Customer support is not often a fun process for customers. On particularly frustrating days, we find ourselves repeating information, getting passed from agent to agent, and forced to move to channels we don’t prefer. At Sparkcentral, we work with brands to help improve their processes and platforms for digital customer care, but today we wanted to share our advice with everyone. Here are our top five tips on getting the best customer service on social media and other digital channels with a little help from Disney characters:

Do: Be prepared!

Be prepared for customer support


Before you reach out to customer support, get ready. Have the information you need to confirm your identity, be able to explain exactly which error messages you’re seeing, or locate your account number if that information will be needed to help you. Sometimes you can’t predict what information you will have to provide, but being able to clearly describe any issues you’re experiencing is the best place to start!

Don’t: Share your personal information on public channels!

Customer support trap


While it can be tempting to share your birthday, address, or (sometimes, if you’re desperate enough) the last four digits of your SSN in order to reach issue resolution, you should never do this on public channels. Once they’ve combined shared personally identifiable information (PII) and the data provided on your social channels, it’s easy for hackers to start building a profile of who you are. If you’re not sure if the channel is secure, ask yourself, “If someone logged into my Twitter or Facebook account, could they see the information I sent?” If the answer is yes, then you’re not secure. Yes, this holds true for private and direct messages. Instead of providing your PII on digital channels, ask your support rep if they have a way of collecting that data securely.

Do: Be kind!

Nice customer support


We get it – you’re frustrated. By the time you have to reach out to customer support something has already gone awry. That doesn’t give you a free pass to be rude, unkind, or verbally abusive to your support agent. Some people will argue that if you use extreme or offensive language that you will suddenly become a priority, but businesses are catching on and the leaders are handling all customer issues, not just those of the loudest or angriest. If you’re kind to your support representative, you’re more likely to reach issue resolution and make a new friend in the process.

Don’t: Shame a company!

Customer support decisions


Have you ever been tempted to shame a brand into helping you? Maybe you have posted a rant on your Facebook page or shared vitriolic thoughts on the company’s page. Perhaps you’ve composed a 280 character zinger on Twitter. It’s natural to complain when things don’t go your way, but if you’re genuinely interested in getting your issue solved shaming isn’t the way to go. This guideline goes along well with “be kind” and “be prepared” when you’re reaching out to customer service teams.

Do: Reach out directly to brands!

Reach out to customer support


Many customer-centric brands like Discover are actively monitoring social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. However, if you are attempting to contact a brand in order to receive customer support, you should reach out to them directly. If you’re talking about your problems with a company or product without directly letting them know, it’s just like walking within 50 feet of a help desk and mumbling your complaints under your breath. That might get someone’s attention, but it isn’t guaranteed and won’t get you closer to issue resolution. Check brands contact us pages and social accounts to learn where they provide customer care. Certain channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Messenger even show indicators of whether or not they provide care via social media as well as how long to expect before receiving a reply!

Does this sound like your brand? If so, don’t be embarrassed. You’re not alone and we’re here to help. We’ve got a totally free playbook with tons of tips on how to start doing social care the ‘right way,’ so check it out! And until next time, best of luck with your customer support adventures!