So what good is Twitter anyway?


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You’ve probably read a lot of “how to” guides over the past year about using Twitter. First, there’s listening to the conversation, then there’s participating, and finally there’s collaborating with customers to solve their issues. You’ve also read other “how-to’s” about reaching out and engaging customers without spamming them. Today, I’d like to discuss neither. Over the past year, we’ve used Twitter as a powerful lead generation tool to identify qualified prospects with a real need for our products. Not only that, we’ve figured out how to use information gleaned from the Twittersphere in sales proposals to support our business cases. I’ll share with you how we do this.

Our company is in the business of eliminating the pain of hold time in contact centers. It’s a problem that causes enormous customer frustration, and can be solved in a way that actually saves companies money. But believe it or not, a lot of companies don’t even know they have a problem with hold time. One reason is that many contact centers take a weekly or monthly reading of their performance that’s based on averages. The result is watered-down stats that don’t reflect peak call times, like Monday mornings or Friday afternoons when hundreds or even thousands of customers may be left high and dry waiting in queue for service. The point is, sometimes it’s difficult to get folks to recognize that there’s a problem, and this is where Twitter helps.

Our inside sales reps frequently visit and type in the search phrase “on hold with” to see who is anxiously waiting on hold, with whom, and for how long. At first, it was fun to read the profanity-laced remarks about companies and their crummy customer service. But soon, we were taken aback by the sheer quantity of people regularly tweeting about a problem so specific and at the core of our business. Consumers have no problem naming names either, with the IRS taking the prize for placing people on hold. But that’s just today. Next month it could be a different company or agency, maybe even yours.

The ebb-and-flow of the stream of social consciousness that is Twitter reveals events and problems in real-time. For solution providers who track the persistent nature of these problems, this information is the equivalent of golden nuggets. But that’s just the beginning. Besides providing us with critical information and sharing the tweets with the culprits …errr, I mean prospects to draw their attention to the problem, we look even deeper. We’ve developed what I call a “tweet-reach” score based on the total number of followers who are listening to the total number of complaints on a particular topic for a particular company. With the viral nature of Twitter, this factor can grow to campaign-size proportions in no time at all.

The tweet-reach can help measure the size and scope of any problem identified by your customers. For example, information that is tweeted and re-tweeted by only a few customers who have small lists of followers will have a short or narrow tweet-reach versus a long or broad tweet-reach. Complaints are indicated with a negative value and compliments with a positive one.

As you can imagine, bringing this kind of verifiable customer comment data to the table when pitching a customer service solution is invaluable. But we don’t stop there. After our solution has been implemented, we try to immediately measure the positive tweet-reach score by tabulating all of the positive tweets from our client’s customer base, and we provide that feedback to the customer as well. TweetDeck™ is a great tool for that.

So, what key words can you Twitter search that will lead you to new customers? Are you using Twitter in a similar way for lead generation? Are you calculating a tweet-reach score for the topics your customers are talking about? Let us know by posting a comment below.

Eric Camulli
As Vice President for 7signal, Eric is focused on helping organizations bring high quality and highly productive experiences to people using Wi-Fi networks everywhere. In today's connected economy, our dependency on robust, reliable Wi-Fi is paramount. Eric is dedicated to ensuring that companies deliver peak wireless performance so that they can compete in a marketplace exploding with wireless devices.


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