Using Twitter as a Customer Service Platform

Twitter can be an excellent platform to carry out interactive customer support services with your businesses consumers. Just the act of doing so can mark you as a positive brand in the Twitterverse and may bring you followers and observers who could be staking out your products or services for a current or future need of their own.

c/o socialcompass.net

Although customer service itself can often invoke negative emotions and common misgivings, it is designed to help support your own product or service. For some consumers, the time spent waiting for a return email or phone call from a customer service agent can be damaging to the brand itself. After a few customers begin to complain about a company’s bad customer service practices, others can begin to take notice, resulting in very negative effects to the brand name. Customer service does not have to be this way. It does not have to be expensive either.

Why is Twitter Ideal for Customer Service?

It is important to understand why Twitter is a great customer support tool before you can adequately implement it into your social media management strategies.

  • Positive Branding – Because of the nature and the lack of nurture in most forms of customer service, great, real-time interactive customer service will be talked about, hopefully shared. When problems are solved quickly, consumers begin to trust in the brand itself and may even become more interactive participants on your Twitter account.
  • Positive Staff Interaction and Involvement – If your employees can see how their services are paying off on this interesting platform, they can gain a better insight on how their actions impact others.
  • Cost Reduction – Customer service via Twitter eliminates some of the most costly forms. Email or phone customer service staff in a call center can eat away at a bottom line quickly.

Tracking and Analysis

Once you are familiar with how Twitter works as a customer support tool, you should then take steps to understand how to track conversations that revolve around your brand. Users should track any and all relevant keywords including their brand name and any variations of it with one of the many available tracking tools available. Here are two of those tools.

  • Tweetbeep will send you an email with all of the mentions of your brand including any links, allowing you to save the responses and reply back to them if need be.
  • Monitter makes it incredibly easy to track many keywords. The dashboard displays easily readable columns singling out your selected keys. Users can create a new column for each one they track and Monitter will update in real-time every time those words are mentioned.

Transparency is Vital

@DeltaAssist has a great customer service platform on Twitter in their Delta Assist Twitter strategy. Check out how Delta runs their customer service support system on Twitter and how their team carries out service with real-time interaction and brand transparency.

The keys to excellent customer on Twitter are definitely the speed, quality and transparency of your response.  You won’t be able to avoid facing down those negative responses eventually either. You will need to determine the ‘personality’ you plan to reply to those in. Many companies including Taco Bell, have enlisted a sense of humor and humility in their responses to customer support issues and have been received very well for their ‘customer is always right’ attitude and haste in ‘making things right’ for their unsatisfied tweeters.

While you want to be transparent and show the public that you are addressing the issue, once you respond find a way to take the public issue (if its negative) and move it into a private space. The private space can be using Direct Messages if you want to stay on the platform, or you can use send a link to a private chat forum. The important thing here is make sure the public sees you address the concern, but get the negative resolutions into a private space.

Helpful Tips for Good Twitter Customer Service Relationship Building

If you are new at this you can take a few lessons from some of those companies like Starbucks, Taco Bell and Delta Assist and stay on top of a few major elements to keep your consumers following you, and not wander off to others who offer better real-time responses.

c/o likeable.com

It is important to set some standards as well. How long do you want your consumers waiting on an answer? 5 minutes? An hour? Make sure you have a solid plan in place to see that your account is checked with regularity at those times. Always.

Make any and every effort to replicate what is common during face-to-face customer service interactions. There are three easy ways to ensure this. Personalization of the Twitter bio, end your tweets with a personalized signature (initials are great), and where at all possible, use your own face as an avatar instead of the brand logo. If this isn’t an option for you, you can always leave your brand logo on the main account, and have a more personalized account to respond with.

How to Use Direct Messages on Twitter to Your Brands Advantage

The main keys to customer support on Twitter is helping as many people as you can in the shortest period of time without losing customers or even worse, making public faux pas on your Twitter account that could damage your brand permanently. While you want to be transparent, you may also want to get any extremely angry consumers into the direct messages box on your Twitter account as soon as possible. Here is a good 3-step guide to managing the location of your conversation.

So you have found a tweet you need to reply to?

  1. Send out a public tweet explaining briefly the situation.
  2. Send a direct message to any @mentions and go into more detail in the place where the most characters are allowed on Twitter.
  3. If all else fails, go back to @mentions but try to keep that limited to common questions or simple support request. Any consumer needing in-depth help can be taken to DM’s. If you have a consumer who ‘wants their complaint’s to be public, ‘ you can always consider explaining to them that your Twitter feed is public and it is polite to leave it uncluttered for future customers that need help

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About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Comments

  1. Nice post, very in-depth. I have been using Facebook as a customer service tool but Twitter is becoming more and more prominent.

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