Four Reasons Why Customers Prefer Twitter for Customer Service

Quick Response, Fast Action, Public Shame, & Instant Updates

September 19, 2013

What’s Twitter’s secret sauce? Real-time information. What do your customers value most? Real-time answers from real people who care. Customer service is quietly becoming one of the most valuable uses of Twitter by customers and businesses alike. To succeed, you need to integrate Twitter support with the rest of your customer service operations, set customer expectations about Tweeting “hours,” and ensure that your Tweeters are really top notch.


Over the past two years, many of Twitter’s 500 million users have started tweeting their customer service questions directly to companies’ Twitter accounts. This customer behavior has taken many customer-ignorant companies by surprise. They think of Twitter as a marketing/branding play. Their marketers tweet special offers and promotions and try to engage fans with fun facts. They largely ignore questions and complaints that come in via Twitter, believing that customers with real concerns will use “normal” customer service channels, such as phone contact centers and emails to customer support and online chat.

An increasing number of customer-aware companies, on the other hand, have embraced Twitter as a customer service channel and have integrated tweeting into their customer service operations. The customer support executives at these companies have discovered that:

  1. Customers who tweet really love getting quick responses—within 10 minutes.
  2. Many issues can be completely resolved within three tweets and an email, yielding high customer satisfaction, low cost-to-serve, and very fast action and problem resolution.
  3. Twitter is a very powerful mechanism for publicly shaming a company into doing the right thing, often after the customer has tried working through conventional channels. But guess what? If public shaming works on Twitter after several days of trying to get satisfaction in other ways, why not skip the time delay and use the “[brand]#fail” in your tweet at the outset to get the brand-owner’s attention right away?
  4. It’s important for companies to use Twitter to keep customers updated about issues that impact many customers, like upgrades, outages, response time issues, inventory issues, and precisely when new products are available or when others are retired. If you don’t provide quick updates, your customers will do it for you, without your explanation or spin.

Why Twitter Matters for Customer Service

 Why Twitter Matters for Customer Service

© 2013 Salesforce Desk

Twitter has become one of the major channels customers now use to get answers to customer support questions. And, since most of these Tweets are public, there’s an opportunity to enhance or damage your brand image and to attract or repel customers and prospects. This illustration is taken from a free e-book entitled, “How To Domi-nate Twitter for Customer Service,” which is available from this blog post: 6 Steps Towards Customer Service Success on Twitter, by Jason Boles, May 31, 2013.


The Conventional View of Twitter

Many people think of Twitter—the odd social media platform with the 140-character limit—as just another social media time sink. Sure, it can be mesmerizing to watch people comment on news events, share favorite quotes, tweet about things they’re enjoying doing, and strut their stuff. But isn’t it just a good way to while away downtime? Who cares about where you had breakfast or what meeting you’re attending or that you had an interesting conversation with someone?

Promote Your Brand. Many large companies employ social media marketing mavens to tweet out enticing news about upcoming events, promotions, special offers, and interesting factoids. These brand-specific tweets are often media rich—with a compelling photograph or short video. And, if they’re clever or appealing, they get retweeted a lot, which is how brand managers measure their ef-fectiveness. Tweets and retweets also raise your organic search rankings, so the frequency with which brand-specific mentions are retweeted and the larger the number of people who reply or ret-weet, the higher that brand or product mentioned will rise in organic search results. I first learned about this connection between Twitter retweets and organic search placement on Google (and other search engines) from Michael Hayward, who was then the VP of Marketing for the Four Seasons Hotels. Michael had empowered hotel managers and other staff at each of the Four Seasons’ proper-ties to tweet about fun events, little known facts, and enticing services at each of their hotels all over the world. The staff at each of the properties vied with one another to produce the most interesting and most often retweeted tidbits. And, of course, the people at each hotel retweeted the items from all of their colleagues at other Four Seasons’ properties around the world, so the Four Seasons global employee ecosystem and customer ecosystem produced a lot of traffic. The result: much better placement in Google search results without paying for ads.

Twitter’s Secret Sauce…(more)


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