Customer service is important (duh) and finding ways to most effectively connect with your customers is important (duh). Traditional channels like phone support and mail continue to be in the mix, but the digital channels of email, live chat, text support, and social media are connecting with customers because that’s what they’re used to. Connect with your consumers where they are, at their convenience. Open up the channels that they want to use.

There is a danger here though. It’s better to have fewer channels that you can service efficiently than all the channels that get lost. Maybe live chat won’t really work for your business because you don’t have people sitting at computers all day. Or maybe your audience isn’t really connected to social media, so using Facebook Messenger isn’t a great use of resources. 

But if you’re going to utilize a contact method for you business, do it with excellence. And if your choice is Twitter, think about why people use Twitter. 140 characters. Fast. Quick response. A tweet or private message shouldn’t take 3 days to respond to. If it does, then your customer was better off picking up the phone.

I’ve attempted to use Twitter to connect with large brands for tech support, customer service, product returns, and other issues. I won’t name any names, but a car rental agency didn’t respond to 18 tweets and then took 2 days to respond to a direct message. A grocery store asked for my contact information and then took 4 days to let me know someone would be calling me in the next week or so. A phone manufacturer attempted technical support via private message that ended up taking 18 days for them to tell me I should just take my phone to the local Best Buy, blaming the delays on new product releases causing a backlog of support requests. None of these brand interactions made me feel as though my issue was important. And each would have been better if the brand simply didn’t have a Twitter channel or had auto-responded at the beginning saying that I would receive faster service by using a phone.

Studies show that social media isn’t going away, so the issue isn’t “Do it right or don’t do it at all”. It’s really “Do it right, and do it better than your competitor”.

So here’s a few tips to do Twitter right for your business.

  1. Use a dashboard. The website and app might be fine for your personal interactions with friends and celebs, but its not sufficient for efficient customer service. Dashboards like ZenDesk and SproutSocial offer social support management, allowing you to make notes and measure effectiveness. Don’t let your customers slip through the cracks.
  2. Respond quickly. SearchEngineWatch.com found that 53% of Twitter users expect a response within the hour. That jumps to 65% for a response within 2 hours. That means only 1 out of 3 people find it acceptable for your response to be more than 2 hours after their initial contact.
  3. Humanize your brand. Don’t use automated responses and canned Tweets. Actually read what your customers are saying and respond accordingly, like a human being would sound.
  4. Respond to all feedback whether its positive or negative. According to ZenDesk, 45% of customers will share a negative review on social media compared to only 30% sharing positive reviews. Don’t tune out the frustrations that people have with your company. These people are reaching out to you with a problem… you are being given the opportunity to make it right, to go to the extra mile, and to learn about growth opportunities for your business.

If you don’t have the manpower or resources to handle customer service on your social channels, you might consider outsourcing. At the High Road Agency, we help customers manage their Twitter (and other social media) accounts every day. And we’d love to help you with yours too. Tweet us at @highroadagency. Or Facebook.com/thehighroadagency. Or info@highroadagency.com. Or if the old fashioned phone is your thing, call us at 423-900-8424.