customer, well… you might be missing a great opportunity to show how you actually care. And to the 80% of Facebook questions on brand pages that go UNANSWERED, shame on you.

Facebook is two-way. Let's remember that and do better and putting the options and process in place.

UPDATE: The customer service ideas are continued in this post: Social + Media: Two Simple Words Combined (and the Skechers Social Media Showdown)

Inspiration: The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition Facebook Business: Your Customer Service Web is Facebook, Are You Listening and Responding? (Amazon affiliate link)

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2013/07/facebook-brand-page/

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