How to Use Twitter for Customer Service

TwitterOne of the greatest ways businesses and professionals can use Twitter is as a customer service tool. More and more companies are starting to monitor their online reputation and respond to customer inquiries posted on Twitter, and the companies that do this successfully can benefit in a number of ways.

While large and well-known companies are the most visible when it comes to interacting with customers on Twitter, customer service can be a focus of every professional, whether you have an established small business or if you’re a freelancer.

The Benefits of Customer Service in Social Media

There are so many positive benefits that can be gained from a successful customer service-oriented presence on Twitter. Here are a few to consider:

Find Out What Your Clients Really Want

One key way to get value out of Twitter in terms of a customer service tool is by listening. If you’re able to track conversations related not only to your specific business, but also among potential clients discussing their needs, you will gain invaluable insight into what your clients really want from you.

This can play a huge role in your marketing and sales efforts because you can tailor your offerings to meet the individual needs you’ve witnessed discussion about on Twitter, and take time to focus on what current clients are saying outside of your own interactions.

Make Your Clients Feel Valued

There is nothing worse to an unhappy customer than feeling like no one cares. When you invest in a product or service, you have certain expectations about what you will receive in return. And when those expectations are not met, you wind up with a bitter taste in your mouth.

There’s already a serious problem if your clients are moving right to Twitter to air their issues instead of approaching you first. But on an everyday basis, you can watch what your clients are saying and learn to anticipate their needs before they even make it known to you. This type of preventative customer service will create loyal and long-term client relationships.

Happy Clients = Referrals

It’s a well-known fact that word of mouth marketing is powerful. And if you have clients who are extraordinarily happy with the service you provide, you will likely see an increase in referrals. If your clients are inclined to sing your praises, Twitter is a great outlet in which to do that.  And if they’re used to communicating with you on Twitter already, you’re positioned to benefit.  By retweeting and outwardly supporting your clients on Twitter, you will increase the likelihood that they will take reciprocal actions.

How to Provide Excellent Customer Service through Twitter

Use Monitoring Tools

In order to provide customer service on Twitter, you need to know what people are saying about you, about their needs and about the industry in which you work. This can be easily accomplished by routinely checking various resources, including:

For more on online reputation monitoring for various social media outlets, see: Online Reputation Management: 16 Free Tools.

Be Responsive…And Quickly

Because Twitter is a public forum, acting fast is necessary, especially in a situation when someone is expressing disgruntlement with your own services. You should acknowledge the issue and offer a resolution as quickly as possible.

Watch for Dissatisfaction

When you’re monitoring Twitter, especially with keywords, take note of tweets that focus on frustration and discontent around the types of services you offer. While the unhappy client may not be a client of yours, watching for complaints can help you identify someone as a potential client. If their reasons for dissatisfaction are areas where you excel, they may welcome and appreciate you reaching out to them.

How do you use Twitter to provide customer service?

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  • Kenny

    I made a snide remark on twitter about our local cable provider last month when our service was out for hours due to a thunderstorm. About 15 minutes later, I received a message from one of their customer service reps that they were working on it, and if I needed anything else to give him a call.

  • Nir

    Great post Alyssa but there’s also followbase.com a Twitter based customer service & support forum for any company. Check it out.

  • Anonymous

    I used to be a huge fan of Twitter until main stream media picked it up. Now I am tired of hearing about it. It is just over used, over exaggerated and people think it is god’s gift to the internet. Kind of like Google come to think about it.

  • StolenBit

    How do you handle if your customer (or someone else) says something bad about your service over twitter even if it’s not true?
    All of your followers will surely question about it.

  • AndrewCooper

    I don’t use Twitter myself but know that MediaTemple (mt) use Twitter to post notifications such as updates on any service interruptions which I think is a great quick way to communicate with customers.

    Andrew Cooper

  • Stephen Alison

    Hi Alyssa,

    This is excellent advice especially for small businesses with a limited AD budget. So I have now posted a synopsis on my blog with a link back to your article above at:
    Marketing Small Businesses With Twitter

    Look forward to your next article.
    stephen@tweettweet.eu

  • Niubi

    @DubLiCorporate has done a really good job of implementing a great customer service between the usual advertising. There’s quite a fine line between the two and it’s easy to overstep it!

  • Michael Whitlow

    A Boomer Perspective: Posted today at The Buzz Bin – http://bit.ly/3h1giF . Do we really need The New York Times and legions of repeating bloggers to take on our customer service complaints. Is every negative customer experience newsworthy? Aren’t there some arguments in favor of dealing with customer experience issues the old fashioned way?

  • http://www.jonwrightdesign.co.uk jonparadise

    I’m still firmly sitting on the fence with Twitter.

    The vast majority of my website clients (if not all of them) don’t use it, even when I explain it to them they glaze over.

    So in all honesty, I couldn’t use Twitter for customer service, as none of my customers use it!

  • http://charlessweeney.com Charles Sweeney

    Best way to use Twitter is to ignore it completely for the wholely pointless system that it is.