I came across an interesting post from Gartner Group that had a surprising statistic on how many companies were using or planning to use Twitter as a supplement to their normal customer service.

In his article  titled “Twitter Jitters in Customer Service” Michael Moaz describes researching the Twitter usage of 250 customer service managers.

His question to these managers was: “Do you have a Twitter strategy for Customer Support?”. He expected 30 – 40% would say yes.

  • Surprisingly, only 15 percent of customer service executives confirmed that they did, indeed, have a customer service strategy that embraced Twitter.
  • 50% said they didn’t even have a Twitter account.
  • 35% said they either had  pilot going of their own or they knew that Marketing had some kind of pilot underway.

Michael Moaz is doing further research into the reasons why but he had a few insights in his article and the comments by others on his blog.

  • Many of the service executives were Business to Business executives. Twitter is traditionally used by consumers not business to business. But there were some retailers in the mix.
  • 50% were worried about compliance and regulation.
  • Others were worried about how to take a tweet and figure out which account it applied to in order to address the issue when the customer next phoned in, came into the store or came to the company website.
  • Some companies are worried that by addressing customer service on Twitter, the remaining customers may feel that the Twitter customers are ‘queue’ jumping and perceive that as unfair. This might also lead to customers using Twitter instead of calling customer service.
  • Customer service executives are accustomed to running call centers. That is the way they see their jobs. Customer service is being redefined  to ‘engaging with customers’ and ‘customer experience’ many service managers have not yet made that transition.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time. At some point, using Social media sites like Twitter and other public sites like Yelp with hit critical mass and then customer service executives will be rushing to join in or be perceived as a drag on a company’s brands.

What is your opinion? Leave your comments in the section below.

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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