Friday, 16 August 2013

Why You Should Use Twitter As A Customer Service Tool

Twitter, as everyone knows, is a fantastic B2C communication tool, helping companies to connect, engage and interact with their followers and customers. One of the advantages of Twitter’s readily available communications network, is that customers can directly contact companies by including their Twitter handle in tweets.

Companies should always pay attention to the questions and queries mentioning them on Twitter. By monitoring and responding to these questions, a company will improve its reputation on the social media site. The companies that respond to their customers tweets are often well regarded, by customers and the general public alike. Analytics site socialbakers recently released figures showing the top 10 fastest responders to Twitter queries. Halo BCA, the fastest company, has an amazing response time of 3 minutes.

Of course, response speed isn’t everything but, as communication becomes more and more instantaneous, it becomes increasingly important for companies to respond to queries, questions and comments on social media sites as quickly as they can. Here’s how you can use Twitter as a customer service tool.

Respond To Mentions

Try to respond as quickly as you can to comments, questions and queries to do with your company. Monitor and search through the tweets which mention your company on Twitter. Try to respond to all of the questions, even though this may take time. Search Twitter for comments about your company that don’t include your Twitter handle, not everyone will mention you directly if they have a complaint to make, but they will probably appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Of course, you don’t have to respond to all the comments – the ones that are downright offensive, for example – but it’s best to monitor and analyse the sentiments expressed online about your company. Use a tool like Ezeesocial to manage, monitor and respond to all the questions and queries you get on Twitter.

If you run a larger company, it might be worth creating a dedicated customer service Twitter handle – 30% of Fortune 100 companies have a specific customer service Twitter site. A dedicated customer service account can draw attention away from negative comments about your company, as well as helping you manage complaints and queries.

Be Polite

Be personal and polite. Always answer customer queries and complaints with an apology and an offer to help. To make it even more personal, you could use the ^ symbol and include your initials. By doing this, customers will know they are talking to an actual person and not a faceless company. You could also address your customers by their names: check their bio or Twitter handle, their name will often be there.

There are examples on Twitter of employees judging the tone of tweeted queries and changing their response accordingly. For example, telecommunication agency O2 made headlines last year by responding to a customer complaint in London slang. O2 were not only able to help the customer with his problem, they also got a lot of publicity for their brand. Of course, I would generally advise against this approach as it is more likely that you will offend the customer than anything else, but it’s always worth assessing the tone of customer queries and complaints anyway, in order to judge how best to respond.

For that extra personal touch to customer service, you could even follow up the more difficult customer problems a few days or a week later. Just tweet the customer after a week to make sure they aren’t still having problems. Try not to be too invasive, however, and don’t be offended if they don’t respond. Most customers who you help will be happy to compliment you on Twitter, which can really help your reputation.

Always Respond

You should always try to respond to questions, even if you can’t answer them. By acknowledging someone’s query, you ensure that they know that you are listening. If you don’t know the answer, direct them somewhere they might find it. Of course, it’s always better to try to give them the answer yourself.

If someone has a complaint that can’t really be expressed fully in tweet form, then ask them to direct message you their personal details, privately, so that you can continue the conversation on the phone or via email. A phone conversation is probably the best option: talking to a customer directly is often the fastest way to get a problem sorted. Of course, Twitter is great as the first line of communication, as it takes less time and effort to answer problems on the service.

Be Proactive

You don’t only have to respond to direct customer queries about your company, you can also look for tweeted questions to do with your industry that you can answer. You could even find funny or interesting questions to respond to, if you feel that you could shed some light on the subject.

Make sure your Twitter handle is in an obvious place on your website so that customers know how to get in contact with you. Put recently asked questions and answers in the FAQ section on your website: most people will look through this before turning to Twitter to help. It’s sometimes worth posting these FAQs on Twitter: useful information that might help your followers and customers.

Hopefully, your customers won’t have too many queries or complaints, but in the business world, they are inevitable. Thanks to Twitter, companies now have a platform on which they can communicate quickly and easily with their customers and vice versa. Twitter really is the first line of b2c communication in the modern world of social media.

How do you use Twitter as a customer service tool?


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