Apple Geniuses Flock to Twitter
Apple on Thursday launched a Twitter channel to field support questions from users of its products, as well as to offer them tricks and tips.
By Friday, the @AppleSupport account had 134,000 followers and had sent more than 3,000 tweets.
Some of the tweets came from customers whose tech issues had been resolved.
"I'm 99% sure my #iphone6s was just fixed from the cloud," Kate Cleveland wrote. "Thank you #AppleSupport for giving me music again!"
A user with the handle "S." noted Apple provided a new phone because of a hardware fault.
Meanwhile, Sarah Clee got a persistent problem cleaned up. "Weeks of email issues and #applesupport have me sorted in half an hour," she wrote. "Great service thank you."
"Looks like this #AppleSupport Twitter acct will be very helpful," tweeted Charles Barbato.
"#AppleSupport is about to get even better!" Ali Kellerman noted.
Others used the forum for grousing.
"#AppleSupport reminding me of Comcast with all this wait time between transfers," wrote "Ginja Warrior."
"Dab like a Champ" threatened to jump ship: "#applesupport is making me feel like im gonna buy an #Android."
"It's always reassuring when #AppleSupport has to put you on hold to 'do some research pertaining to your issue'.....," noted Grace Weinzierl.
Marco Mion complained of long wait times: "6 hours on the phone with #AppleSupport... Going in circles."
Meanwhile, MacLvr didn't show much love for the service from Apple: "#applesupport is failing me now and I can't believe the lack of knowledge and disrespect im receiving on the phone now."
Providing support through Twitter will be a valuable service for Apple, as many companies have already discovered, noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
"There are hundreds of companies by this time that maintain a watch on social media to monitor comments about their brands and their products," he told CRM Buyer.
"They've become increasingly aggressive with customers who have complaints or are having problems," King continued. "I experienced it myself with everything from airlines to technology products over the last couple of years."
Using a service such as Twitter can help Apple get ahead of problems before they get out of hand, he observed.
"If a vendor like Apple invests in something like this, not only can they engage with customers having problems more quickly and more readily, but they can nip a problem in the bud before it becomes a viral issue," King said.
It's common for someone who is having a problem at a bank, hotel or airline to tweet about the event as it's happening. "If someone has a sizable number of followers and they have a complaint that's not being addressed, that can create a negative impact on a brand," he said.
"Apple is wise to do this," King added. "It should provide a valuable way for them to interact with their customers over time."
Twitter Benefits, Too
Adding support via Twitter extends the ways Apple can help its customers, noted Ross Rubin, senior director for industry analysis at App Annie. "Many companies want to service and help their customers wherever they may be and however they may prefer to be contacted," he told CRM Buyer.
Support via social media acts as a bridge to another medium where a more in-depth discussion can take place, Rubin noted. "There's two reasons for that. One is the limited message length of Twitter, which isn't designed for in-depth discussion. The other is privacy."
Apple may not be the only company benefiting from @AppleSupport.
"The Apple site could provide a gateway to other Twitter services," Rubin said, "and even provide revenue streams for it."