How Do #custchat Mavens of Customer Service ACTUALLY Behave On Twitter – The Data says…


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I’ve been curious about how people who advocate for customer service and social media actually use the tools they say businesses should use. That’s because their use of terms like relationships, connections, customer experience, ENGAGEMENT, transparencey and so on are so common, of course these should be the standouts in actually behaving in accordance with their own advice given during their chats.

I decided to do a quick and dirty analysis of exactly how these folks really behave by clasiffying the tweets marked by the Twitter hashtag #chat. Here’s the classification scheme:

Link: A post that is clearly designed to share a link to somewhere else, whether to one’s own site, or material on another person’s site.

RT (Retweet) Resending the tweet of someone else, either verbatim or if it also includes a very brief comment that is clearly not meant to start or respond to a discussion on Twitter. A RT that contained a link was considered an RT and not included in the link category.

Singles: A single is a post without a a link that has some content and COULD be used to start a conversation. IE, that is it’s not a response to someone else. These would be conversational seeds, and include questions.

Convo: A tweet that responds to another person’s tweet or question, either as part of an ongoing multiple tweet thread or simply a one off response. A conversation.

It’s actually quite easy to use this classification system. I expected it would be much more difficult with a lot of overlap but almost all the tweets looked at clearly fell into one of the categories, and only one.

The #Custserv Data (How They Interact On Twitter)

Data was collected on August 12, 2010 for tweets sent between 7:45 a.m. and 12.25 pm, a period of close to five hours, using the tweets marked with #custchat as they appear in my Tweetdeck column set up to track this tag. A total of 80 tweets were found for that period. Here’s the breakdown:





As you can see from the table the clear majority of tweets were retweets (52%) of what others had sent. This is actually interesting and rather useless since those that follow the #custchat tag will see all tweets so tagged at least theoretically, so retweeting post tagged as #custchat is not only pointless if one includes the tag again, but is also annoying to readers who have to wade through all the repetition.

Next most common was th posting of links at 20%.

With the conversational tweets there’s a small glitch. During the period of monitoring, I and another person had a conversation (actually the ONLY conversation that occured that went on for more than a single interchange. My conversation accounted for the majority of the conversational chats. Excluding my conversation only 6% of posts were part of a conversation. If you include mine then that number goes up to 16% but that’s deceptive since I’m not a “real” member of this set of people.

What Does It Mean?

Althought it’s a small sample, it’s hard to argue that those using #custchat are not interacting in any meaningful way and with any frequency at all. Not only are they not interacting but they aren’t TRYING to interact, as indicatd by the very low “singles”, conversation starter Tweets.

Even worse perhaps is that there is virtually ZERO original content or thoughts posted to Twitter using the #custchat hashtag, although certainly the links go to more substantive comments. However, the really good stuff is not posted to Twitter by these people (and tagged with #custserv.

It’s fairly obvious that it’s a case of do as I say, not as I do, with respect to the customer service mavens haunting these particular halls of discussion. While it’s easy to talk about connection, engagement, customer service, relationship building, when one talks about what OTHERS should do, when it comes to these folks, it’s not happening. They ain’t conversin’, dialogin’, or even trying to learn from each other. It’s announcements only!

Make of that what you may.

Footnote: I hope to look at other hashtagged topics to classify the tweets. If you are interested in doing the same, feel free to post your results in the comments section.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


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