More than twice in the past week I’ve interacted with brands on Twitter to give feedback or make recommendations to friends. This is not uncommon. I’m at your business, I’m on my smartphone. If I have a good experience, I’ll tell my network. If I have a bad experience, I’ll tell my network. If I want something from you, I’m not afraid to use Twitter to ask; it’s convenient for me.
The request for support via social media increased 25% in the last three months. Customers are online, on Twitter and comfortable communicating that way, publicly. Is your brand ready to respond?
Ninety-five percent of brands use Twitter in some way to interact with customers. Some have accounts specifically to deal with customer service issues. But that doesn’t mean Twitter support is up and running.
Room to improve
Sixty-seven percent of customers who engage with a brand on Twitter expect a response within 24 hours. Forty-two percent expect a response within an hour and 32% expect response within half an hour; Twitter moves quickly. However, only 9% of companies are replying within the hour, and none studied were meeting the 30 minute response time expectation.
And what’s more, social brands ignore 70% of customer complaints. Brands ignore 70% of customer complaints on social media. I find this baffling, but not surprising; I’ve been ignored.
That’s a lot of room for improvement.
If your brand is on Twitter, customers will use your handle to recommend you, request support, review you or complain about your brand. You need to respond.
Real-time customer support updates
If there is a widespread known issue, use Twitter to post updates so customers will know you are working on it. If the coupon code isn’t working, address it openly and let them know you are aware of and dealing with the issue. Customers will appreciate you being up front and providing them useful information without needing to ask. Twitter is a place to get up to the minute details, making it a go-to place for frustrated customers. Have the answers for them when they arrive.
Monitor your Twitter account
Forty-eight percent of tweets sent to brands are questions and 33% of tweets report specific problems. When customers tweet at you, chances are high that they are waiting for a response.
To respond to customer concerns, you need to know about them. Have alerts sent to your inbox when your brand is mentioned on Twitter. Even with alerts, you’ll still want to go in and check your account because interactions don’t always make it to your inbox, and not always quickly when they do. If you have volunteers or multiple people monitoring your social media, put a plan in place so everyone knows the process for responding quickly to support related tweets.
Make customer service private
Twitter support doesn’t have to be public. If you don’t want to discuss the issues publicly, you can take the tweet and use it to get information and pursue the issue offline or in private messages. If the customer follows your brand, simply follow them back and send a DM with information on how to contact you to address the problem.
You’ll still want to address the tweet publicly so anyone looking at your profile can see you responded (something like what I received this week from AAA works:
Keep Twitter support personal
Keep the Twitter interactions as personal as possible. Don’t hide behind a brand or logo avatar, give the customer your name and a direct phone number or email where they can reach you; end your message with your name as you would in email. If appropriate, you can respond to them directly from a personal Twitter account instead of the brand account.
If customers try to engage with your brand for support and you aren’t there, they won’t be there the next time you use Twitter to promote yourself. Twitter is about conversations. Part of that conversation is customer support. Your brand should be engaging on Twitter, responding to requests for customer service.