In the modern economy, amazing customer service means meeting people where they are.
For most people, that place is social media.
Specifically, Twitter offers brands access to instant, direct conversations with customers. This affords a powerful opportunity to answer questions, respond to criticism, and elevate your brand.
But many companies just aren’t sure how to use Twitter for customer service. That’s what we’re going to walk through in this post.
Social media = key component of digital customer service
With social media so central to modern life, businesses need to prioritize how their brands are perceived on these platforms.
Sixty-three percent of customers expect companies to respond on social media, and 59 percent say social media has made customer service better. The implication is clear: social media must be a core component of your digital customer service efforts.
Positive, public interactions on social media can prove that you “walk the walk” when it comes to taking care of customers. But negative interactions — or, worse, having no interactions at all — can be detrimental to your brand.
Granted, though, handling customer service interactions over Twitter can seem daunting. That’s why upfront planning and strategy can go a long way.
Why use Twitter for customer service?
Using social media for customer service, and Twitter specifically, allows you to offer direct, immediate, and visible support to customers and prospects. In turn, this can help you:
- Solve customer problems fast. By meeting the expectations of the 75% of Twitter users that expect businesses to respond quickly.
- Save on costs. By not having to hire a call center and providing a public record of responses to common questions.
- Keep your finger on your customers’ pulse. By monitoring the sentiment of conversations in real time (both positive and negative).
- Build your brand reputation. By demonstrating your responsiveness and willingness to listen to customers.
Since your customers are already (most likely) on Twitter, your presence there greatly increases your access to them. Not only that, but customers actually prefer it. In fact, 64 percent of customers on Twitter say they would rather interact via message with a dedicated support handle than a phone call.
On top of that, Harvard Business Review reported that customers who had a customer support interaction on Twitter were more likely to choose that company over a competitor.
One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s so easy to be responsive. A simple “we’re glad you had a great experience with our product!” or even “we’re sorry you had a bad experience, let us help fix the problem” can go a long way.
And because these conversations are happening publicly, you can demonstrate that your brand is trustworthy, reliable, and responsive — for all to see.
Acquire is a full-service CX platform that integrates directly with Twitter and other social media apps.
How to start using Twitter for customer service
When launching a Twitter customer experience and service offering, you need to have a plan. Ask yourself the following questions before starting:
- What approach is going to work best for your brand?
- What should the handle’s “voice” be?
- How responsive will you be? Will you have limited hours? (If so, you should post them in your bio.)
- Who on your team will be responsible for monitoring and responding to customer queries?
Only once you’ve answered these questions can you think about getting the ball rolling with Twitter for customer service.
Here’s how to get started.
Choose the account you’ll use
Start by defining which account you’ll use. For example, HubSpot, a marketing SaaS brand, also uses a dedicated @HubspotSupport Twitter account.
When you onboard new customers, direct them to your handle if they need to contact you. You may also want them to use a specific hashtag.
Set boundaries around how you use the account
You can’t use Twitter for everything. So it’s important to set boundaries and policies around how you’re going to use the account for customer service:
- Which types of issues will you handle via social media?
- What are the escalation paths for customer service requests?
- What conversations do you handle publicly vs. via DM?
- How will you handle sensitive information?
- When do you move conversations off-platform?
Setting these policies and making relevant information clear to customers will help avoid confusion and frustration — on all sides.
Train your support team
Generally, customer service experts aren’t Twitter experts, and vice versa. So it’s important that you train your team on how to best use Twitter for customer service.
This includes helping team members figure out how to personalize responses, sign with their name (if necessary), deflect unhappy customers, and escalate certain requests.
Tips for providing the best customer service on Twitter
Your Twitter customer service strategy will reflect your brand. So you don’t just want it to be good — you want it to be great. Here are some tips to help make that happen.
1. Respond to issues quickly
We mentioned earlier that 75 percent of customers on Twitter expect a quick response. The more prompt you are, the better your brand will look.
This requires a dedicated social listening platform and even automated alerts to your Twitter managers, so they can pick up and reply as soon as possible, from wherever they are.
2. Know when to move conversations off-platform
Not every conversation needs to happen on social media.
Some issues are too complex to resolve in 280 characters. Others require personal information that you don’t want to broadcast. And some may just be better handled by a phone call.
Take Google Drive, for example. As they worked with a customer on a glitch in the system, they sent a few Tweets back and forth, then directed her to their support team for further help.
Most likely, their team had a document they could refer to detailing the kinds of issues they could handle via Twitter, and which ones they needed to refer to the support team.
3. Don’t ignore feedback
Whether the conversation is positive or negative, it pays to be responsive. Ignoring a negative comment (or just clapping back with a canned response) can do your brand more harm than good.
Instead, respond to the negative feedback openly and honestly:
- If you genuinely made a mistake, own it & apologize
- Show that you care about the feedback
- Demonstrate that you’re willing to improve things so that it doesn’t happen again
- Thank the customer for their business, and offer them some compensation for their trouble
By making difficult interactions a matter of public record, you can build trust in your brand, showing that you will work with customers honestly to resolve issues.
4. Showcase your brand’s personality
You’re not a robot. Your team isn’t a robot. Your brand isn’t a robot.
So don’t write your Tweets like a robot.
As you solve customer service issues, keep a clear brand voice and personality during the conversation. A well-placed GIF or emoji can make all the difference, and reassure customers that there is indeed a human on the other end.
5. Monitor your brand mentions
Your strategy should include both direct requests for help, and brand @mentions that present customer service opportunities. Some mentions will require responses, and others won’t. But you won’t be able to tell one from the other if you aren’t looking for them in the first place.
6. Humanize your support team
Another way to show the human side of your brand is to showcase your support team. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Refer to yourself (“we”/“I”) during the Tweet, using real emotions (e.g. “we’re excited about this too!)
- Use initials or names of team members to sign off Tweets
- Always use a conversational tone
- Use behind-the-scenes images of your team at work when appropriate
7. Leverage the intersection of personalization and customization
Recently, we wrote about the difference between personalization and customization in customer experience. The fundamental difference between the two is that personalization is controlled by the company, and customization is decided by the customer.
The great thing about Twitter and social media for customer service is that you can leverage both to completely “wow” the customer.
For instance, you could personalize a response by including the customer’s name, or referencing something from their bio or recent Tweets.
But you can also enable them to customize the experience by choosing whether they’d like to continue the conversation in the DMs.
Start providing the best customer service on Twitter
Providing customer service on Twitter doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be intentional and personal.
But Twitter isn’t the only channel where you engage with customers. Your CX will touch multiple channels, including your website, CRM, eCommerce sites, chatbots, marketing platforms, and more.
Having one centralized CX platform can make sure that you have the full picture anytime a customer mentions you on Twitter. That way, you can provide a truly personalized and impactful response, no matter where or when it’s from.
For more information on how Acquire’s CX platform integrates with Twitter, click here.