Twitter allows normal, everyday people to connect with their favorite brands and humans. The ever-changing bird app gives brands and companies the chance and flexibility to create an incredible customer experience for the people they're trying to help.
It's more important than ever before for your customers to have positive interactions with your brand. While it may seem like a daunting task at first, when done right, using Twitter for your target audience's customer support experience will only pay off in healthy dividends.
Providing a helpful, enriching experience for your customers on Twitter demonstrates how your brand is empathetic to customers and their needs. We looked into the pros and cons of using Twitter for customer service support, how to start using Twitter if you’re getting started, and how to improve your already-existing Twitter customer service experience.
A Quick and Helpful Guide to Twitter Customer Service:
Why Twitter is Important for Customer Service
What makes Twitter special in the realm of the customer service Universe? What Infinity Stone is hiding there that happily gives brands and companies more power?
While Twitter may not necessarily be considered one of Thanos’ Infinity Stones in this world, it’s still a powerful platform brimming with enthusiastic energy. Compared to social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter businesses and brands can promptly answer questions and address concerns in a diligent manner. Customer queries quickly addressed in less than 4 minutes can result in customers spending $17.18 more.
Twitter also provides an opportunity to meet your target audience where they are at. The need for responsive customer support is high, especially for millennials and Gen Z who grew up. Being a public environment, Twitter can strengthen your company’s reputation thanks to the publicity of your thoughtful responses and helpful solutions. It’s PR made easy.
Finally, Twitter can be a proactive customer support channel. Even if customers and curious onlookers contact you through your Twitter, you can still monitor your Twitter channel through Twitter marketing tools to see mentions of your brand and address any concerns and thoughtful words as needed.
If you’re looking for even more, below is a list of the pros and cons of using Twitter for customer service:
Pros and Cons of Using Twitter for Customer Service
Showcase your brand personality and identity
Twitter gives you more flexibility to use your brand voice. Even if your brand doesn’t put a face to the name or use a mascot for people to identify with, Twitter still showcases your brand personality by using the power of written language to have your customers identify with you.
Being on Twitter can help communicate your brand ethos and personality. This should help your business appeal to your target audience.
Twitter puts more power in the hands of the people. These people, the ones who are choosing to spend money to solve a problem or satisfy a need, are busy. They want resolutions ASAP, don’t want to beat around the bush, and want answers to their questions.
Sometimes, sending a tweet asking for help is like texting a friend. Asking for help is hard and people still want to be validated. But sometimes, they don’t have the time or the energy to talk on the phone. They may want something simpler and easier for them. This flexibility can also result in…
Resolve customer issues and complaints quickly
60% of Twitter users expect a response to their tweet within an hour.
Reach a wide audience
Twitter has over 396 million registered users tweeting across the planet. Have you ever wondered how many of those 396 million registered users could be possible customers of yours? Using hashtags can help you reach an audience interested in a particular topic or in a particular location.
Deliver efficient customer service
The platform allows direct two-way communication with your customers. Because it's a public interaction, if you do it well it shows your business in a positive light.
Collect valuable feedback
Interested in getting inside your customers’ heads? Twitter can be helpful for gathering feedback from customers, especially through the Twitter Analytics feature. You can easily ask a question in a poll or tweet a direct question inviting others to share their thoughts and perspectives with you.
It is free of charge to set up a Twitter account. While paid ads are available, many businesses see benefits from organic posts and interactions.
One of the biggest limitations of Twitter is undeniably its’ character count. Its 280-character limit can be a challenge in resolving customer disputes. That is on a case-by-case basis. Either way, the short character limit will encourage you to communicate more briefly.
Volume of content
When your customers find out that you provide customer service support on a social media platform like Twitter, you may be surprised at how they might react. A smaller customer support team might be overwhelmed with requests and inquiries from customers like a ship sailing through strong seas. This can result in your staff being under pressure.
Negative exposure and criticism
Twitter is a public domain. Everything that your business tweets, good or bad, is readily available for Twitter users (including your current and potential customers) to view anytime they want.
Customers could complain publicly about products or services. Negative comments can reflect badly on your business. However, dealing with complaints well can have a positive impact on your reputation.
Handle frustrated, irate customers and trolls with tact, grace, and politeness. Help them as if they were standing right in front of you. If you don’t maintain a helpful, professional attitude and tone (which is particularly important), that will be broadcast to the whole Twitterverse.
Maintaining a presence on Twitter requires a time commitment. It's also important that the staff looking after the account have the right skills and training.
Unless you tweet at the right time, when your followers are online, your tweets could easily be missed. This can result in frustrated, impatient customers.
5 Ways to Get Started Using Twitter for Customer Service
After reviewing the pros and cons of utilizing Twitter as a possible customer support channel for your customers, determine whether or not it’s the appropriate approach for your business goals. An effective, word-of-mouth-worthy Twitter customer service and service offering requires putting together a strategic plan.
If you’re ready to launch and get started, ask yourself these questions before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard):
- What approach is going to work best for your brand?
- What should the handle’s “voice” be?
- How responsive will you be? Will you have limited hours? (If so, you should post them in your bio.)
- Which customer service software tool should we use to help us in our social media customer service support initiatives?
- Who on your team will be responsible for monitoring and responding to customer queries?
Only once you’ve answered these questions can you think about getting the ball rolling with Twitter for customer service.
Conduct a Twitter audit
How sure are you about the impact of your Twitter efforts? A Twitter account audit can give you the answers to the questions you’ve been secretly asking yourself.
A Twitter audit tells you what content was seen, liked, commented on, and retweeted the most. It also gives you an opportunity to review your strategy, remove spam bots and fake followers, and determine what Twitter content no longer works for your brand strategy, tone of voice, or brand values.
Set up the kind of account you want to use
After conducting a helpful audit of your Twitter account, the second thing you need to do before Twitter customer support channel is to establish the foundations of the account.
For example, Twitter has its own dedicated support channel through the @TwitterSupport handle. This account shares helpful company news for all kinds of Twitter users and allows any Twittter user to send a quick DM or tweet asking for help.
According to Twitter, more than half (58%) of Twitter users expect brands to have a support handle. Support handles help clearly direct customers where to go for support; they also have the unspoken promise of a dedicated support rep ready to resolve customer issues. In fact, 64% of Twitter users feel that brands with a dedicated support handle are doing more for their customers.
Build best practices for responding
Replies and mentions on Twitter are two of its most powerful features. What guardrails will you build about when you will respond to those replies and mentions and when you won't? Once those guardrails are firmly planted, what will the planted seed look like? Determine what you will say when you do respond.
Building best practices for response and sharing them internally with your team will keep everyone on the same page to ensure a positive Twitter customer support experience for the end user.
Set boundaries around how you use the account
Once you’ve set up your Twitter customer support account and handle, figure out what kinds of policies and boundaries you want in place to determine how you’re specifically going to use this account for customer service and support.
What kind of issues will you handle through Twitter? What kinds of conversations should be handled publicly vs. privately? When do you move the conversation off the platform?
Setting these policies and boundaries in place for your Twitter customer support channel can prevent frustration and confusion for everyone involved.
Train your support team
Once you have established your expectations, policies, and boundaries in place for your Twitter customer support channel, determine the best course of action in training your support team.
It is common for many customer service experts and professionals to not know the ins and outs of Twitter and vice versa. Be willing to show the basic features of Twitter, how to respond to DMs and tweets, where to deflect irate or unhappy customers, whether or not the support team should sign with their name if necessary, how to personalize responses, and where to direct specific requests internally.
Now that you know how to get started using Twitter as a customer support channel, here are the different ways to properly use and improve Twitter for an enriching customer service experience.
5 Tips to Improve Twitter for Customer Service
Hi there. We can definitely point you in the right direction for help with your Apple ID.
We’d ask that you contact our Apple ID experts directly as they’d be best suited to help. You can reach them here: https://t.co/NpQJidgpDA
— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) January 10, 2023
78% of commenters want a response within the hour. Build a system to get questions answered quickly instead of accidentally ignoring feedback.
Twitter's quick-moving, ever-evolving nature sets the expectation for users to expect an even faster response from brands and companies they reach out to. Don't keep your customers waiting.
Be personable and empathetic
This doesn't sound okay. We'd like to take a deeper look. Send us a DM with your six-letter confirmation code, name on the reservation, and details of your experience. https://t.co/xSmyP7LNnO
— JetBlue (@JetBlue) November 25, 2022
Speak like a human. Providing helpful customer support on Twitter is not the time to be clever or witty. Someone has reached out to you in need of help. What they need is another human being to validate them and allow them to feel heard and supported, just like you do.
If you want to add any cleverness or humor in your response to a customer, evaluate the tone they used and what their issue/problem is. Respond to your customers how they initiated the conversation.
Humor and amusement have a time and place. It’s up to you to discern whether that kind of response is appropriate and will ease tension or make it worse.
No matter what the situation looks like, your main priority when using Twitter for customer support is to be helpful. Regardless of your response, always offer a solution or best next steps for your customers so that they feel like progress is still being made.
Make your business approachable
Hello there! I'm passing by to check up on your case. Do you still need assistance? Please send us a private message, so we can further assist you. ^April https://t.co/5BSF1d5GDx
— LG Support USA (@LGUSSupport) December 26, 2022
Making your business approachable on Twitter can help put people more at ease in regards to reaching out to you through Twitter for customer support inquiries. How can this be done? One of the easiest ways to start (and maintain approachability) is to optimize your Twitter customer support profile.
Optimizing your Twitter customer service channel includes but is certainly not limited to:
- Choosing an appropriate header image
- Using your logo as your profile picture
- Including a trackable link
- Regularly updating your pinned tweet with a relevant call-to-action
- Telling your story, sharing your business goals, and how you specifically help people in your bio
Completely optimizing your Twitter profile not only establishes approachability in your brand; it also conveys a foundation of trust.
Have a direct way for your support agent to reply
Using Twitter by itself can be an effective way to provide great customer service. Depending on the nature of your Twitter support channel, it is possible to feel overwhelmed and disorganized when requests come in. Especially with Twitter DMs, replies, and mentions.
Social media itself was not originally designed to be an all-encompassing customer service channel. Outside of the basic notifications it provides you, Twitter does not really have a way to help your team organize and maintain support tickets. Instead of Scrooge McDuck diving into piles of money and being happy about it, we want to avoid having your Twitter support agent(s) dive into piles of unanswered support tickets.
Luckily, there are different solutions that help you and your customer support team respond to tweets and direct messages. Tweetdeck is one of the most popular solutions. Created and offered by the Twitter network itself, Tweetdeck allows Twitter users to see all of the activity on their Twitter page in one spot.
Create guidelines to explain which issues you support via Twitter
Gamers: Official support is available through https://t.co/CDkhG0XWaT where we offer a wider range of help options. Continue to follow us here to get the latest support information regarding game updates, general tips, trending issues & server outages. pic.twitter.com/3X1udVzdOP
— Activision Support (@ATVIAssist) November 11, 2022
As helpful as Twitter can be with customer support, it can't solve every single problem. Maybe your customers need to speak to somebody on the phone if that is something your business offers. Give your customers plenty of options to choose from that you can reasonably, consistently provide for them.
A great and easy way to get started in creating guidelines explaining which issues you support through the Twitterverse is by creating a Twitter thread pinned to your Twitter customer service channel. This thread will list the different issues you do and don't support on the platform; you can even include any relevant media like charts and screenshots and an actionable call-to-action. Then pin the thread to your profile.
This sets expectations and satisfies any possible questions customers may have before they contact you.
Are you ready to use Twitter for customer service?
Using Twitter for customer service can only benefit your business in the long run. Maintaining a positive brand reputation is easier than ever before thanks to Twitter. These five Twitter tips to get started and five ways to improve your customer service offering should help you leverage your brand as one to have a positive brand experience.