How to Provide Awesome Customer Service on Twitter
It’s hard to think of a worse way to spend a day than waiting on hold for hours to resolve a customer service complaint. Between the insanely long wait times, the defective voice recognition, and the seemingly endless transfers from one department to the next—contacting customer service can be a complete nightmare.
It’s no wonder so many consumers are turning to new media platforms to solve their customer service issues. According to a recent study by Conversocial, over half of respondents prefer new messaging channels over traditional customer service avenues, with Facebook and Twitter being the most popular way for people to directly contact businesses.
Twitter, especially, is popular because customers can broadcast their complaints for the world to see, which, in turn, puts social pressure on businesses to respond promptly and courteously. For modern consumers who tend to value efficiency and convenience, it’s an ideal alternative to the traditional customer service model.
For businesses, however, this public spotlight can be intimidating (but also unavoidable). If you have an active Twitter following, it’s only a matter of time before customers start using that platform to contact you with questions and concerns. How you respond will go a long way in shaping your online reputation.
The good news is that this new approach to customer service isn’t necessarily a bad thing for businesses. With the right strategy, you can use Twitter to make lasting connections with customers and shape the conversation around your brand. Here’s how:
1. Set your notifications.
Stay on top of your Twitter mentions by tweaking your notifications. Twitter gives you the option to be notified via the app, desktop, and/or email. Wherever you choose to be notified, make sure it’s somewhere you’ll see it and be able to respond promptly.
2. Don’t shy away from negative feedback.
We get it. No one likes being publicly called-out on social media, but ignoring critical tweets won’t make them go away.
So, instead of burying your head in the sand, look on the bright side! Each complaint is an opportunity to win over a loyal, lifetime customer.
People remember when you’re able to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome, and they may even spread the word if you invest your time and attention into solving the problem.
3. Keep it on Twitter if possible. Move it to DM or email if necessary.
If there’s a problem you can quickly and easily solve, it’s best to do so by directly replying to the tweet. General product or policy questions—like “Do you carry this brand?” or “Can I return this item?”—are ideal for Twitter because they’re quick and easy to answer. Plus, you get a chance to score some brownie points with your followers for your helpful and polite social media presence.
However, if the issue is more complicated than you can tackle in 280 characters or if you need to request personal information, you should move the conversation to direct message or guide the user to your customer service email address.
4. Give a shout-out to your fans.
They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it’s true that businesses often prioritize complaints over compliments on Twitter. While it’s important to respond promptly to problems, you shouldn’t spend all your time putting out fires. Remember to give a shout-out to your fans, not just your critics.
Set aside some time to retweet or reply to fans who mention your products or business. A simple “Thank you for stopping by!” or “We’re happy you enjoyed your visit!” goes a long way in connecting with your customers.
5. Be human.
Don’t use a standard, one-size-fits-all reply. Because you’re limited to 280 characters, there’s no pressure to type out a long response or to keep your tone overly formal, so it doesn’t take long to tailor your response for each mention. The little bit of extra work goes a long way toward making your brand feel more authentic.
As customers migrate to Twitter for their customer service needs, businesses are feeling the heat of the public spotlight. But don’t sweat it! If you learn to handle both compliments and complaints with efficacy and grace, you’ll be a customer service superstar.