How To Use Twitter As A Customer Service Tool


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In just the past few years alone, social media being used for customer service has become mainstream. Everywhere, customers are using social channels, namely Twitter, to post their stories (good or bad) about their experience with a brand. Now, they’re logging onto their favorite social channels with the expectation that they will be able to connect with their favorite businesses. Thus, brands looking to use social media to improve and grow their relationships with their customers have to be able to address customer issues on their social platforms as well.

For the brand hoping to build the goodwill image of its company, Twitter is a powerful weapon. Here are 4 ways to use Twitter as a customer service tool.

Get A Social Media Customer Service Representative

Having a team that tackles issues related to social media customer servicev will be vital to the performance of your Twitter interactions. Dedicating the job to someone who is unfamiliar with social media or even handling the responsibilities yourself can cause problems in the future. Having a customer service team that is geared towards Twitter will be vital to helping your brand promptly and effectively address customer service issues. You’ll want to hand the task off to someone who understands the social etiquette of Twitter and has the time to handle the job. Round up a team of employees who are personable, understanding, patient, and above all Twitter articulate.

Create a Policy

All eyes are on you when it comes to the response you send to a customer who makes a complaint. More than just a social channel, Twitter is an extremely public platform. As soon as you send out a message to another Twitter user, your comments are no longer private. As such, it’s vital to remember that your brand is vulnerable to future criticism and backlash that can come simply at the drop of a misspoken word. Even if you decide to take your conversation off Twitter, your customers have the ability to still share your responses for the world to see. Your best bet in ensuring that your brand comes out smelling like roses from any interaction is to have a Twitter-specific customer service policy in play.

Outline the appropriate way to react to tweets so that your customer service team can always have a handle on how to behave. Address how you’d like your team member to react to any tweets that are a complaint, that are time-sensitive, or sensitive in subject matter. Setting you and your team up with a procedure for these issues will help you as you work to provide your customers with effective solutions.

Be Transparent

When it comes to customer service online there’s one thing to keep in mind: your customers are looking to be heard. If they’ve tweeted at your handle instead of messaging you directly, know that they’re likely looking for some attention and responses from their followers. This sense of exposure is another reason why it is so crucial for your brand to remember the importance of your response. Customers will quickly see through any charade that tries to pull the wool over their eyes and cover up a mistake. It won’t do your brand any good to try to cover your tracks, pretend nothing has happened or downplay a customer’s concerns. The best way to address a customer complaint on Twitter is to apologize to your customer for their troubles, quickly get to the root of the problem and find a solution for them.

Take The Conversation To Twitter’s Direct Messaging Tool

Twitter’s 140 character restriction can be extremely limiting when it comes to trying to solve a solution for your customers. It can be quite a barrier when you’re trying to effectively communicate with your users. Sometimes even your most efficient message is too long to respond with just the limited characters. So as soon as you see that you’ve received a Twitter mention containing a complaint, @reply to the post and let the user know that you will be directly messaging them to address his or her issue.

This kind of reply will accomplish three things for you. One, it will show other customers watching that you are invested in helping them solve problems. Skipping the @reply step and heading straight to a direct message, could give off the impression to any watching eyes that you just didn’t care to respond. Secondly, you’ll be able to sidestep Twitter’s character limit and have a fluid conversation with your customer without having to break up your messages. Thirdly, it will help move the conversation from the public forum. This move won’t stop your customers from screenshotting your conversation and sharing it. However, it will help you to focus your conversation on your customer and communicate seamlessly with them without disruptions from tweets and mentions, outside of the conversation.

Giving your customers a great customer service experience on Twitter won’t always be easy, but over time as you work to grow your customer base it will prove its value. Running a successful Twitter customer service will require you to have a strong team, a clear policy and above all a strong sense of patience and understanding for your customers. With the right attitude and strategy, you’ll be able to growth hack your Twitter presence with just 140 characters or less!

AJ Agrawal
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify


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