May 22, 2015
Seven Steps to Awesome Customer Service on Twitter
By TMCnet Special GuestSara Varni, CMO of Desk.com
Twitter (News - Alert) is not even a decade old and it’s already closing in on phone and email as one of the primary channels for customer support. Not only does failure to offer support on Twitter often lead to unhappy customers, but according to Gartner your business may encounter up to a 15 percent increase in churn. Most companies recognize the need to make Twitter part of their service strategy, but they aren’t always sure how to get started or the best ways to make customers happy. Here are seven steps from the team at Desk.com for building a Twitter support strategy that really works.
1. Set up a Twitter account that represents your brand.
Customers need to have a consistent experience every time they interact with your brand so it’s vital that you are consistent on Twitter. Your user name (or handle) is the most important way that you will express your brand, so choose it wisely. It’s also a good idea to create a dedicated support handle so people can follow your brand and hear your latest news without having to see all the latest support updates. Twitter requires two profile images so choose pictures that help tell your business story. Be sure to use high quality images, especially if you are a small business trying to take on bigger competitors.
2. Train social agents.
Social is a great opportunity for you to connect with customers by using a fun, friendly style. But hey, not too friendly. It’s best to create guidelines for everyone in your company as they will be representing your brand in public. Provide specific training for social support agents so they understand the best ways to connect with Twitter users while representing your brand — before you hand over the keys to your account.
3. Remember that Twitter is public.
The biggest difference with social support is that everything is public. You need to answer everyone — the haters, the lovers and the people just re-tweeting your blog post — because if you don’t, it will look like you have something to hide. If you are solving a problem quickly and in public, people can see that you have a support team that's effective and knowledgeable. That doesn’t mean that you need to go into technical detail on the public web. Defer complicated questions and take them offline. And don’t ever ask (or give) sensitive information on Twitter.
4. Use Twitter to help customers faster.
With only 140 characters in a Tweet, agents are forced to write concise messages and get right to the point. It’s OK to ignore formalities and write sentence fragments. You can also use Twitter (and Facebook (News - Alert)) to reach multiple customers at the same time. If 2-3 people are asking the same question, you can answer them all with one message. Twitter never sleeps, so try to keep an eye on your account 24/7, and list your support team’s hours on your support handle.
5. Integrate social with your other service channels.
To have truly 360-degree customer views it’s important that you have a customer service tool that integrates Twitter with your other support channels. When everything’s in one place you can respond to Twitter cases from within your customer support interface and easily assign and report on cases. You can add Twitter information directly to your customer profiles and histories, and also set up notifications so you know right away when your high-value customers tweet at you and can respond quickly.
6. Use Twitter to guide your product strategy.
If you track what people are talking about, and their issues and questions, Twitter can help you learn a lot about what customers are thinking and what they want to see from your products. It’s also completely acceptable to solicit feedback on social media and there are tools that will let you create polls or surveys to do this easily. Because social media is visible to the masses, you can also use it to gain intelligence about your competition and see their new features and product improvements.
7. Create a social crisis management plan.
Social networks are at the intersection of customer service and public relations. Although crisis communications is traditionally the responsibility of your PR team, customers expect faster-than-ever responses when they look for help on social channels. If you have a major issue with your product or service, customers will be looking to you for support on social. Designate at least one person on your support team to be available 24/7 on social media. Work with your PR team early on to develop a worst-case scenario plan for how you will communicate and coordinate if something blows up. You can even prepare “PR-friendly” tweets in advance.
Twitter gives you an unparalleled and inexpensive opportunity to connect with customers and build your brand. And, with 113,000 new accounts opened every day, Twitter is one support channel that you can’t afford to ignore. If you haven’t done it already, build out your Twitter support strategy today.
Sara Varni leads marketing for Desk.com, Salesforce's all-in-one customer service app for fast-growing companies. Attracting leading customer-oriented brands such as Yelp (News - Alert), SoundCloud, HotelTonight and Disqus, Desk.com has become known as the savvy customer support app that connects agents with e-mail, phone calls, and social channels. Prior to this role, Sara led marketing for the Salesforce AppExchange, the #1 enterprise app marketplace.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi