Twitter And Facebook Vs. Branded Communities – Which Is Better For Customer Support? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Cast your mind back, oh, five or ten years, to the days before social media had evolved into the behemoth we know and (mostly) love today.

Back then – in days of yore, as I like to call it – if you wanted online customer support from a brand you had to visit their website, find the contact page and send them an email. Brands that were ahead of their time – and prepared to do the moderation – installed feedback tools and, occasionally, support forums on their sites. Brave as they were, many of these attempts were folly, and plenty of businesses embraced the Get Satisfaction community customer support platform when it launched in 2007.

Fast forward to 2012. Now it’s all social, social, social. Where do most people go online when they’ve got a problem or complaint about a product? To the brand’s Facebook and Twitter pages, right? Wrong. At least according to Get Satisfaction.

According to their data, more than eight out of ten (81.1 percent) of customers visit a brand’s website to learn more about a product or service, with the remainder visiting its Facebook Page.

Get Satisfaction then go on to make the leap that customers who visit websites will immerse themselves in that brand’s customer community, chatting with other shoppers about their experiences and, proactively, seeking answers to their questions.

Hmmm. Really?

I’m not so sure this is reality. As an experienced admin of Facebook Pages for more than one major brand, I can tell you from personal knowledge that almost nobody goes to a brand’s website to get answers to their questions. It’s much like how almost nobody goes to Google to get answers to their questions. Instead, they prefer to ask somebody else. Why? Because they’re lazy it’s easier.

Sure, you could argue that they could fire up the brand website, hit their support community and ask their question there. And 65,000 Get Satisfaction customer communities would suggest this is a pretty common practice. But when you consider that your common or garden user is on Facebook for 25-30 minutes every day, and checking into Twitter multiple times every 24 hours on their desktops, phones and tablets, it’s probable that they’re far more likely to engage with a brand on these channels – you know, as they’re already there – than go somewhere else.* And while the quality of support might be slicker, more consistent and even better on the Get Satisfaction platform, at least right now, since when has that mattered to most people? It’s all about convenience.

Which makes me wonder if this infographic from Get Satisfaction is perhaps just a little desperate. A little scared. It’s a great product, but you have to think they’re at risk of being squeezed out by the proliferation and, for many brands, sheer size of many Facebook Pages and Twitter profiles.

* And ask the same questions. Over. And over. And over. Without reading the answers to those same questions posted by everybody else. And yes, this happens on Get Satisfaction – and everywhere else on the internet – too.

(Source: Get Satisfaction. Customer support image via Shutterstock.)