Ways to Use Twitter for Customer Service

Why Twitter for Customer Support?

“I genuinely believe that any business can create a competitive advantage through giving outstanding customer care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk.

This is one of the best quotes I have heard. It must give any business a lot of comfort. Even if you have a million complaints, you can still lead with better customer service. When my business recently had to weather a severe storm, we decided to default everything to simply being there for our users and customers. It was an incredible experience.

And what better way is there to give your best customer service than through Twitter? Twitter has changed continually over the past few months, as the service becomes more and more mainstream. The results we have seen from using Twitter as our most important support channel day in and day out are incredible. Here are the 3 most powerful insights on using Twitter for customer service that I have learned along the way.

#1: Use the Speed of Twitter to your Advantage

This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. “On Twitter, you need to be fast in responding!” But just how important really is speed in responding on Twitter? To take advantage of this, I make it a rule to keep response times under 5 minutes for our customers. This makes an immense difference. No matter what problems come up, nothing trumps being there for people, exactly when they ask for it.

It’s a rule so simple that it is often easy to overlook. We were fortunate enough to have people publish articles on this, purely because we were so fast in responding. That is why I can’t stress enough the advantage it gives you if you don’t let more than 5 minutes pass before you respond.

#2: Personalise the Experience on Twitter as Much as You Can

Another very important yet easily overlooked part of giving support on Twitter is personalising the experience. This means you aren’t speaking to your customers behind a corporate logo.

Instead, make every effort to replicate a face to face interaction. This gives the absolute best results, in my experience. Here are three of the most important things you can easily do:

  • Personalise your Twitter Bio: Put your name and the names of everyone who could possibly tweet on your business account. It builds a lot of trust. Your customers, if they have very urgent questions, can also turn to your personal accounts instead.
  • End tweets with names: it has long been recommended to end tweets with your initials – Instead, end your tweets with your actual first name. it will give your customers a much better chance to connect with you, especially if you also have the names of the other people tweeting in your Twitter bio.
  • Use your face as an avatar instead of a logo: A third tip that can help your personalise the experience is to use a picture of your face, instead of your logo, for your profile picture. Its one simple step that can immediately make your approachable and human. Some people have told me in the past that they can’t replace their logo for various reasons. No problem at all. There is still something you can do. For the most pressing questions from your customers, switch from responding with your business Twitter account to responding with your personal account. This way you can provide a personal exchange with the branding effect of your logo remaining intact.

#3: Use Direct Messages on Twitter to your Advantage

One of the keys to great support is to help the most people you can in the shortest amount of time. If you have a very widespread problem, with a ton of incoming tweets in a short amount of time, using DMs can be a lifesaver. Here is a quick 3 step guide to help you cope:

  • Send one public tweet explaining the situation: Anyone who finds your Twitter profile will see that tweet first.
  • Reply to any @mentions with a DM: First, you won’t clutter your business’ Twitter stream with @replies for other customers looking for what is going on. Second, you can go into more detail explaining how you can help each customer.
  • Switch back to sending @replies if there is no acute problems anymore, but only regular questions and support requests.

I have to admit that I got the above wrong for a long time. I would send lots and lots of @replies in a short space of time. The problem was that all of the customers who were looking for what was actually going on had to scroll down many times to find the public tweet that I sent first.

DMs are also extremely useful when a simple @reply doesn’t give all of the information the customer needs. In these cases, try DMs instead of the regular “please send an email to name@company.com,” which tends to prolong the time it takes to solve the problem. You can send 2 or 3 DMs in a row if this allows you to answer your customer’s problem right away.

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