Mary Lou Denny: Educating The Trade

Using Twitter as a Valuable Customer Service Tool

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Today’s customers are increasingly comfortable in the digital world. For that reason, most don’t think twice about using Twitter to tweet their views, both pro and con, about products and services. For savvy companies, that makes the use of Twitter a powerful tool for enhancing customer service.

In 2011, it was estimated Twitter had 200 million users, who generated 138,888 new tweets an hour and 1.6 billion search queries every day. A 2010 survey found 20% of all tweets mention a product or service. Customers happy with the product or service they receive are extremely likely to tweet about it. A survey by LexisNexis found 62% of respondents reported they would share their views online if very satisfied with a product, service, or brand.

What does this mean for you? If customers are tweeting to proclaim how happy they are with your product or service, they become your best brand emissaries. But even if they tweet negatively about your product, and you quickly resolve their issues in Twitter, the positive word of mouth that results from that quick resolution can still provide some great advertising.

Twitter is all the more vital a tool in that it allows almost instant feedback. A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council “Variance in the Social Brand Experience” study of more than 1,300 customers found 41% expected fast response from online support teams, either immediately (22%) or within an hour (19%).

Few companies use Twitter more effectively than H & R Block. The company actively monitors Twitter comments, both pro and con. Its Twitter bio explains its Client Care Team on Twitter answers questions about H & R Block, and provides the team’s online hours. The team responds to a tweet within minutes, begins addressing the issue, offers to continue contact by email, phone, or private Twitter message, and follows up until any problem is ironed out.

The following steps can help you employ Twitter to almost instantly respond to customers and make your customer service even more attentive.

Adopt a uniform Twitter process. To ensure your brand is well represented, your company should have a consistent process governing how your employees monitor Twitter comments, choose those tweets that require responses, address customer concerns, and follow up to deliver customer satisfaction.

Offer the human touch. If your Twitter account is managed by more than one employee, name them in your Twitter bio and have them use their initials to close tweets.  Use everyday language rather than corporate speak in Tweets.

Move to other channels. It’s unlikely you’ll resolve every issue in Twitter.

That’s why companies should seek the right time to move the exchange from Twitter to their online support desks or to a telephone conversation.

By using Twitter as a superb customer service tool, you’ll be on your way to defusing potential problems and enhancing your company’s brand image.

What’s your handle? Put it here and we’ll follow you.  Ours is @waltdennyinc



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About the Blogger

Mary Lou Denny

thumbnail image Mary Lou Denny, co-founder and executive vice president, heads the public relation division of Walt Denny Inc., an advertising and public relations agency in Hinsdale, Illinois. She and her husband Walt, started the agency twenty years ago based on the credo to provide creative marketing solutions, combined with a high value on personal relationships and accountability.