iPhone Life magazine

Social Media Report

Using Social Media apps for Customer Service

I always like articles that draw back the curtain a bit and let me inside to see how everyday tasks are done at other businesses. If you have a small business and handle customer service questions on Twitter and Facebook, then hopefully you will enjoy this peek behind the iPhone Life curtain.

Tweeting to support customers

The main components of our system are: an iPhone, an iPad, Hootsuite for iPad (free, app2.me/2926), and Twittelator Free (free, app2.me/3277).

SocialMediaAll the blog posts on our website (iphonelife.com/blog) are automatically posted to Twitter and our Facebook page. Then, Gary, our very able head Twit (sorry Gary—couldn’t resist) uses the Twittelator app to reframe each post for better SEO (search engine optimization) and then re-tweets them. He also checks the @replies to see if anyone has a question about a post or is feeling the need to rant about something iOS. He is gifted at responding to comments; complementary and tough, and he can usually soothe the rant right from his iPhone. The nice part about being able to use the iPhone for customer service is that Gary can quickly respond even while he runs around town or changes his grandchild’s diapers (we don’t advise doing the latter without proper training).

Hootsuite lets us schedule and publish messages to our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Hootsuite for customer service on the iPad

I’ve always used the online version of Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) to post to all our social networks from my computer. However, Hootsuite has a nice iPhone app, which was updated for the iPad in the winter of 2010. This app allows us to schedule and publish messages to our Twitter account (twitter.com/iphonelife) and our Facebook page (facebook.com/iphonelifemagazine) in one stroke. In addition, the app lets us monitor results with some pretty good analytics and participate fully in conversations with our customers, present or potential. The app’s dashboard has always been well designed and easy to use, but the extra screen real estate on the iPad makes it even better. The app’s iPad dashboard displays two columns on the screen, but you can slide them to the left or right to see others. I currently have eight post, reply, and search columns in play.

From one dialog box, it’s really easy to create a tweet, add a photo, schedule it, shrink the link, add my current location (Lat. and Long.), quickly mention other Tweeters, and translate it to just about any language. If you have several social network accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Ning, Myspace, WordPress, PingFM, and Foursquare, you can also select and post to them at the same time with this app.

If someone has a particular concern like, “I haven’t received a magazine yet,” I can assign that Tweet through the Hootsuite interface to anyone on our customer service team to answer it. It is highlighted in the Twitter stream as awaiting a response, and once responded to, changes color to indicate that it is resolved.

I would love to know how you use your iPhone and iPad for customer service. Feel free to post directly to our Facebook page to continue this conversation.