The 10 Commandments of Customer Service on Twitter


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ten_commandments_customer=_service Photo courtesy of @jbtaylor / Flickr Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of @jbtaylor / Flickr Creative Commons
Frank Reactions recently tested 104 companies that had Twitter accounts on how long it took them to answer a tweet for help. Here are 10 important lessons for giving customers what they want and need when they ask for help on Twitter. These recommendations are aimed at helping you do the two most important things: answering promptly and answering well.

  1. Thou Shalt Designate A Responsible Person – Ensure that one person has clear responsibility for monitoring and responding to Tweets during every time period. If nobody has clear responsibility, Tweets from your customers (or potential customers) will fall through the cracks. That said, also have designated alternates for backup.
  2. Thou Shalt Not Ignore Evenings & Weekends Ideally, you will have different paid staff on Twitter full-time during evenings and weekends, but if this is not realistic for you, make sure you at least have one person who is responsible during those times, with their phone set to alert them whenever your brand is mentioned on Twitter.
  3. Thou Shalt Not Keep Customers in the Dark – Your Twitter profile must state when it is staffed, so no one will expect service when you might not be there. Remember to state your time zone. Provide alternate ways customers can get help during off-hours.
  4. Thou Shalt Train Thy Staff – Develop procedures for handling twitter requests in a friendly, professional manner. Then train your staff and give them practice handling different possible scenarios.
  5. Thou Shalt Template Yet Personalize – Have templated responses for common queries, but train staff to personalize the responses. They should at least use the Tweeter’s name and sound friendly, not bureaucratic.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Treat Customers as Idiots – Never just point people back to your website. They probably looked for their answer there before reaching out to you on Twitter. If you insist on pointing them back to the website, at least be sure you give them a link to the most relevant page and give them an option of another way to get help if they can’t find the answer online.
  7. Thou Shalt Take The Extra Step – Many large companies have a separate Twitter customer service handle, but often customers won’t look for that. They’ll find your main Twitter account and post their help request there. Do not make them repost over at the other account. That’s your issue, not theirs. You should automatically forward the help request to your service staff, and have a system that ensures service staff are aware of such requests the moment they arrive.
  8. Thou Shalt Never Force Thy Tweeter to Speak – While it is often easier to solve a problem through conversation, people who choose to Tweet often do so because they don’t like making phone calls. Try to solve the problem using the medium they approached you in. You can offer telephone support as an alternative, but the choice to use it should rest with the customer.
  9. Thou Shalt Apologize – Don’t be defensive. If your organization (or even one of its customer-facing partners, such as a retailer) messed up, apologize immediately. That opens the door for a productive conversation about how to move forward in a way that will leave you and your customer satisfied.
  10. Thou Shalt Monitor Thy Troops – Regularly audit your Twitter account to ensure that nobody asking you for help has been ignored or overlooked. Also verify regularly that all requests are being handled promptly and well. And remember to repeat Twitter training as new staff come on board.

If you are interested in reading the full study results, you can get it at

Tema Frank
Tema Frank, Chief Instigator at Frank Reactions, is a pioneer in assessing multi-channel customer experience. She was testing omni-channel customer service with her 1st company, Web Mystery Shoppers, before "omnichannel" was a thing! Hers was one of the world's 1st companies to do real-world testing of online and offline customer service & usability. A best-selling author & highly rated international speaker, she hosts the Frank Reactions podcast, and is the author of the new book PeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule. Get the 1st chapter free at .


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