Entrepreneur - - By Alyssa Gregory

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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