Customer service is what make successful organisations stand out in a crowded marketplace. The best way to build long-term customer relationship is by being available for your customers just when they need you. Offering them the right support at the right time will not only help you gain trust and confidence but will also help you grow as they refer other customers and recommend your business to their friends and family.
If you do not have the resources to deploy a large full-time support team or set up a call-centre with expensive software and hardware, Twitter can be a good option for you to consider. If you are a small business, startup or nonprofit wanting to offer timely and quality online customer service/support, Twitter can help you accomplish that goal.
Here is a list of features that makes Twitter an ideal tool for customer service:
- Twitter is cost-effective (free!)
- Twitter is instant, so you can serve your customers without any delays
- Twitter is mobile, so your customers can ask for support while they are on the move and you can offer support on the move
- Twitter is a public, open-to-all platform where interactions are visible, so you can showcase your customer-oriented service culture
- Twitter also has a private, direct message option where you can move public messages to private mode to offer deeper, personal solutions and answers to customers
- Twitter has a simple user interface that makes interactions easy for you, your customers and your team
- Twitter has more than 300 million active users as of now. So, your customers, most probably, are already on Twitter and you can start using it right away to offer support.
- Twitter conducted a study which showed that after a friendly Twitter interaction with a brand, 76% of the customers are likely to recommend that brand to others. So if you know how to keep your customers happy using Twitter, you have a good chance of winning their trust and getting them to write reviews and recommendations for you.
3 actionable steps you can take today to set up your customer service and support process on Twitter:
1. Configure your Twitter Account’s Support Settings
In September 2016, Twitter made an announcement that they are adding new customer service features that allows you to let your customers know that you are offering support on Twitter and the time that you are available to respond. You should pay attention to these features because they help your customer know when to expect a response from you, thus setting the expectation right in their mind.
To enable these feature:
Visit the Twitter Dashboard Support area, while you are logged into your account: https://dashboard.twitter.com/i/settings/support
- You will see the option to select the ‘Receive Direct Message from anyone’ option, which will enable everyone to send you a message, even if they do not follow you.
- At the top, you can select the ‘Show that my account provides support’ tick box and the words ‘Provides support’ will appear next to your username and a big Message button will get added to your profile.
- You will see the option to select the support hours so that people know when to expect a reply from you. You have options to select the exact days and time or choose the 24 by 7 option.
2. Choose the Right Tools for Customer Service on Twitter
Whether you are a solopreneur or a small business owner with a team, you should aim to be mobile, efficient and quick when it comes to Twitter customer care. While Twitter has its own apps for mobile, desktop and tablets, there are some efficient third party apps like Tweetbot, Twitterrific and Echofon that you should check out.
A few tips for choosing the right tool:
- If you consider offering customer service using multiple social media channels along with Twitter, then you could look at social media dashboard tools like Hootsuite and Sproutsocial.
- If you like to offer customer service only using Twitter, I suggest you consider one of the ‘Twitter only’ desktop apps like Tweetdeck or Tweetbot, as they can be less distracting.
- Tools like Tweetbot and Twitterrific have compatible smartwatch apps, which can be useful if you are a solopreneur offering customer support ‘on-the-move’. Smartwatch notifications will ensure that you do not miss any Twitter enquiry or questions from your customers.
3. Setup Policies & Support Documents for Customer Service:
If you are personally going to manage the customer support tasks of your business, it may not very complicated, but if you plan to delegate the task to a team or to an external agency, it is important for you to layout the policies and workflow rules. Here is a list of things you need to think about:
- Twitter Account Access – Who will have access to your Twitter account and how are you going to share the access? Will you use a social media management platform (like Hootsuite) where you can configure Twitter account once and other users can access it without having to know the password? Or will you share the direct access details of your Twitter account? How are you going to monitor, review and track the responses of your team or an external agency?
- Twitter Response List – List down the probably questions, complaints, enquiries and interactions that you expect to receive on Twitter and create a possible set of answers or templates for the response. You could save them as draft on your Twitter app or save it as a separate note document.
- Workflow and Policy Documentation – Create a social media policy document that will outline the various service commitments, promises, turnaround times, guarantees, return policies, opening hours, etc. Anyone who offers customers service on Twitter (and other channels) should be able to access this document and offer the exact information about your products, business and services without any ambiguity. This policy document along with a standardized workflow will not only increase efficiency, but will also help avoid conflicting responses and false promises – the two common items that put off customers in any industry.
- Responding to Negative Feedback & Comments – In a public platform like Twitter, it is very easy for customers to complain or give negative feedback. As a business, you should be ready to handle this situation. The 2 most effective strategies to handle negative feedback are – responding as quickly as possible and offering a solution to the customers rather than an explanation. You could set up alerts for mentions of your username, brand hashtag or brand keywords on your twitter tool that you use (and also keep your mobile notifications on) so that you know the moment there is a negative comment and respond to it appropriately, as soon as possible.
- Case Studies and Testimonials – Prepare cases studies and testimonials that may be relevant to the support questions that you expect from your customers. People can relate to stories and circumstances better than plain instructions. For example: Let us assume you are in the business of selling computer tables. When a customer contacts you with a question on various ways in which the computer can be placed on the table, you could send her pictures of how other customers have installed it or a case study on how installing the computer table in a particular manner or location can help increase their productivity. Customers relate to stories and experiences better than verbal instructions.
What has been your experience with using Twitter for Customer Care? Do share your thoughts (or questions) in the comments section.