It’d be really cool if we could stop posting this guy’s trash articles here.
I feel that the big companies should be adopting a similar stance.
Say, I’m shopping for a bank, or require help figuring out the rules for an account that are contradictory. It should be possible to get the answers in the open forums, at the very least through email, and it’s entirely unreasonable that so many of the orgs require that generic information like that be obtained through a personal hard-to-document phone call in place of a public forum like Twitter.
My wife does email support for a small startup and they also have a forum, where users and staff have free access. They prefer the email support, because forum requests easily degenerate into discussions which are not helpful to the requester. Also, on the forum it is hard to distinguish between official and non-official answers, but that could probably be solved.
For users it is hard to know in advance if question is generic or not. In addition, asking in public might feel shameful for many.
Well, I disagree. I prefer email. How companies handle email is a matter of making incoming emails visible via gui/web/intranet interfaces, coupling them to user profiles etc.
Maybe I don’t want my correspondence to be public. I’m a bit agoraphobic, analogically and digitally. Sometimes I feel comfortable enough. But almost always I just ignore my phobic feelings and just go for it. And then maybe worry a for long time after having posted something. Especially with customer support, I feel more comfortable with one-on-one contact.
Forums also tend to aim to be places where users can primarily interact with each other and not with any staff. And the more customers interact with each other, the less in my experience the inclination for employees to join in. My experience, and admittedly my bias. Ymmv.
Forums are always messy, too. I can’t stand having to search though page after page looking for answers. I io like some forums though. Like xda-developers, and once upon a time long gone, mysticwicks, and a few music band fan boards. I even was a moderator for a few of those.. when I was 16, I moderated the Cradle of Flith message board. Had such a great time there. But back then the Internet was a better place by far anyway. Things weren’t as serious, and because Internet access wasn’t a flat fee, but per minute and slow as hell, the truly important things mattered more. For us there simply wasn’t enough speed/time, and money, to bicker about most things.
Twitter for customer support is really is rubbish imo, for one because of its rediculously short message limit (the sport of being able to condense messages into exactly 140 chars can be somewhat fun, sometimes), and secondly because of all of the anonymous haters. And I dislike how quantity matters over quantity, because people believe that users with few followers don’t matter, aren’t important. I’ve seen this often, but doesn’t relate to customer support much, it’s just a general gripe I have. Sorry for the digression.
So back on topic - It’d also imply that I’d need a third party service that would be able to follow all of mi correspondence. Even though I don’t distrust Twitter, no company should demand their users to use that for important things to my taste.
But email… I love email. I don’t need to register myself; i can do fancy things with it, I can choose my own clients; I can leave messages on the server thanks to IMAP; and it always Just Works™. Kinda. I’ve been running my own server for as long as I can remember and so I know a lot of ins and outs.
There’s a lot of hate out there for email, but for all its warts, i think it’s the best. Then again, I also think IRC is the best, and I’ve always disliked browsers. To each his own I suppose.