Colleges Get Mixed Reviews When Using Twitter for Customer Service

While some university handles ignore students, others make a strong effort to address their concerns.

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In the four years she's been on Twitter, Bartling, of UNL's communications office, has fielded customer service issues from students frustrated that they couldn't get into a class to complaints about parking tickets. "I try to monitor those sorts of things; it's just good public relations," she says. "I'm surprised we don't get more."

That's not really a bad thing, says Harrison Kratz, community manager for MBA@UNC, an online M.B.A. program at University of North Carolina­—Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School. According to Kratz, many schools have a "great voice and love getting their students to interact," but—like most brands—they can't solve private matters in a public forum, so students shouldn't expect them to by taking to Twitter.

"Generally, I think students should do their best to solve their problems internally from the beginning, because that is where the resolution will ultimately be found," he says.

Though he feels students should think before Tweeting their complaints, Kratz encourages applicants to study prospective schools' handles as part of the application process. "When searching for schools, I think students should look at a school's social media presence when applying," he says, "because it usually is a strong indicator of the school's approach to innovation and development."

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