Last year, Twitter published an official 2015 report on Customer Service on their social media platform. We have summarized our takeaways from the 123 page report.
Customer service tweets are increasing faster than companies can respond. This particular social network has seen a 4.6% decrease in response rates because companies can’t keep up.
For example, Hassan Syed bought a promoted tweet to complain about BA customer service after they lost his father’s suitcase. They only responded 8 hours later (during business hours) on their Twitter account, after 76,000 users had seen it on their Twitter feed.
Solving a customer problem on Twitter costs an average of $1. That is 83% cheaper than it would cost to solve the same problem through call center phone calls!
Comcast uses a tiered structure for triaging tweets
Comcast’s Twitter team has established a formal mechanism for disseminating insights from their customers deep into the company. Through tracking issue types in the flow of tweets they handle, Comcast can identify emerging trends in real time. They describe the findings in newsletters and reports, which Comcast distributes regularly to specific groups within the company.
Stage 1 — Direct Mention Issue Resolution when the @brand or @care handles are mentioned by users.
Stage 2 — Broad Issue Resolution when a brand / product is mentioned without the handle.
Stage 3 — Proactive Engagement — Brand / product is not mentioned directly but there is an opportunity to engage the user for issue resolution or delight. Just be sure to never real any private information online.
For example, Hilton reaches out to potential customers offering them local tips, even if they are not staying at a Hilton property. These tweets sometimes translate into bookings. In other cases, travelers who have already booked their accommodations elsewhere, promise to stay at a Hilton property during a future stay.
Walmart is another brand that demonstrates great customer service through reaching out to customers who haven’t even mentioned the brand.
Purina, a maker of pet foods, takes this one step further and has been known to respond to new pet owners with gifts.
Other honorable mentions are Amazon, Google, Zappos –who always encourage their employees to take extra liberties while engaging with customers– and Xbox, who actively engages the gaming industry, constantly taking suggestions from their fanbase.
The next step is triaging massive tweet volumes to identify the right customers at the right time and crafting responses that inspire. Machine learning and big data techniques can be very useful here to find and prioritize the right moments to engage with customers.
Product — Direct mentions of the products you provide. For an airline this would be flights, first class, inflight Wi-Fi, etc.
Competitors — In addition to tweets mentioning your competitors, find out what tweets your competitors are sending out and what tweets they’re responding to
Customer profile, behavior and tweet contents — Do your customers have "Trave" listed in their bio? Do they follow travel bloggers or share related content on other social networks (eg. Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)?
Customer journey — At what points in the customer journey would you like to build more presence? For example, let's say an airline like JetBlue that could easily struggle with loyalty might engage before trips, whereas a different airline struggling with service may want to engage with customers during trips.
Differentiation — Your competitors may already be tweeting away to create these types of experiences. How will you differentiate? You can target the same moments in a more impactful way, or you can target entirely different moments.
Customer value — Which customers are most valuable for your business? Aim to match your existing high value customer segments. For example, an airline struggling with loyalty may prioritize reaching out to frequent travelers who live near their hub and are known to pay for upgrades.
Influence — How large of an audience will this interaction impact? For example, an airline might prioritize a travel blogger or an internet celebrity.
1. Be authentic
2. Be responsive and solution-oriented
3. Develop rich content, including videos, images, etc.
4. Use Twitter as an early warning system
5. Engage your community
While this type of social channel engagement may not be possible for every brand, you can still encourage your customers to connect by referencing shared issues and resolutions.