If you work in marketing or own a small business in which you handle the marketing yourself, there’s no doubt you’ll have noticed how social media has completely revamped the way that companies interact with their customers, especially when it comes to customer service. Long gone are the days when a customer would have to wait on hold or cycle through long phone menus when trying to reach a customer service representative. Today customers can pull out their smartphones and send a tweet to ask a question or voice a complaint.
Twitter has become a hotbed for customer complaints, questions, and concerns. (Occasionally you’ll hear from a satisfied customer, but people are more likely to say something when they’re dissatisfied.) Customers want something in exchange for continued loyalty, and they also expect that you’ll respond to them with almost near immediacy.
The average response rate for a customer service question on Twitter is eight hours and 37 minutes, according to the Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study.
Is eight hours a fast enough response time? Customers don’t think so. The 2012 Social Habit report found that 32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes. In fact, 24% of customers expected a reply within 30 minutes even if they contacted a company at night, on the weekend, or during other off-hours.
These evolving customer behaviors are changing the ways businesses engage with customers, and it’s changing how business is done overall. It can feel overwhelming, but there are ways for companies to interact with consumers and leverage Twitter as a customer service platform.
Here are a few ways for companies to use Twitter for customer satisfaction.
Properly train your Twitter team.
The customer service team is the first point of contact that many unhappy customers have with your company. Therefore it’s vital to hire the right team members and train them properly in both customer service and Twitter etiquette. Be sure all new hires are able to represent the brand and interact with customers.
Customers can tweet at your business any time or day, even when you’re off the clock. As the previous statistics demonstrated, people expect a swift response – no matter what. Since around-the-clock support is not always feasible for a business, it’s important to note the days and hours that a customer service representative will reply to customer tweets. Also give customers another way to reach customer service, such as an email address or phone number.
Don’t wait for the complaints. Be proactive with your Twitter presence and post answers to common customer questions, tips, tricks, and other useful resources that customers can take advantage of. These tweets may reduce the amount of customer complaints that come in.
Treat customers as individuals.
There is nothing quite as frustrating as looking at a company’s Twitter timeline and seeing that they have tweeted the same generic message to every customer. Your customers want to be seen and treated like individuals. Reply to each tweet individually and personalize your responses.
Know when to escalate.
It’s tough to answer overly complex questions on Twitter. You only have 140 characters, after all. Businesses need to know when to escalate customer complaints to the next level of customer service. This may be routing the customer to another team or offering to make contact in another way, such as by email or phone.
Twitter can be an excellent tool for customer service. With Twitter companies are able to answer customer concerns as well as foster customer loyalty. The numbers are clear – customers expect brands to be on Twitter. Are you using social media for customer service? Or are you not sure how to use Twitter for customer satisfaction? Maybe I can help. Shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.