Marketing Monday: How You Can Be Successful with Customer Service on Twitter / Business Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Customers want timely responses from brands they reach out to online. Twitter, one of the fastest moving networks, has become one of the...

In the past, businesses connected with customers through direct mail, phone calls, and in-person conversations regularly. Now, customers are looking for more channels to have their questions answered and aren't shying away from reaching out to businesses online. Social networks are no different.

More and more, customers want timely responses from brands they reach out to online. Twitter, one of the fastest moving networks, has become one of the major customer service outlets for today's consumer. Here are three steps you can take now to be more successful with customer service on Twitter.

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1. Better Listening

Social listening is crucial when you're looking at customer service. According to Conversocial, 37% of tweets mentioning retailers are customer service related. Yet, only 3% of users use an @mention. This means your business needs to monitor the network more closely than just by your username and handle. If you have the resources, a dedicated customer service handle may be beneficial for your business and make social listening easier. However, its success will depend on the size of your business and customer base. A customer service account allows your team greater flexibility when responding to questions without comprising the brand voice. Simply Measured found that 30% of the businesses analyzed had handles specifically for customer service and having one increased response rate.

How BDC Listens

We use custom hashtags on the Twitter, such as #bdcadvisor for our email newsletter, and platforms such as SocialBro and Hootsuite to monitor conversations around our brand. When we see a customer service related tweet coming through, we respond in a timely manner to direct the question to the correct department via email.

Related:How and other B2B Marketers Use Pinterest Effectively

2. Increased Response Rate

Managing the negative impact of a disgruntled customer can be crucial on networks such as Twitter. While not every brand mention may solicit a response, your business should aim for a high response rate. The average response rate to customer service mentions, according to Simply Measured, was 42% with the best response rate for an account being 75%, though getting above 60% is considered high. If a customer service question is coming through, you should aim to respond to each one. Even if you've just answered a question, let the customer know where they can find the information they're after.

How BDC Responds

On Twitter, when we receive customer service related questions, we often send the user a direct message which asks them for their email. This way, they know we have received their question or comment and we also have the opportunity to send over the correct information or update without worrying about the character limit.

Related:How to Avoid These 3 Small Business Social Media Mistakes

3. Faster Response Time

Without the right resources, the response time can suffer. With an average of just over 5 hours, customers are left waiting for a response. On a fast-paced and ever-changing network such as Twitter, a slow response time may not be meeting the expectations of customers and causing your service to suffer. According to The Social Habit, 42% of social media users expect to receive a customer support response within the hour, but only 10% of dedicated customer service accounts have an average response time of less than an hour.

How BDC Is Faster

Because our monitoring tools are constantly open, we can respond to questions in a timely manner. We also send out "Thank You" messages either through a tweet or direct message. Social media is about engagement and we want to respond and engage with those who mention our business.

Your business can improve its customer service on Twitter by focusing on the conversations that warrant a response and increasing response rate while decreasing the time it takes to send a response. Social networks are about engaging with an audience -- your audience. Customers want to connect with business through a number of channels and one of those is Twitter. Aim to meet the expectations of customers with a response in a timely manner and you can be more successful with customer service on Twitter.

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