Customer service is one of the key aspects of running a successful business. People have enquiries, complaints, problems in using a product they ordered or in tracking an order, and they want to see that their issues are solved promptly and competently. In the old days, people would go directly to the store; later on they would call the customer support toll free number or send an email; these days, people take to the social media.
Social media platforms have become the number one communication platform between businesses and customers. Businesses promote their offers and try to gain more customers, and customers share their issues and expect to receive a solution to them. One of the most popular platforms for sharing these concerns and receiving answers is Twitter.
In a manner of speaking, Twitter is the instant messaging version of social media. The structure of a tweet, restricted to 140 characters, encourages direct and to the point messages, clear questions and even clearer answers, which remove all confusion and facilitate a quick understanding both of the problem and of the solution.
Today we will discuss the most effective ways in which your company can conduct its customer service activities using Twitter. These ideas are extremely simple and easy to apply tips, which have already been tested and proven by many companies worldwide.
1. Create a Specific Handle for Customer Service
A company which has intense activity on Twitter receives hundreds of tweets and mentions every day from customers and prospects. On one hand, it is difficult to sift through all the tweets, on the other hand, you cannot afford to leave a customer enquiry unanswered. In order to solve this issue, many companies have resorted to a simple and effective solution: a separate handle for questions, enquiries and complaints.
After being tentatively promoted by a few top companies, Twitter users have embraced this new form of customer service and have started to search on their own for this specific handle for business accounts they follow.
2. Let Customers Know Whom They Are Talking To
People like to talk to other people, not to automated replies set up by social media tools. When they have a complaint or a problem to solve, this is even more important. You should instruct all your employees who answer customer enquiries on Twitter to use their own name in the replies and thus add to the human touch of the interaction between the business and its customers.
This is also useful for creating accountability – at every moment, the company management can check and see how the employees interact with customers, and identify those who did not act appropriately or according to internal rules in answering tweets.
3. Channel Sensitive Topics to Direct Message
The most sensitive kind of information is personal data – email, billing information, mobile phone, purchased items. This information should not be requested or provided by public tweets. In order to ensure the privacy of such communications, Twitter launched a special service named Direct Message – which works exactly like private messages on Facebook™.
Once you realise that solving the customer’s problems requires the disclosure of personal data, initiate a Direct Message conversation with them and assure them that their information will be kept confidential and that you are authorised to receive and handle personal data.
4. Give Prompt Answers to Customers’ Enquiries
It is well known that people hate being kept waiting. In the era of social media, with instant notifications for every new tweet, people’s expectations have increased even more. A study conducted by Search Engine Watch has revealed that 53% of the respondents expected businesses to answer to their tweets within one hour. Only 12% were willing to wait between 12 and 24 hours for an answer.
An internal study conducted by an airline further revealed that quick replies equal more money spent by the customer. They analysed the relation between the total amount spent on tickets and the timely character of Twitter replies to customers’ enquiries showed that people who received replies within the first 6 minutes after posting their questions spent $20 more than the rest of the customers.
These simple tips will help your company become more proactive in handling customer enquiries and complaints. They will also help you save money, because setting up and using a Twitter account for customer service is free, compared to other direct messaging and live chat tools which cost to purchase and set up for your company.