Will Twitter Be The New Customer Service 1-800 Number?


Share on LinkedIn

Announcing the Twitter Firehose! Your Access To All Customer Conversations on Twitter

Today we announced something we’ve been working on for a while now, access for our users to listen to, analyze and respond to their customers on Twitter via access to the complete Twitter Firehose. I bet some of you out there didn’t even know there was a Twitter Firehose? Well- most of the applications out there that enable users to access Twitter use the Twitter API, this API feeds to these applications some of, but not all of, the 90+ million Tweets a day that happen on Twitter. With the Twitter Firehose Attensity provides access to ALL OF THE TWITTER conversations that are taking place out there.

This means that our users can analyze all Twitter discussions, identifying trends, sentiment, areas of issue and opportunity using Attensity360 and Attensity Analyze. Our Respond for Social Media product automatically takes these discussions, sorts them, classifies them, prioritizes them based on your business rules and then routes them to the right people in your organization for response. Of course, there are certain “Tweets” that you don’t want to reply to, Respond figures that out too and only sends users things they should respond to. (If you want to learn more about Respond for Social Media take some time out to view this webinar.)

Below is a short video on that process.

The New Customer Service 1-800 Number?

So now what do I mean about the “new customer service 1-800 number?” Well – there has been a big change over the course of the last decade around how consumers want to receive service. I’d rather go to a website and find an answer, versus wait on hold for a service agent to answer the phone and help me. I look for help in community forums, get advice on purchases on review sites and even ask opinions (and give my opinion/post a complaint) on Twitter and Facebook. At Attensity, we get customers asking us questions about our product on Twitter. Just a few weeks ago we contacted our cable provider on Twitter and actually got a response to our question faster than it would have taken to look-up their 1-800 # or even search for the answer on their site….

So, do I actually think customer service will move to Twitter? Well, I think some of it will and has already – so companies – you have to be able to access all of Twitter! But I think Twitter is a metaphor for social media in general. My Mom still laughs at me and says “twit what?” when I mention Twitter to her BUT she is the first to send me a link to a forum that talks about how to wean your kid off wearing a diaper at night (we are at that stage :-) ) or is the first to figure out why her dishwasher is making a certain noise by searching online.

So, maybe Google + Twitter+Forums+Web Self-Service is the new Customer Service 1-800 Number? I think so!

What do you think?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle deHaaff
Michelle leads marketing at Medallia, the leader in SaaS Customer Experience Management and has over 18 years of experience in marketing, branding, product management and strategic partnering in Silicon Valley. Michelle came to Medallia from Attensity where as Vice President of Marketing and Products she led the transformation of the brand and the products to be the leader in Social Analytics and Engagement. Michelle also led Marketing at AdSpace Networks, was a GM of Products at Blue Martini Software and worked at Ernst & Young as a CRM practice manager.


  1. Michelle, your post is dead-on. Recently I experienced terrible (as in “completely unresponsive”) customer service when I called both DishNetwork and Bissell on different matters a week apart. After trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get the help I needed, I tweeted about each of the experiences. Literally within minutes I had responses from each of the companies.

    I don’t know whether I was more appalled as a marketer or as a consumer. But I do know that many companies need to synchronize or integrate their digital/social media efforts with their traditional Customer Service functions. Not to do so will almost guarantee a loss of customers to the competition.

  2. As of now Twitter is a joke for customer service.

    Companies do not answer, rarely update and when they do have little more to say then some lame promo.

    Sites like ours which are focused on customer service and a few others seem more likely to be able to address customer service meaningfully.

    The Twitter dirtily secret seems to be lack of substantive content and use.

  3. Thanks for your reply to the post. Like I noted in the post, I think customer service has migrated somemwhat to the web and social media, online services like MeasuredUP and GetSatisfaction play into that for sure. And I think service will continue to move to channels that are easy for customers to access, when they want to access it. To me, Twitter is a kind of metaphor for that (at least that is what I tried to convey.)

  4. Michelle:

    This is the first time I have seen Twitter’s customer service functionality examined in this manner. Really like it. And I can very much see it becoming the world’s defacto 1-800 number. Thanks for this – brilliant!

  5. Hi Michelle,
    I agree customers will choose the channel that is most convenient to them. Network Solutions (I work there) responds to customers on Twitter as @netsolcares and many customers are pleasantly surprised. You should take a look at the social customer engagement index at thesocialcustomer.com that says right now less than 5% of customer service us being done in the social media right now, so more is yet to come. Network Solutions and UMD did a survey of small business called the Small Business success index that has stats on small business use of social media at growsmartbusiness.com


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here