Twitter is just as important as your other customer service channels.
With of its convenience and instant availability, Twitter is now being used by customers to voice out brand-related concerns. Recent statistics show how this micro-blogging platform emerged as a core element of brands’ customer service.
• According to Twitter, the number of tweets directed to leading brands has grown by 2.5 times.
• B2C companies are responding to about 60% of tweets directed at them.
• Compared with Facebook users, Twitter users are more likely to follow brands.
• Customers use Twitter to learn about products and services (42%), express their opinions about brands (41%), and seek online customer service (19%).
However, brands on Twitter have to skirt around the limitations of this social platform that may hinder the quality of customer support. The 140-character rule certainly puts a strain on how they reply to customer complaints. They need to craft short replies that don’t leave out important details. In addition, as it’s a public space, everyone can see and judge how a brand engages with the audience in real time. There’s no room for mistakes, thus businesses have to be even more careful.
So although using Twitter for business can be extremely advantageous, having the right social strategy is even more crucial. Even if you originally intended to use it exclusively for social media marketing, you can’t prevent the onrush of customers who see it as an avenue for raising queries and other concerns.
Live by these pieces of advice to enhance your online customer service on Twitter.
1. Know when to move to email or voice.
The most common mistake of companies is that the people who review their feeds are often marketers and not customer service agents. But if you start looking at Twitter as an additional channel for your call center, handling complaints becomes more manageable. Some companies require their agents to create their own Twitter accounts, which they use to reach out to users who mention the brand.
As the conversation starts, however, the tricky part is fitting in a very limited space the recommended solutions to customer complaints. When a complex issue is raised, agents must therefore be at liberty to transfer these interactions to a more appropriate channel, such as email or voice. This will free you from the constraints of 140 characters.
2. Respond with warmth.
• You’re not just a brand. You’re a brand with personality.
• Social networking sites are built to enhance personal connections.
• Personalization is key in online customer service.
The fact that customers can voice out their concerns anytime in various platforms is a sign of empowerment. You’ll be working against this if you fail to respond proactively. Often, this happens when brands underestimate the role that social media plays in maintaining their branding. A complaint aired on Twitter is just as important as that raised via phone, and companies are burdened to show the public that they care for their customers. People will applaud you if you’re able to keep your brand’s personality intact as you engage with your community.
3. Speed matters.
One of the main reasons behind Twitter’s popularity is that it brings brands and customers together in real-time. When customers mention you or reply to your tweets, they expect an instant feedback, and those that get one are more satisfied.
In a world that’s all about connections, brands that make a commitment to fast services are one step ahead of their competitors. It shows that they know what they’re doing and they’re willing to extend this expertise to their customers using the platforms they prefer.
4. Direct customers to an online forum.
Using Twitter’s 140 characters, you can direct customers to an online forum, where there’s a much bigger space dedicated to the issue they need addressed. But only do this if you’re sure that the forum would give them the solutions they’re looking for.
You can also share links to other social networking sites or blogs that contain the information they need. The idea is to maximize the use of your online resources to ensure that your customers are getting the best experience out of the products and services you offer. However, be aware of online security issues that may get in your way.
5. Ask for contact details through DM.
When using Twitter for business, remember that your goal is to build a more tightly-knit community with your target audience. One way to do this is to keep tabs on your customers, listen to their insights, and be prepared to reach out to them within and outside Twitter.
You can collect their contact details through direct messaging (DM). From here, you can build a customer database. This way, you’ll know how to reach your customers through other means, if necessary.