WooThemes announced this week that it will be retiring @WooSupport, its Twitter support account, in favor of other support channels. Social media manager Marina Pape reports that support at the company is otherwise healthy. “On the contrary, our support is cooking with Customer Happiness this week averaging 90%, all support teams coming in under 24 hours for first-reply time,” she said.
WooThemes, like many other WordPress product and service providers, had expanded channels to try to offer support on as many different social channels as possible. Last October, the company announced changes in its support structure:
We’re opening more and more avenues of communication like the Community, the @WooSupport Twitter handle, and a streamlined Knowledge Base, as well as actively monitoring our social media and ideas boards. You name it, we’re working on it.
Over the past several months, WooThemes has discovered that offering Twitter support is more trouble than it’s worth. “Questions get technical and DMs and 140 characters are not ideal facilitators of such things,” Pape said in the announcement.
“Yes, we want to encourage conversation. Yes, we want to have an ear to the ground and be able to help people when the rubber hits the road for them and escalate tickets if people have been waiting for unusually long periods,” she said. “But the truth of the matter is Twitter is not the place to handle support queries and when we try we shoot ourselves in the collective foot.”
WooThemes is making a smart move to pull back from a medium that wasn’t built to handle complex support queries. Instead of spreading staff thin over every social avenue, the company is concentrating on channeling users through an established ticketing system that is already working.
While anyone can use Twitter for whatever purpose, within its 140 character limit, the brevity that the medium was designed for is not a good fit for managing support. If users find frustration in communicating within Twitter’s limited capacity, support on this channel is a waste of company time and resources.
“But after letting @WooSupport run for a while, we realized what it was actually doing was creating an expectation that we never intended to meet which was that we were able to actually give support over Twitter,” Pape explained. “140 characters are not enough to talk about the weather let alone why your custom-built-million-moving-parts website is breaking.”
WooThemes is opting to limit support to its ZenDesk ticketing system, instead of having social media managers playing middleman via tweets. “DMs on Twitter to get details and sort out problems is akin to birthing pineapples,” Pape said. Encouraging the ticketing system as the primary avenue of support is a move toward greater efficiency.
WordPress hosting companies and product/service providers would do well to examine how they are using their various social channels and whether or not some could be trimmed back in favor of more suitable mediums for communication. Cutting out Twitter support may not be the answer for every product or customer demographic, but being “always on” and “always available” via every channel is not a realistic approach to support.