Twitter Is for Customer Service Whether You Like It or Not

ChrisSyme
Chris Syme Owner/Partner, CKSyme Media Group

Posted on April 2nd 2013

Twitter Is for Customer Service Whether You Like It or Not

ImageGot Twitter? You’ve got a 24-7 customer service call line, whether you like it or not.

The evolution of Twitter as a real-time channel leaves an expectation with your fans that you are present. You may think of Twitter as a broadcast channel, but chances are your fans think of it as a real-time channel for contacting you. Whether you are a higher education news service or a restaurant promoting your daily specials, if you’re not monitoring feedback on your Twitter channel, you may be facilitating a negative online event or miss an opportunity to thank a new brand advocate. Here are five tips to help:

1. Set up alerts to monitor your brand name as well as your mentions.  People will talk about you or try to reach you without using your Twitter @username. Make sure you have a series of alerts set up on your social media management system (SMMS) or Google Alerts to let you know when people use your name online. Connect those alerts to a real-time notification on your phone and tablet and make sure you set the alert to “as-it-happens”.

2. If you’re not going to monitor 24-7, you may want to post online “office hours”.  Let people know when you’ll be online with an expectation of when people can receive a reply to their inquiry. A good place to do this is in the bio section where it will appear on your Twitter home page, or put a link to your FAQ website page.

3. Have a well-detailed FAQ page on your website linked to your Twitter bio. The FAQ page should  answer commonly asked questions, list  office operations hours, email contacts, and phone numbers.

4. Have a set of best practices or protocols on how to do customer service. Take the time to train people who use Twitter on behalf of your organization to learn how to deal with people’s problems.

5. Develop a triage response chart and issues escalation procedure. Who should respond to fan complaints? How do you tell if an issue is escalating? Make sure you spell out who should deal with what and decide ahead what you will and won’t respond to.

It doesn’t matter if you are a retail business or a college athletics department. If you have a Twitter account, you have given people an expectation that you are present online 24/7. If you haven’t implemented these five tips in your Twitter strategy, today would be a good day to get started. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. Comments welcomed, as always. 

image: twitter/shutterstock

ChrisSyme

Chris Syme

Owner/Partner, CKSyme Media Group

Chris Syme's latest book, Practice Safe Social, is a leading resource on how to use social media responsibly. Her agency, CKSyme Media Group specializes in crisis and reputation communications, training, and social media services. See her website at www.cksyme.com. Follow her on Twitter @cksyme

 

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Comments

ubersocialmedia
Posted on April 3rd 2013 at 4:43PM

Nice article.  I've written myself recently about the benefits of providing customer service via social media.  I like your suggestion about posting formal Twitter 'office hours'.  As people are always connected the expectation is that businesses are too!  Setting a realistic expectation from the outset could be really helpful.

 

ChrisSyme
Posted on April 3rd 2013 at 4:45PM

Good observation Shell. Thanks for offering some insight. Often, we tend to think that people look at social media like we do, but it isn't always the case. Setting those expectations puts us all on the same page while maintaining the idea that we are still present and available.

jfraser
Posted on November 19th 2013 at 8:18PM

This is great Chris. I think you've pointed out something really important here when you note that how you view your twitter account might be very different from how your customers view it. I think a lot of people think of twitter as outbound marketing, but as you say, their customers see it as an opportunity to engage when necessary. I find that I'm often disappointed when companies don't respond to my questions or comments on twitter. I think it's a lost opportunity to build a realtionship with a strong supporter.