Recently I learned a hard lesson in customer service. A customer tweeted me about an issue experienced after an update. I replied in 140 characters as my tweet field dictates and attempted to help. I thought it was a perfectly pleasant tweet, but I was met with a reply that included "please don't insult my intelligence."
I was left scratching my head. Where did my attempt to help go wrong? Then I realized there were two things working against me.
1. 140 characters is not a lot of space. My attempt to troubleshoot in Twitter may have come across as dismissive and short, although unintentionally. That's because it's really tough to troubleshoot in 140 characters. In hindsight I should have used MarketMeSuite's zendesk integration to turn the tweet into a fully blown support ticket or "twicket." Think of it like twitlonger with the full backing of a support desk.
2. Customers behave differently behind a computer screen. I seriously doubt this customer would have replied like that if I attempted to troubleshoot on the phone or in person, but people often forget there is a person at the other side reading the tweet you send. As a business, we have to condition ourselves to not take these things too personally, but I'll be the first to admit, it's hard.
Twitter is 24/7
Because our customers are all over the world and Twitter is so real time, customers often find it hard when they don't get a near instant reply. Operating here in the UK often puts us at a disadvantage for customer service for our american audience. By the time any west coast people sign on, we're already at home with our families. We do our best to educate customers in welcome emails about the time difference, and I usually have my eye on my iphone for any @mentions coming our way until bedtime because the worst thing you can do as a business is allow your customer to feel ignored.
Customer Service On Speed
Customer service has always been a hard department, but with Twitter it's becoming so real time, so ALL the time, that, as a business, you must have a plan. What are you doing in your business to ensure that your customers feel they are being taken care of on Twitter?
If you have any questions for me or my company or want to see what we're doing right (or even wrong on occasion!) our support Twitter name is @marketmehelp.