A recent article by Torbin Rick shows an ever increasing number of companies claim to use Twitter for customer service. From the consumer point of view, the objective is to get a quick response and ensure that the lack of response will be quite visible to others.
It appears that those companies using Twitter for customer service aren’t really doing the full customer service job on Twitter. The customer service issues are taken off line, in private conversations with the customer through @ responses or DM (Direct Messaging). Public customer service conversations are provided on Twitter to show that the organization cares enough to be watching the dialogue on Twitter and responding to dissatisfaction. Follow up with the customer to ensure customer satisfaction is restored is a best practice of most service organizations but doing so publicly on Twitter can have added social proof benefits.
Here are excerpts from Torbin Rick”s article with some sample tweets.
When every customer experience can be easily and widely broadcast, small issues become super important.
The customers use the status – “What is on your mind?” – to tell their connections about their experience.
More and more companies have figured out that Twitter provides the opportunity to listen to what customers are saying about their brands, and to respond.
Christofer Hoff flew Southwest Airlines from New Hampshire to Philadelphia and had a very trying experience. His flight was delayed two hours, and then his luggage went missing. While waiting around, he had plenty of time to tweet his displeasure. Much to his surprise, Southwest responded the next morning with the following message:
“Sorry to hear about your flight –- weather was terrible in the NE. Hope you give us a 2nd chance to prove that Southwest = Awesomeness.”
Hoff later recounted the whole experience in a blog post. Southwest even followed up to make sure his flight home was a better experience. So Southwest Airlines is using Twitter to make sure the customers’ concerns are addressed:
Comcast has created Comcast Cares Twitter account, which watches Twitter for complaints about Comcast and its services and engages those unsatisfied customers directly and immediately, often dealing with hundreds of issues each day. The program has been wildly successful and has breathed new life into the beleaguered telecommunications company, which previously had a reputation for terrible customer service.
Dell doesn’t have just one channel on Twitter; it has more than 20. Dell’s Twitter channels cater to different audiences, including international ones, and it counts as one of the first major brands with Twitter channels in Chinese, Japanese, German, and Spanish:
Telstra is also using Twitter to make sure the customers’ concerns are addressed:
Washington Metro informs customers about maintenance and delays:
And @BTCare for cutomer service:
Because bad experiences are broadcast just as fast and just as easily as the good, it pays for companies to pay attention to the one-on-one customer relationships forged via social media.
Businesses who choose not to adapt to the new culture will be at an increasing disadvantage, as their customers slowly build personal relationships with their competitors. We are now in the age of open communication, engaged dialogue, and transparency, and business success may now have less to do with the size of ad budgets, but on the quality of interactions with customers. In the very near future there is no way around this for companies any more. Consumers will DEMAND real time problem addressing or go elsewhere.