Most customer service channels include telephone or email support; often, the experience – especially over the phone – isn’t user-friendly. Many of us have had to wait on hold with customer service, or often been transferred to various departments to connect to the right person. With email, there’s often a prolonged response delay.
However, as more companies develop a social media presence, social media platforms are becoming excellent customer service tools. In particular, Twitter is revolutionizing customer service with its unique immediacy and reach.
We’ll look at why Twitter is an efficient support tool and how to use Twitter to strengthen your customer service offerings and provide a great customer experience.
Twitter can help you avoid typical customer service pitfalls because it helps you stay responsive, transparent and able to rectify mistakes immediately.
Why Twitter shines as a support tool
Twitter provides a new dimension to customer service; it allows companies to reduce customer wait times without incurring additional call center expenses. At the same time, it helps businesses increase brand awareness and maintain a reputable brand image.
Here are some reasons Twitter shines as a support tool:
- Twitter allows for real-time support. Unlike traditional channels, businesses can answer Twitter queries and respond to Twitter mentions quickly, if not instantly, to provide truly excellent customer service.
- Twitter is a public environment. Another benefit of using Twitter as a customer service channel is that any support you give is in the public domain. This public aspect can strengthen your company’s reputation by showcasing your thoughtful responses and immediate solutions. Potential customers can see that you provide a delight standard of customer service and are more likely to do business with your company.
- Customers welcome Twitter as a support channel. According to Twitter, nearly two-thirds of customers on Twitter say they’d prefer to message a dedicated support handle than call a company’s customer support line. As your customers age, this preference is bound to increase since millennials and Gen Zers have grown up doing everything online. Providing customer support how and where customers want is the first step in driving customer satisfaction.
- Twitter is a proactive customer support channel. With inbound customer support channels like web forms, phone and email, you must wait for customers to contact you about their issues. With Twitter, you can be proactive. Monitor your Twitter account to find customers who had a less-than-perfect experience. Proactively reach out to them to resolve their issue for next-level customer support. This is also likely to boost customer loyalty and reduce the number of customers giving you negative online reviews.
- Twitter helps you save money. Having customer service reps use Twitter to respond to customer inquiries is less expensive than outsourcing customer service to a call center. Using Twitter’s response function is smart because all exchanges are public and indexed. Customers seeking information might find the answer to their question on your Twitter profile page and may not need to contact you at all.
- Twitter is an efficient customer service channel. Twitter helps you increase your efficiency in responding to customer questions. Because Twitter limits tweets to 280 characters, customers must be relatively concise when sharing their issues. Precise information leads to more efficient customer service that solves more problems quickly.
Social media can be part of your customer retention strategy because it allows you to engage your target audience and immediately respond to and solve their concerns.
How to use Twitter as a customer support tool
Follow these best practices when using Twitter as a customer support tool.
1. Solve customer problems quickly with Twitter.
Try to be as prompt as possible when responding to customers on Twitter. If you can’t respond immediately with an answer, let the customer know right away that you’ve received the message and are looking into it. When you have the answer, share it as soon as possible.
If you can’t provide the answer on Twitter because it’s too complex or includes private information relating to the customer’s account, give the customer details on how to contact you or direct them to a support document on your website.
2. Track conversations on Twitter and improve customer support.
To provide impeccable customer service on Twitter, track all your conversations with customers and other mentions about your brand. Keep information like the customer’s name, username and the product name they’re discussing. Save any comments to get an idea of what people think of your business so you can track industry trends.
Monitoring tools can help you with this task by alerting you via email when information about your business or products is published online. You can refine your customer support by tracking trends to increase overall customer satisfaction.
An online reputation management service can monitor social media mentions, including those on Twitter, to analyze and improve your reputation.
3. Be available on Twitter to answer queries.
If you decide to use Twitter for customer support, ensure your team is available to respond to customer tweets. Availability is crucial on Twitter. If you set up an account and don’t use it, public perception will likely be negative.
Appoint team members to manage your Twitter account on weeknights and weekends, or post customer service hours in your Twitter bio to set expectations.
4. Use Twitter to build your brand reputation.
In addition to providing a powerful customer support platform, Twitter can help you build and protect your brand reputation online. It can also help you shorten your response time, resolve issues intelligently, build a more personal relationship with your followers and reach more potential customers.
5. Create a dedicated support handle on Twitter.
According to Twitter, more than half (58%) of Twitter users expect brands to have a support handle. Support handles help clearly direct customers where to go for support; they also have the unspoken promise of a dedicated support rep ready to resolve customer issues. In fact, 64% of Twitter users feel that brands with a dedicated support handle are doing more for their customers.
6. Let customers know about your dedicated Twitter support handle.
Given the positive associations customers have with a dedicated support handle, it only makes sense to let customers know about it after creating one. Use your Twitter account, other social media accounts and any digital marketing strategies to promote your dedicated Twitter support handle.
7. Publicly answer frequently asked questions on Twitter.
If many people have the same issue, proactively post the solution. This makes it quicker and easier for customers to resolve their issues, while reducing the number of customer service interactions. Your service reps will be free to pursue proactive customer support and answer more questions.
8. Speak like a human on Twitter.
Although you can use some prepared responses to typical questions, your Twitter customer service reps should type in a conversational tone. They should be warm, informative and sincere. Don’t be afraid to make the interaction interesting and fun. Social media is a more relaxed channel than email or even chat.
9. Respond to customers how they initiated the communication.
If a customer DMs your customer support handle, respond the same way. But if they reach out on your public Twitter feed, respond to them there. If responding in a public forum, be careful not to compromise personal information. If sensitive information is required, take it to a private DM.
One in 4 customers will tweet their customer service queries publicly to get a faster response.
Brands that use Twitter for customer support
Many reputable businesses use Twitter to handle customer service queries. Twitter’s direct-to-consumer capabilities are unparalleled, and influential brands are taking advantage of the platform’s versatility. Here are a few examples.
Eyeglass brand Warby Parker is well known for its customer service. It has a Twitter handle (@WarbyParkerHelp) specifically dedicated to responding to customer issues. If you scroll through the company’s feed, you’ll find retweets from hundreds of real people testifying to the brand’s superb customer service.
Providing real client testimonials is a smart and innovative way to leverage a Twitter feed. Everyone can relate to the annoyance of being put on hold by a customer service department for hours. Warby Parker has managed to eliminate this dread by utilizing its satisfied customer base. The message is especially powerful on Twitter because you can click on a profile and see that it’s a real person, not an imaginary client fabricated for marketing purposes.
Online footwear giant Zappos is another popular retailer that uses Twitter to communicate with customers. It’s known for responding to compliments and fielding various user questions. Its responses are always quick, helpful and tailored to respond directly to the original tweet (as opposed to an automated response).
This approach allows the company to seem more human in its customer interactions. No one wants to feel like they’re expressing their concerns to a robot, and Twitter is an amazing tool for bridging the gap between corporations and consumers. Modern shoppers are more brand-conscious than ever, and establishing yourself as a company that cares about people is a good technique to connect with your audience meaningfully.
Design software company Adobe is another great example of a business that uses Twitter to help customers. Users can tweet specific questions about using the software and can expect a detailed response that provides a solution directly from the AdobeXD Twitter account.
Having trouble editing an image in Photoshop? Instead of spending hours trying to figure it out for yourself on YouTube, tweet at Adobe with your issues, and the company will respond promptly.
Customers rarely take the time to call customer service with these types of issues. It’s a smart move by Adobe because it prevents users from getting frustrated with the software and abandoning it or switching to a simpler competitor. It also helps build brand loyalty if customers feel you understand their problems and are willing to take the time to help.
Twitter is an excellent tool to add to your service strategies
Twitter is an excellent customer support tool that can save you hours of fielding phone calls and answering questions via email. More importantly, it creates an instant connection with your customers and gives you a chance to show them – and everyone watching – how much you care about them.