Infographic: Social Media and the Future of Customer Support

It started out as a way to stalk everyone in high school you ever crushed or hated on…and then it went and changed the whole damn world.

Social media is more than just hundreds of millions of people swapping information about your business (and what it does right…and what it does wrong). It is the definitive space for nurturing your customer base, cultivating company culture, and it’s also the fastest-growing space for providing customer support. In fact, 62 percent of consumers have used social media for customer service issues.

Also compelling: there will soon be more Gen Y customers in the marketplace than any other age group. And having been raised on smartphones, tablets, and FourSquare, they will expect the places with which they do business to have adapted to their methods of communication. Just ask PapaJohn’s. Customer support is getting social and it’s time for every organization to heed this ever-growing call.

Support Gets Social

Use the code below to re-use this graphic

<a href=””>
<img class=”alignnone” title=”Support Gets Social” src=”” alt=”Support Gets Social” width=”960″ /></a>
<h4>Use the code below to re-use this graphic</h4>[/html]

  • Abrielle Sam

    Now everything is trending! It’s about time that customer service or supports deal with their customers grievances via the use of social media platform.. :) Because by doing so, reporting something to someone is more convenient and interactive..

  • Chuck Van Court

    Do you believe that organizations should provide support within social networking sites or extend access to support from social networking sites?  In other words, do you think it’s best for organizations to look at social networking sites as a channel or as an access point?  If you believe that it depends, what situations are best served by one or the other?

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    We believe it’s a channel, which is why we integrate with Twitter and Facebook to both track and provide feedback in those platforms.

  • Chuck Van Court

    Hello Dave:

    Under what circumstances does Zendesk believe it makes sense for an organization to consider social networks (SN) a channel (support provided within SN) rather than an access point  (easy access provided to support from SN) and what are the associated supporting benefits?


  • Chuck Van Court

    This topic is a vital one for organizations to critically assess for their organization. Yes, the costs are low and it’s easy to extend support within social networks, but that represents just the tip of the iceberg.  The real questions come about when considering how the approach really scales with large volumes within business objectives. 

    Facebook and many other vendors would love you to think that all organizations should consider at least Facebook a support channel (and they have very clear financial motivations to take this position), but is it really best for most companies?

    Duke Chung, President for Parature has made the same contention in an article he wrote in Mashable.  I posted a response,  which he failed to engage on, and brought forth many thoughts that are clearly relevant here.  I have included a link to the mashable article and my comments below. 

    I hope that Zendesk personnel and other enter into this important debate. 

    Post in Mashable:( )

    Social networks are certainly important access points into customer
    support infrastructure, where some customers and certain situations may
    indeed warrant special handling, but thinking of social networks as
    channels where service levels are equal for all and largely driven by
    customers does not seem to be prudent.

    For companies whose business models warrant thinking of social
    networks as channels, how will they realistically deal with the certain
    massive volumes once customers quickly figure out where the fastest
    lines begin? If the company merely allows the customer to initiate
    their request within these social networks, but quickly moves them to
    technology outside the social network that is optimized for providing
    customer care and not encumbered by the social network platform’s
    inherent deficiencies, why not just have the customer click a link that
    puts them in the same line and with the same service levels used by
    people initiating support through email and online forms?

    It seems to me like most companies should consider these social
    networks and other web properties external to a company as access points
    and not channels.

    I also would contend that most brands are ultimately best off using
    social monitoring software (SMS) that has been optimized searching
    Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and whatever other sites are relevant to a
    company’s ecosystem and having the SMS feed into customer care
    technology when appropriate.

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    We’re going to discuss this in our upcoming webinar:

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    We’re going to discuss this kind of thing in upcoming webinar with Peter Shankman. Please check it out:

  • Chuck Van Court

    Although I turn 53 on that day, I will certainly attend unless I get too distracted with other things….Thanks.  Chuck

  • Chuck Van Court

    BTW:  I still believe there is much value to be gained for you and others to engage and debate this issue.    This decision has far reaching consequences to organizations. 

    I would especially love to see some analysts come out of their protective cocoons and engage.

    Innovation and more sustainable and successful implementations would occur  if more people would be willing to debate issues.

  • Chuck Van Court


    Thanks for responding to my comment on We clearly have different opinions, but this is a critical decision for companies and it is important to have open debate to help them make the best decisions for THEIR organizations.

    However, I did post a comment to your response last night and it’s is still held up in moderation.  Is there something in my comment that is not appropriate?

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    We moderate all posts that use a URL in the username.

  • Chuck Van Court

    Why is it that the site just started moderating comments when it was clear that I was communicating a point of view that was different than Zendesk’s.  Nothing has changed on my “url in the username.”

    If are you talking about urls in included in my comment, then this post should get posted immediately at 10:37.55 PST.  Let’s see.

  • Chuck Van Court

    OK, it looks like you are talking about url’s on my comment.  Makes sense.  Thank you.

  • Scott Mtcu

    I think it’s an access point. To say it should be a channel at this point is a bit premature and   focusing too many resources to ‘define a channel’ deters from the more important work of serving your customers – all of them, better.   Consistency amongst your access points trumps a social media channel focus any day.  There is more opportunity for overall consistency  when it is viewed as a access point.  Consistency increases revenue and reduces costs.  Take a broader focus on achieving goals, serving customers with social media woven in throughout.  When you go inside the social media sites it just adds to the clutter that gets ignored and further dilutes your brand.  I’m also a little sketchy on how the ROI really translates to the bottom line. That point gets missed in many of these discussions.

    It will evolve to a channel, just not as quickly as many hope or are hyping.  We’d all be better off focusing on living our brand every day.

  • Chuck Van Court

    Dave, Thanks for putting on the Webinar.  However, like the articles you pointed me to, the webinar did nothing to define when and why a company should consider social networks a channel versus an access point for gaining support.

    I plan to get discussions going on this topic and hope Zendesk engages, but with meat and not high-level marketing messaging.

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Thanks, Chuck. Sorry it didn’t go where you wanted it to. We’re working on some customer stories on social media usage and some benchmarking data, and we’d love to release some ROI data. (But we obviously can’t release it without customer permission.)

    Email me at [email protected] when you figure out where/how you’re going to discuss it, and I’ll get Jake, or one of our other product managers, to put something together.

  • Guest

    The code above to re-use the graphic exceeds Twitter’s 140-character limit. Hmmmm. Kind of off-target for an article about using social media for consumer customer support  . . . 

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    We have a Twitter sharing button at the top of the post if you’d like to share that way. The code is meant for those who want to embed the image in a blog post. Sorry for the confusion.

    - Dave

  • Claire

    Great infographic – couldn’t agree more. Social media is changing the world that we live in and if 62% of people have used the tool for customer service purposes, it truly shows high demand and the need for people to do so. I also think social media is a great platform for those who don’t enjoy conflict because you can hide behind your computer screen, type out the problem and avoid bringing up the issue with someone face to face. I’ve written more about this on my blog: - I’m a third year UK PR student, comments would be very appreciated :) Really interesting information on the infographic, 45% of people using social media for retail – goes to show people like to shop online and complain online! 

  • Feckless Intolerance

     Zendesk failed to make any useful distinctions between sheeple, those
    who unwittingly DAILY provide everything ad delivery platforms would
    have sold their soul for years ago, versus people who are tech savvy but
    privacy aware.  Privacy advocacy by the tech savvy is not the exclusive
    province of liberalists/moral-anachists; money earners, conservative
    wealth/employment creators share this domain.

    Sure, there are further distinctions but those who have integrated
    “What’s your facebook?” into their casual repartee who are confused- or
    offended when the other person suggests XMPP or email, or replies sardonically “I don’t do the
    facebook. I use the tech you used to signup for facebook.”, are neither significantly far to right of center on the
    braininess bell curve nor a valuable asset.  On the contrary as lazy
    (some borderline feckless) voyeurists/exhibitionists they consume
    extraordinary “communication” resources leading business to create
    nitwit firewalls which vex would be loyal customers. 

    Those competent-, self sufficient doers who have already exhausted other
    avenues now in need of actual-support face an ever increasing
    likelihood of masochism at the hands of “support” representatives.  No
    longer reaching agents of the corporation for employer fear of liability
    of the oral contract variety, these customers suffer NEEDLESSLY.

    People are social creatures.  The internet is a wonderful tool, but it
    is a means not and end. Pandering to sheeple has always been [business]

    It behooves zendesk et al to create an authenticated pathway to allow
    the competent to circumvent the nitwit firewall to interact with agents
    of the corporation to effect a timely solution — one which will also
    benefit developers of the products/services supported.

  • tech support

    Nice blog.
    Thanks a lot, it really help me out to increase business traffic as provide a better costumer services.