How to Help a Customer in 140 Characters or Less

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How to Help a Customer in 140 Characters or Less

As customers are relying on Twitter to ask questions and file complaints, brands are taking notice and making the right efforts to engage and provide customer service. A recent report by Simply Measured shows that 32% of brands now have dedicated customer support handles and there is a 63% increase, quarter-to-quarter, in the number of brands that send over 50 customer service tweets a day.

Why should you use Twitter for customer service? Here are a few top reasons:

  • It’s free and convenient – You will have to train the right people to respond, but there should not be a technology obstacle to begin answering questions directed to your brand handle.
  • You can increase your agent productivity – If you experience downtime between calls, have your agents cross-trained and prepared to respond on Twitter.
  • Save your customers’ time – Answer their questions in the channel of their choice.
  • You can talk to everyone – A tweet is public and can be heard by all those who listening. Showing a positive customer service experience can create valuable WOM and help your reputation.

This list can easily go on, but the question remains, whether or not your company can really provide a quality customer experience with only 140 characters?

People use social media to air their grievances. This does not mean you will be able to solve all problems on a public channel like Twitter; however, by providing timely and immediate responses, you are taking a step towards positively managing your customer relationships. The vast majority of your followers are your current customers and providing social customer care will help retain them. There are more risks associated with not providing service and ignoring your customers.

Here are some things to consider when developing your Twitter customer care strategy:

  • Determine your hours of coverage – Clearly state when support is available in your bio description or cover photo, so your customers have accurate expectations of your response time.
  • Develop or rewrite your current answers – With the short character limit, use accepted shorthand and be creative.
  • Decide when to re-direct to other channels – Make the decision of what to acknowledge and what to respond to. If you cannot resolve the issue in 1-2 tweets, take the conversation to DM or the phone.
  • Create a dedicated customer care handle – Keep your main handle to push marketing messages and use a separate line to deal with customer concerns. Use the first few months to push people to that handle by answering questions from the brand and directing them to the customer care handle for future questions.
  • Empower your employees – Develop specific training on your company’s approach to social customer service. Try and avoid a long approval process and trust them to make the right decision on how to appropriately handle your customers.

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