How to use Twitter for customer service

If trend reporters are to be believed, the most innovative new channel for exceptional customer service is via Twitter. This doesn’t just apply to fancy new startups and tech-driven offerings but to all organisations, from the legal sector to fashion and even public services such as the health service.

Why use Twitter for customer service?

There are many reasons why Twitter makes an effective customer service channel:

1. It’s fast.

If your usual customer service channels leave anyone who has contacted you waiting days for a response via email then you can cut that time in half by having an effective social customer service team.

2. It’s free.

For both businesses (other than paying for the manpower) and customers. You’re much less likely to have a deal with an irate customer if they haven’t been hanging on the phone (at their cost) for the last 45 minutes.

3. It’s effective.

Solve a problem for a customer on Twitter and the whole world can know about it.

4. It’s personal.

One of the biggest issues organisations face is that people simply don’t feel like they’re speaking to another human being. The more informal space of Twitter is a great place to encourage genuine interaction that tends to result in customers feeling more satisfied.

How to use Twitter for customer service

You may not have a clue how to make your Twitter account work as a customer service channel but it’s relatively easy to set it up and low hassle to operate.

1.Differentiate between your brand Twitter and your customer service Twitter.

It’s not a good idea to mix marketing messages with customer service social activity. The two can become very confused and that has a tendency to diminish the service element.

2.Make sure people know it’s an option.

There’s very little point in going to the effort of setting up your business with social customer service if no one knows it’s there. Make sure that it’s clearly marked as an option for feedback or complaints on websites, other social media and any marketing materials.

3.Don’t leave it unmanned.

No one expects the brand’s Twitter account to be answering customers 24 hours a day (although if you can do this, there are major brownie points, if that’s what your customers want). However, leaving a customer service channel completely unmanned is worse than having never set one up at all. Complaints will pile up and complainants will get more and more angry because they are being ignored.

4.Define rules and tone of voice.

Unless you’re going to be handling the account exclusively yourself, you need to define a tone of voice guide for your customer service Twitter channel and establish some rules on what can be said and what should never be said (for example, not swearing).

5.Don’t argue.

We have seen more than enough evidence that Twitter spats only work for those seeking attention and unless you want to gain notoriety for all the wrong reasons avoid arguing on your customer service Twitter. If a customer is being particularly obstructive and rude about your suggested solutions – and you think this may be as a result of the attention gained from the conversation playing out on Twitter- then provide an email address and take the chat offline.

So… what are you waiting for?

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