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8 Tips for Using Twitter in Customer Service

By now your company should already know that having a social media presence is essential to running a successful business in today’s world. One important facet of that social media presence is having a Twitter account. Twitter is one of the most popular social networks and can do amazing things in terms of advertising, marketing, and customer engagement.

One specific area where Twitter can be immensely helpful for your business is in customer service. The quick and casual nature of Twitter makes it ideal for customer interaction and fast problem solving, which is what you want for customer service. Here are a few tips on how you can use Twitter to better serve your customers.

Create a Separate Account for Customer Service
This may be unnecessary if you’re a small business or you’re still working on creating a Twitter presence, but at some point you need to have a separate Twitter account that’s dedicated to customer service. This way, you can avoid confusion by separating your marketing from your customer support. You’ll also know that every message received in that account is a customer service issue, which will make it easier for your employees to handle the problem.

Make It Personal
Find a way to add a personal touch when handling customer service issues via Twitter. Customers don’t like having to call a customer service line only to end up speaking to an automated machine. So don’t make your Twitter account mimic that experience. Make sure that the customer knows he or she is interacting with a person and not a computer that’s supplying automated answers. Many companies have their customer service people end each tweet with their initials, which is a nice way of adding a personal touch. Other companies even go so far as to have their representative introduce themselves to customers before they try to address the problem, so the customer knows he or she is communicating with a real person on the other end.

Be Quick
This one should be obvious, but it’s important not to overlook it. Part of the reason why Twitter is great for customer service is because of its ability to provide quick and pithy responses to problems, so you have to make sure you’re on top of things. You must make sure you have enough staff members to respond to all Twitter messages within a matter of minutes. If you’re a small company and can’t have someone 24 hours a day, that’s fine, but post times when your customer service people are available and stick to those times. People on Twitter will expect a reasonable response time, and if your customer service account doesn’t give it to them, they’ll only grow even more frustrated with your business.

Conduct Follow Ups
Don’t be afraid to check with someone a day or two after conversing with him or her on Twitter to see if his or her situation was resolved to their satisfaction. It’s not asking a lot to send a quick tweet that says: “Hey, did everything turn out okay? Let me know if you have anymore questions or concerns.” If you do this over the phone, you risk interrupting the person’s day and getting on their nerves, but on Twitter they are free to reply at their leisure, and if they choose not to reply it’s no big deal. Doing this also sends the message that your company cares about its customers and wants a happy conclusion to all matters, which can help create customer loyalty.

Be Proactive
Don’t create a Twitter handle for customer service and then just sit back and wait for the complaints to start rolling in; that makes it seem like you’re expecting to fail. Instead, reach out to followers and ask them for feedback to help you fix problems before they become a serious issue issue. If you expect something to become an issue, use Twitter to address it and notify as many people as possible beforehand, which can help you save a lot of time and energy in the future. You can also attempt to engage with followers and try to entice them with incentives for providing helpful feedback. A customer service account should help you discover what you’re doing well and not just your flaws.

Be Generous
This sentiment can be applied a number of different ways (for instance, your company’s time, products, etc), but always keep it in mind when handling customer service issues via Twitter. Don’t just do the bare minimum, just because you’re limited to 140 characters at a time – if a customer has multiple options, let him or her know about all of them, even if it takes multiple tweets to get it all out. Twitter is meant to keep things short and to the point, but that doesn’t mean giving customers the short end of the stick. Make sure they feel like you’re not being too brief with customers, because they can recognise it. Always find a way to be generous with customer service issues, and when you can, go above and beyond to find a satisfying solution.

Take Things Offline When Necessary
Twitter can be an important part of your customer service operations, but keep in mind that it’s not going to be the only part. There will be issues that you simply can’t solve in 140 characters or less, and so you shouldn’t feel compelled to try to solve everything on Twitter, even if that’s where things start. If there’s a number a customer needs to call or someone who can help them more directly, then steer the customer in that direction as soon as possible. When it comes to customer service, Twitter works best as your company’s first line of defence; you just have to know when you need to go elsewhere to rectify a customer’s issue.

Find New Customers
Your customer service account can help solve issues and answer questions for people, even if they haven’t asked your Twitter account directly. There are multiple ways to search Twitter for people posing questions that may be relevant to your business or field of expertise. Don’t be shy about stepping in with some assistance and trying to answer their question or solve their problem. This is another way that Twitter can help you in terms of marketing, even if it comes from your company’s customer service account. If your customer service account helps someone out, you may have just won over a new customer.

Hemant Jani is a new age marketer, blogger and co-founder of abhisi.com. He is a passionate entrepreneur with a burning passion to acquire knowledge. He has come a long way from being a horticulturist to an owner of a software firm. His company, Techovarya Solutions, excels at SaaS product development and providing customised solutions. Hemant firmly believes that great customer support is the key to a company's success.

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