As Twitter works to refresh and re-energize to counter negative sentiment and slowing growth, one of their key areas of focus will be social customer service. Why? Because according to Twitter's own data (in collaboration with socialbakers), more than 80% of customer service requests on social come through via tweets - while there's been a more than 2.5X increase in the number of tweets to brands and their customer service handles over the past two years alone.
The immediacy of Twitter, the ability to connect with a brand quickly and easily via short message, is extremely valuable, and the fact that so many already turn to the platform for this purpose is something Twitter needs to maximize. Just as they're considered the market leader for real-time news and event coverage, Twitter's also seen as more active, more responsive than other platforms, and that, in itself, brings a great many consumers to the platform seeking to connect with brands to resolve their problems and queries as fast as possible. Really, it's a function that Twitter's pretty much built to facilitate.
But Facebook's pushing hard on customer service too - within the last six months, Facebook has introduced Page responsiveness badges, improved local awareness ads, updated mobile Page layouts and new Page messaging options, all geared towards giving users and businesses more ways to simplify and improve the connection process via Facebook - and just today there have been reports that brands will be able to advertise to customers via Messenger in the very near future too. Combine those new additions with some of Facebook's latest ad offerings like Canvas and carousel ads and Facebook's definitely putting forward an increasingly compelling case for customer service on their platforms, taking the battle to Twitter direct.
And today, Twitter's put forward their next innovation on this front.
Taking the Conversation Offline
In a new post on the official Twitter blog, Twitter's unveiled some new tools that will enable brands to prompt users to transition their on-platform conversations into direct messages, whenever required.
The feature is similar to Facebook's recent update to Page messaging, which enables Page owners to respond to public comments via private message, providing brands with an easy way to establish more personal, direct connections with their audience. And given the rising trend towards increased personalization in every element, that direct connection and individualized care is important.
One of the best things about this feature on Twitter is simplicity - there's nothing over-the-top or unnecessary about the update, it's just a straight up connection that facilitates easier communication, something that can only help in the wider customer service ambitions of the platform. Being able to quickly and easily see a conversation through, no matter what additional information is required - and on the platform which the consumer has chosen to get in touch with your brand in the first place - is a great way to address and resolve issues and queries. No more filtering them off to a customer service e-mail - this addition, combined with the increase in the length of DMs, means businesses can now better service more customer queries directly. It's a great and logical update that'll have wide benefits, despite maybe not being as high-profile an update as others.
The Feedback Loop
In addition to this, Twitter's also taking steps to incorporate new ways of obtaining customer feedback and improving brand performance tracking via a new feature called (simply enough) 'Customer Feedback'. As explained in the post:
"Care teams have told us they love the open-ended feedback they get from people via Tweets and Direct Messages, but they also need the ability to survey customers in a structured way to better measure and improve their service experience. Customer Feedback makes it easy for customers to share their feedback with a business after a customer service conversation."
It works like this:
After you've interacted with a business via tweet, that brand will be given a new option to ask you for feedback on your experience.
As you can see from the example sequence, once your interaction with the brand is complete, the new option will enable the business to send you a message - in this case, Furni has asked: "If you wouldn't mind, please take 1 minute and give us some feedback on your recent experience"
From there, the customer's asked to provide a rating out of ten based on a usual Net Promoter Score query (Twitter notes that businesses will be able to use two industry standard question formats: Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)). From there, the customer marks in their response, adds comments (if they choose to do so) and they're also given the option to tweet about their experience (note: there may be a threshold on how high a given rating must be before this option is made available).
To help promote this new option, Twitter's partnered with some of the leading companies in social customer service including Conversocial, Hootsuite, Lithium, Salesforce, Spredfast, Sprinklr, and Sprout Social, as well as Sparkcentral. These providers are working to make the new customer service and feedback tools available in their existing workflows.
Overall this is a solid update for Twitter - nothing ground-breaking, and, as noted, the DM functionality mirrors a similar tool already available on Facebook. But it's important for Twitter to keep building on their customer service capabilities, particularly given the rising expectations for social customer service. These additions are a smart, effective way for them to do just that.