Twitter Tips for Success: Customer Service for the 21st century

    • Setter Staff

    In today’s day and age, customer service has long passed the age of endlessly waiting for help. With the emergence and rise of Twitter, more and more companies are bringing customer service directly to the core of their business: the consumer.

    But simply adding a Twitter account is not enough. According to new research conducted by Stanford University, 90% of executives understand the impact social media has on their organization, yet only 32% monitor social media to detect threats to their business (business2community). A similar oracle report from May 2012 reveals that “more than half of Twitter users worldwide expect a personal response within two hours of tweeting a question or complaint”. With statistics like these, and the growing importance of a social media presence, it is clear that customer service needs to be at the core of every business decision.

    But this shift still has not taken hold. An August 2012 article from sproutsocial states that only 13 percent of all social media complaints actually receive a response, and that more than 37 percent of the top 100 brands on Twitter don’t respond to their customers for over 10 hours.

    Rather than becoming just another statistic, take that extra step and make Twitter an effective component of your customer service repertoire. Here are a couple “Twitter Tips for Success” to keep in mind as you manage your brand’s customer service engagement on Twitter:

    Provide consistent response speed and quality for customers.

    Have you ever had to repeat information to a call center employee? Been put on hold, listening to annoying hotel elevator-esque music? For almost everyone, the answer is an unequivocal, resounding “yes”.

    The most important rules of social media customer service, then, are (1) to respond as quickly as possible and (2) to ensure complementary customer service operations, regardless of mode, are helpful and timely.

    Keeping both timeliness and quality in mind is critical – it reduces the chances of your customers getting annoyed and abandoning the customer service process – and ultimately switching to a competitor.

    “As consumers frequent online sites more than ever, they expect to engage with companies’ customer service representatives while they are there,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Retail. “Whether the customer visits the company’s commerce site or social media page, there must be a clear link to a customer service person that is informed and able to help.”

    See how this JetBlue customer goes from frustrated to “loving” JetBlue by simply getting a helpful and timely response:


    Provide outstanding customer service to those who are not even customers. At least, not yet…

    Who says you have to limit your extraordinary service to existing customers? By conducting simple Twitter searches for terms relevant to your business, and for mentions of your business name, you can directly address potential consumers. The simplest tools here often prove the most effective. While Twitter’s “search” tool may not be perfect, their customization options can help you find your target audience.


    In summary…

    According to an oracle report from December 2012 entitled “Why Customer Satisfaction is no longer good enough”, 81% of customers would be willing to pay more to receive superior customer service. This suggests that investment in customer service, including Twitter and social media generally, isn’t just a cost center, or even just a customer-retention strategy, but a profit driver!


    Setter Staff

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