Any company setting up customer service on Twitter has to deal with the same issues it has with other methods of support but with new twists.
1. How to get the customer to the person with the right skills to respond to the question or problem the customer wants resolved. The person with the right level of skill can quickly resolve the customer’s issue. than someone with minimal or no skill. There are a few techniques customer service organization use. One technique is to cross train everyone on all the possible questions the customer could have, document them, preferably on line so the customer service agent can quickly refer to them. This is not always possible if you have many products and services. A second system is to have a generalist on the phone who listens to the customer problem and ‘hot transfers’ them to the person with appropriate skill. The third technique is a generalist taking basic information who then takes the number of the customer for a ‘call back’. The customers like this last technique the least due to time delays and telephone tag, where the customer and the support person cannot ‘connect’ on the phone during the call back process.
Using Twitter for customer service provides a company the nature of the customer’s problem in written form on Twitter so the person with the right skill can be engaged to respond, without going through a generalist. However, that is the theory. In the real world, customers are not articulate on what their real problem is and 140 Characters can be limiting.
2.Responsiveness: how fast can the customer’s problem be resolved. Some transactions or questions can be done quickly but others may take more work and investigation. In the case of Dell below, they ask the customer if Technical Support has been able to help.
Tactics with Twitter need to ensure that the customer is responded to quickly but the resources that are brought to help the customer may have to be in a technical organization which needs more interaction with the customer.
3. How to use to communicate. Telephone is fully flexible, dialogue goes back and forth quickly. Email techniques have a built in lag. Twitter can be very quick for communication BUT 140 characters is very limiting.
Best practices of companies using Twitter for customer service, as covered in blog post titled Customer Service using Twitter?, shows that companies using Twitter for customer service are really doing is using Twitter to engage with the customer and direct them to the right customer service resource and then following up later to ensure customer satisfaction.