For the second time in 10 days I've noticed members using social media to solve problems or answer other user questions because our office is closed. One wanted to know if system was down on a holiday (and asked other Facebook users who immediately responded it was up); another didn't know how to get access when device lost (including #$% symbols about it on Twitter) - and got a fast answer from another member .... on a Sunday.
1. If the association/office help-desk isn't open on weekends, holidays and evenings - how do we expect users to get answers on weekends, holidays and evenings? The website may have FAQ section and training videos, but user may be on Blackberry or other device not wanting to fumble with site; or the site may not feature a perceived immediate problem. Such as, is the program having a problem?
2. Asking the crowd is new way for answers on everything from what restaraunt should I go to though what the (expletive) is wrong with my association's program. How much do YOU love going to any site or manual to find an answer to an immediate problem versus seeing if you can find anyone quickly who can just answer it?
3. If users are helping each other, it's a good thing. Well, unless they give the wrong answer ... or unless it stirs up trouble when no real problem. But if I'm not there on the sites (nor any other staff person) when this is happening, at a minimum it's worth thanking those who are trying to eliminate frustrations for others by giving assistance via social media.
4. Those who aren't our members on these sites get to find out about the problems (or perceived problems) too. Love it or hate it, there's no denying that your association and its programs will be discussed on social media - and the sphere is not just other members.
Note to self: You can't control this.