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How Twitter Can Help You Deliver 5-Star Customer Service

by Zia A., posted 2 months ago
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Xbox has a dedicated channel and a support team, 27 experts strong.

Nike’s on a dedicated account, seven days a week, and in seven different languages (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, German, and Japanese.) Hello! Bonjour! Konichiwa!

Target fields 3,500 messages each month and responded to 100,000 customers last year.


What are we talking about? Twitter as a customer service tool.


Customer Service 2.0

Welcome to next-generation customer service, where consumers are demanding faster, more responsive interactions than ever before. And getting it.

According to an article in Adweek, 30% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service Twitter handles.” 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel to get answers to their questions or have their problems solved. 30% of users prefer to raise their beefs on social media, vs. a traditional call centre. And, if Jay Baer is to be believed, 42% of them expect a response within 60 minutes. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.


The Pros of Twitter as a Customer Service Tool

How did Twitter arrive at the top of the totem pole as the holy grail of customer service tools? Well, people value great service. They’re also, according to recent studies, tethered to social media for at least two hours a day. Combine that with the aggravation of navigating a call centre’s canned messages – “press 1 for billing, press 2 for technical support, press 3 to be put on permanent hold” – and you’ve paved the way for Twitter to rise to the top.

What are some of the pros of harnessing this platform to commune with your customers? According to Jeff Lesser (product marketing guru at Twitter), a bigger audience, PR opportunities, and cost savings stand out. Here are a few takeaways from a speech he gave at the Social Media Marketing World conference in 2016:

  • Twitter is public. Yes, you’re responding to a customer 1:1, but the Twitterverse is watching. And if you do well (i.e. respond quickly and resolve the problem ASAP), the public will bear witness to your top-tier service and take note.
  • Positivity gets amplified. Not only can your followers track your interactions as they take place, but you also have the opportunity to retweet any comments or conversations to a larger audience. Amplify your wins.
  • Happy customers. Companies that use Twitter as a “social care channel” report a 19% increase in customer satisfaction. And, after a good interaction with a company, 77% of people feel more positive toward that brand. Happy customers = happy business 🙂
  • Lower costs. The average cost of a Twitter response is a buck, whereas the average cost of a customer interaction via a call centre, is $6. Do the math and you’ll see, Twitter saves you money.


5 Ways to Get it Right

What do the best customer service tweets have in common? How do you leverage Twitter to problem solve and boost your brand? Here are five important things to keep in mind.

Be focused.

Create a dedicated Twitter handle for customer service, that’s different than your main account. Look at @Nike / @NikeSupport, @Xbox / @XboxSupport, @Target / @AskTarget as examples.

Companies with a dedicated handle get a better response than companies without. Plus, by establishing a separate Twitter handle for customer support, you can divert any potentially negative attention away from your primary feed.

Twitter customer service

Be conversational.

You’re a human, they’re a human. Make sure that’s reflected in your messages. Respond to tweets as if you were talking to someone face to face. Make the exchange appropriate, but conversational and fun. Don’t be afraid to use GIFs or emojis (just be sure to do it after you’ve solved their problem).

Twitter customer service

Be personal.

There’s nothing worse than reaching out to a company and receiving a canned response. The beauty of social media is that it allows people to connect directly with brands one-on-one, in ways that were impossible in the past. Don’t ruin that by tweeting a reply that makes them doubt you even read their initial complaint. Show customers you value their business by taking the time to personalize your tweets. Use their name (not just their Twitter handle). And don’t be afraid to go “off script.”

Twitter customer service

Be quick.

Statistics show that the faster you respond, the more satisfied your customers will be. They’re reaching out on social media because it’s quick and easy. So don’t disappoint. If you’re not monitoring your customer service account 24/7 (à la Nike) then manage expectations by including the hours in your bio so they’ll know when to expect a response.

Twitter customer service


Be savvy.

Yes, Twitter can be a powerful customer service tool, but know when to transition to a direct message and take things “offline.” That includes: when you need private customer details and info; when you need to say something without the restriction of a character limit; or when the message thread involves a lot of back and forth. Once the problem is resolved you can always go back to a public tweet to wish the customer a great day.

 Twitter customer service

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