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5 Top Things to Consider Before Creating a Dedicated Service Handle on Twitter

ImageWhile brands have been fast to embrace Twitter as a support channel (our research), many companies remain split on whether to have a separate handle dedicated to responding to their customers. Some companies like to keep everything in one central location, while others prefer to have one handle for their marketing updates and another to handle service requests. There’s no straightforward answer, so we’ve assembled a few key things that you should think about when making your decision:

1) By default, when you look at a brand page on Twitter only the updates are shown that the brand posts, not the replies that the handle actually receives. Similarly, if you’re following a brand, you only see their updates in your feed (and replies they make to other people you follow). If a private account is replying to a brand - a follower will not see that reply. Because of this customer service responses are relatively invisible to your followers unless someone is searching for your brand, or someone they follow is tweeting at you.

2) Are you making regular service updates from your Twitter handle? If you’re a technology company or travel company, for example, and want to tweet about your service status, you should think about whether you always want all your customers to see these (in which case it’s better to have one handle delivering both service updates and marketing updates); or only customers who opt-in specifically to get the updates, in which case it’s better to have separate handles.  

3) It’s best practice to let your customers know when they are able to get a response or not. The best way of doing this is to ensure your operating hours are always visible - for example putting them in your Twitter handle description, or as part of the background image on your Twitter profile. Many accounts also send out signing-in and signing-off tweets, e.g. “Hey everyone! Letting you know we’re here to answer any questions from now until 5pm”. These tweets are more suitable to a dedicated service handle rather than a single overall brand channel.  

4) Doing customer service over Twitter can actually be a great way of building followers naturally, as people follow the account during their conversations, and if you're doing proactive service you're engaging with people who may not even know about your main account. This can broaden your reach and provide extra value from a marketing perspective.

5) If you do have two handles, keep in mind that a large amount of customers will still ask for help on your main marketing handle, especially if that is just your brand name, or if you’re promoting it heavily. In this case it’s essential that you don’t ignore customers simply because they tweeted to the wrong handle. If they do tweet your main handle, you should also not redirect them (“sorry, please tweet at @brand_support for help”). With a proper social customer service platform like Conversocial this is unnecessary, and allows you to use your support twitter handle to respond to any support requests given to your main account.

Ultimately having a single handle is both simpler and provides more benefits, but sometimes having separate handles makes more sense for your brand. In this case it’s essential that you have the right tools and processes in place to ensure your social support team can seamlessly assist customers tweeting at all of your Twitter handles, and that you’re not ignoring or redirecting customers - which will not only waste time for your internal resources, but is also sure to upset already disgruntled customers, decreasing public customer sentiment, and increasing potential customer attrition.

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