How Small Businesses Can Use Twitter for Customer Service
This article is part of a larger series on Customer Service.
Twitter has evolved from being a simple social media channel where users share daily life updates to a crucial platform for businesses to engage with their customers. It also serves a key role as a customer support channel. We explain how to use Twitter as a customer service tool, the platform’s business support benefits, and top social media management tools.
1. Real-time or Immediate Response Mechanism Tool
Businesses active on Twitter can interact, engage, and solve customers’ problems via the platform in a swift, timely manner. You can also use your Twitter handle in various ways for customer support—including leveraging it as a social listening tool to understand customer sentiments and proactively address potential issues before your customers reach out with a problem.
More than ever, they expect brand interactions to be a two-way communication—and they want it fast. According to HubSpot, 82% of consumers expect an immediate response from brands they buy from—emphasizing the importance of being “always on” when answering questions and engaging with your customers.
Requests for service on Twitter should be treated as any other customer query, similar to tickets that come into your customer service software or through a call center. Businesses must establish a set schedule for monitoring their Twitter account for incoming queries. A 12-hour window is usually an ideal time frame for businesses to check their Twitter account and answer all queries in that given time frame.
2. First Level of Customer Service Interaction
While Twitter is an effective way to demonstrate a quick response time to customer queries, not all cases need to be addressed publicly—especially serious queries. However, public responses are best if you are sharing answers to frequently asked questions or acknowledging a customer who complained about your service and tagged your Twitter account.
Providing customer service through social media like Twitter doesn’t mean your support team must use it exclusively to respond to customer queries. Remember, you can always take conversations in private—after acknowledging a query in public. This shows other customers that you are responsive and are willing to work with them to resolve issues.
3. Monitor Customer Sentiments
Twitter offers an effective way to gauge your customers’ sentiments about your business, products, and services. It serves a crucial role in your customer service strategy—by using it as a social listening tool to gauge overall customer sentiments. Doing so allows you to spot best practices and areas for improvement.
Monitoring customer feedback on Twitter helps you stay updated about what your customers are saying about you. It provides visibility on issues that need attention, so you can proactively reach out to customers for a resolution. We discuss more about this in our guide on how to measure customer service satisfaction.
4. Engage Customers Who Mention Your Business or Brand
When using Twitter as a customer service tool, make it a point to engage all your customers as much as possible. Target to answer all mentions—it shows your followers you are reachable through the platform, and you address positive and negative tweets alike. While receiving negative feedback is not ideal, it gives you the opportunity to rectify an issue and try to win back an unhappy customer.
5. Make Your Business or Brand Approachable
While you have canned responses for customer queries, always use a personal tone so your tweets don’t appear cold and formal. You can also simply engage your customers even when they don’t have a query or question and are just tagging your account. Most of the time, these customers simply want to be retweeted by their favorite brands.
When you receive positive mentions of your brand, use the opportunity to respond and retweet your customers’ tweets. This not only increases the likelihood of them engaging you again in the future, but also shows all your other followers that they can engage you as well if they want to give your brand a shoutout for a job well done.
Why Twitter Is an Essential Customer Service Channel
While businesses usually maintain traditional customer support channels, such as live chat, phone, chatbots, and email, it is important to be present where your customers are—on social media. It is typically where their daily communications happen with family and friends, and even brands they support and patronize. In fact, according to Finances Online, 75% of Twitter users utilize the platform to interact with their favorite brands.
While using Twitter as one of your key support channels can be intimidating at first due to correspondence being done in public, there are countless business benefits when you use the platform correctly. Below are some interesting statistics on how customers view the usage of Twitter, specifically when it comes to interacting with businesses:
- 75% of Twitter users utilize the platform to interact with their favorite brands.
- 53% of Twitter users said that they reach out primarily for customer care.
- 77% of Twitter users develop a positive affinity to a brand that responds quickly and directly to tweets.
- 75% of Twitter users expect brands to respond via a direct message.
- 68% of Twitter users expect a public response to their direct tweets to the brand.
(Sources: HubSpot, Finances Online)
Social Media Tools for Managing Twitter
While manually monitoring your Twitter account lessens the instances of missed brand mentions, using a social media management tool to monitor mentions, sentiments, replies, and retweets is still the most no-fail route. Social media management software’s listening tools are usually robust, eliminating the chances of missing any engagement from your customers.
Below we share some of the best tools to use to help you manage your Twitter account and utilize it as an effective customer support channel:
What it is: A social media management tool that allows users to schedule and publish posts, engage with and listen to their customers, as well as analyze their social media engagement
Pricing: Ranges from $89 to $249 per user, per month
Sprout Social lets businesses manage their Twitter account directly from the platform. Its functionalities include posting, responding, retweeting, and social listening. Apart from monitoring mentions, Sprout Social can track brand-relevant conversations and access unfiltered tweets, opinions, and posts. It also allows users to summarize customer insights and findings through actionable reports that help guide and develop their customer service program.
HubSpot Marketing Hub
What it is: HubSpot’s marketing-focused software that provides users with tools to attract the right customers through social media management, landing pages, and email marketing
Pricing: Ranges from $0 (up to 1,000 marketing contacts) to $3,200 (up to 10,000 marketing contacts) per month
HubSpot’s Marketing Hub tool provides a robust integration with Twitter. Through the platform, users can publish social content directly from the customer relationship management (CRM) platform and monitor keyword mentions, tags, and retweets. They can also compare the performance of different platforms (including Facebook and Instagram), campaign performance, and publishing times.
What it is: Zoho’s social media management tool that enables users to publish posts from their dashboard, monitor mentions, engage with followers, and generate social media reports
Pricing: $10 (seven social media channels, one team member) to $40 (nine channels, three team members) per month
Zoho Social offers robust listening functions, making it ideal for users who want to use the platform as their tool to monitor all mentions from customers. Users can create listening columns to track brand reviews, mentions, and brand keywords directly from the platform. They can also reply to all the messages they receive on Twitter, check out the profile of the customer they’re interacting with, as well as attach media to their responses.
Including Twitter as one of your customer service channels is not a simple task. It entails planning, swift action, constant monitoring, and effective customer communications. However, it helps increase customer engagement and brand voice affinity when done correctly. Make sure you have a dedicated person to manage your account and excellent social media management software to capture all customer engagements.