Last week, Twitter released a new set of customer service focused tools, including a responsive indicator - with available hours defined by the user - on profiles and in search results.
This is a smart move for Twitter - as we've noted before, Twitter's a great platform for customer service, and it's already relied upon for such by many users, so it makes sense for Twitter to try and boost engagement by focusing on this element.
And now, a new study conducted by Twitter in the UK (in conjunction with Research Now) has reinforced this again, finding that 96% of users who've turned to Twitter for customer service and had a friendly experience with a brand would buy from that brand again.
That's a pretty compelling stat - here's what else they found.
Exposure = Better Customer Service
According to the report, 61% of Twitter UK users indicated that the public nature of Twitter affects what they Tweet about brands.
"For users, Twitter feels like the right environment to discuss customer service queries with brands. And not only with brands, but with other customers who may be experiencing similar issues. It's an example of how Twitter transforms the customer service experience from a 1:1 interaction to a 1:many."
Of course, you likely already know this - the openness of Twitter adds an amount of implied pressure to the brand you're communicating with to respond, or risk the judgment of onlookers. While this can be problematic for some businesses, it also makes Twitter a more logical home for customer complaints, as it enables consumers to use that public exposure to push for a better response.
This, according to Twitter, is a key factor in more customers opting to take to the platform for such purposes, as opposed to other social networks.
On the speed element, Twitter's research indicates that 71% of Twitter users expect a brand to respond to their query within an hour of Tweeting.
For some brands, that might seems illogical, even impossible, but really, this is the way most interactions are headed. People want fast resolution via social, with many turning to social platforms after not getting the response they want via traditional service channels. That immediate connection is a big part of Facebook's push on Messenger for business, which they're also trying to boost as a customer service channel.
And while expectation of such fast turnaround times can pose a challenge, there are also benefits.
"As many as 83% of those who used Twitter for customer service said their issue was addressed and fixed and 96% of users who turned to Twitter for customer service and had a friendly experience with a brand would buy from that brand again. Equally important, an impressive 83% of them would recommend that brand to others.
The connection between response time and customer satisfaction is little surprise, but an important element to also remember here is that those expectations of faster response don't just come from nowhere.
"Our study showed that 63% of users who Tweeted a brand about customer service had a response within an hour - in fact, over a third of them had a response within 30 mins."
As brands overall continue to improve their response times, that, by extension, raises the bar for other businesses as well - if you can get a response on Twitter within 30 minutes from one provider, and nothing at all from another, who are you going to turn to? This obviously doesn't apply to all consumers, as not everyone uses Twitter, but those expectations are important to recognize, as consumer behaviors are shifting in line with available options.
As part of their study, Twitter also looked at the market sectors seeing the most customer queries on the platform, with retail, travel and telco brands fielding the most questions.
"As many as 40% of those who had recently used the platform for customer service had done so for retail; 33% for travel and 28% for telecoms."
Really, if you're working in these sectors, you need to do some research and see whether your target customers are active on Twitter. You can do this by conducting on platform searches or using a free tool like TweetDeck (which just got an update) to monitor keywords and track relevant conversations.
There are some great notes and pointers in the study which help highlight why Twitter is an important consideration for customer service, and how you can use it to great effect.
Twitter also collected their findings into an infographic - check it out below.