Over the years, social media platforms have come to play a significant role in the role of IT help desks. While not all IT departments have chosen a platform to utilize, many businesses are finding ways to use social media for customer service as part of a virtual IT help desk.
Social media has a number of benefits, but it may also present some challenges for IT help desk. The question for many IT departments is whether or not they should invest in help desk software that incorporates social media functionality, or simply let employees do their own sleuthing on platforms outside their reach. There can also be the issue of social media security.
Evading the IT help desk
Data from a social networking-focused survey of IT professionals revealed some interesting insights into the way end users view the IT department. Let’s take a look at the stats: More than half of end users who responded to the survey said they have gone outside the IT department for technical support. Additionally:
- About 30% sought help directly from a technology vendor or manufacturer
- 15% received help from a co-worker
- 18% asked a friend
- 6% looked for help from “other.”
And almost 30% said they looked for help from the Internet, including multiple sources such as message boards, blogs, and social networking sites.
The reasons these end users gave for evading their IT departments for technology help varied:
- IT is too slow
- Users have little confidence in the department’s problem-solving abilities
- End users felt more comfortable working with people they knew
Whether these concerns are valid or not, end users have a lot of options when it comes to getting help. They are increasingly tapping into social networks for support. This provides the perfect opportunity for companies to establish protocols for ways to use social media for customer service.
Benefits of social media integration
Employees can receive information and help faster through social media channels, taking a workload off the help desk. Instead of explaining smaller detailed tasks, IT can focus on managing security and monitoring critical applications. Social media also captures information that might otherwise be lost to the company, such as easier ways employees have discovered to do regular tasks, effective ways to work around errors in a system, and new uses for the software available. This information becomes readily available to everyone in the workplace through social media platforms.
IT can learn a lot from these postings, as well as getting to hear about problems the end users commonly face.
Challenges of social media integration
Information overload can make it difficult to track, monitor, respond to, and organize the useful data that is coming in through social media communications. Likewise, you’ll need to establish responsibilities for who will manage the social media questions—consumers look to brands for quick responses when asking questions on social media and that includes IT departments.
Have you integrated social media as a way for others to contact you about IT issues? What success stories or challenges have you faced?