How to Effectively Use Twitter for Customer Service

Twitter for customer service

These days, we often head to Twitter when we have an issue with a company or a specific product or service. After all, taking to Twitter to voice your problem is much easier than picking up the phone and waiting on hold for ages.

Twitter is real-time. Quick engagement is expected here. And let’s be real, none of us like to be kept waiting! We want a solution and we want it fast. That’s why even more brands are using Twitter for customer service.

Can’t find your package? Reach out to @UPS. Have a problem with your cell phone? Companies like Verizon have dedicated support accounts on the platform. So many of them see the value in having a team ready to answer your questions. Now it’s time for you to do the same!

How to Effectively Use Twitter for Customer Service

Whether you have a team on hand or it’s just you managing everything, you can absolutely use Twitter for customer service. To help you out, here are a few tips to get started:

1. Create Customer Service Hours & Share Them on Your Page

Social media never stops, but that doesn’t mean you need to be online 24/7. That’s just not healthy! And there’s simply no way you could maintain those hours unless you had an extensive team based all over the world. Instead, if you’re planning to use Twitter for customer service, you need to set virtual office hours for yourself.

Ask yourself what times you want to commit to responding to inquiries. Can you manage standard 9-5 hours every Monday through Friday? Or do you think you need to scale back to a shorter timeframe each day or less days per week? It’s your social media presence, so make it work for you based on what’s manageable.

Then, make sure you include those hours somewhere on your Twitter profile. Hours can be included in your bio or even in your header image. This way, people will know what times you’re online and when they can expect to receive a response from you.

2. Know When to Move Things to the DMs

Not every message should be dealt with publicly. Sometimes you will need to privately respond to issues, which is when you’ll want to move the conversation to a direct message instead of posting a public reply for the world to see. This is great when you need to ask for an email address, mailing address, a username or password, etc. And the bonus with a direct message is that you’ll have plenty of characters to go in-depth when solving problems.

How to Effectively Use Twitter for Customer Service

Here’s some tips all about moving a conversation to the DMs straight from Twitter, as seen in the example above.

3. Respond to Every Message, Even if it’s Negative

One of the biggest mistakes brands make when using Twitter for customer service is ignoring the negative feedback they receive. This is a missed opportunity to correct a situation that obviously went wrong. If you aren’t willing to make things right, it says a lot about your brand… And not in a good way!

By responding to negative feedback, it shows that you’re listening and that you care what people have to say about your brand. It shows that you want to fix any issues that arise, which puts your community at ease. They’ll know that if something comes up, you’re willing to help.

The key here is to be aware of the difference between constructive criticism and someone who is just trolling. Trolls don’t need to be addressed because they’re just posting negativity to get a rise out of you. But genuine customers who are upset definitely deserve a response.

4. Always Aim to Exceed Their Expectations

When you go above and beyond for your community, they take notice. And they definitely appreciate it. There are a few great ways you can provide an exceptional experience for people when using Twitter for customer service.

The first thing to do is, of course, reply quickly. Don’t keep people waiting for a long time to get a response from you. On a platform like Twitter, things are happening pretty fast and you want to keep up. It’s also smart to search your brand name on Twitter because people won’t always tag you in their tweets. When you do this and respond to the posts you see, it tells that you’re actually paying attention.

And if you really want to stand out, experiment with sending video responses to people. Anyone can type up a quick text response. But a brand that sends video is truly going the extra mile to serve their community in the best way possible.

5. Use a Tool Like Brand24 to Help

Brand24 is one of my go-to tools because it provides effective social media monitoring. There’s a Mentions Feed, which allows you to keep track of what people are saying about you and you can easily send a response. Brand24 also helps you spot issues so you can address them before they escalate, while also maximizing the possibility for great publicity for your brand.

There are also plenty of other features like Sentiment Analysis (tracking customer attitudes), and Influence Score. You can read more about it in my Brand24 post.

6. Sign Your Tweets if You Have Multiple Team Members

If you have a few different employees handling Twitter for customer service, have them sign or initial every tweet they send. This way, you can track interactions between employees and customers. You’ll then be able to follow up with that employee if there’s an issue later on. It’s also a reminder that there’s actually a real human running the account, not just a bot.

Here’s a great example from UPS.

Bonus: Get to Know Your Community Through Their Feedback

Using Twitter for customer service actually goes beyond solving the problems people are facing. This is a great learning opportunity for you. If you pay attention to what your community is talking about, you can learn a lot about what’s of interest to them. They’ll often share recommendations for your products or services that could spark changes or inspiration for new offerings.

Plus, if you’re ever interested in going deeper, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Encourage people to share their thoughts with you. If you want, you can even find a few ideal customers to hop on a call with to just get a better understanding of their needs. Something as simple as this truly shows you care about serving them.