Twitter has long metamorphosed to a social connecting platform where business of any size can relate with customer and audience on one-on-one basis. Special tools and commands like @username and DM (Direct Messages) have greatly influence the use of twitter for customer service purposes. The perceived limiting factor of 140 characters could be stirred into simple, but timely and quality solution oriented info.

If not for the introduction of timeline on Facebook where brand (Facebook page owner) can now receive direct message from fans, twitter have been the pathfinder in the use of social media for connecting people directly for the purpose of harnessing deeper relationship.

There are situations in business transaction where the use of email or phone call may not be feasible or economical. The best application to use might just be twitter. Let’s look at how twitter can be used for customer service and support purposes.


How to Use Twitter for Customer Service
There are ways to design twitter to function effectively for customer service needs while building happy customer in-between. The tips below would help position your business twitter account for sound customer service.

Personalize customer interaction: Interact with customer on personal basis when you respond to questions, concern, fear or needs. To get personal with customer or audience on twitter you need to;

-Tailor replies to specific individual
-End tweets to customer with your personal twitter handle especially when there are more than one people that manage the twitter account.
-Make the account bio data reflect the @usernames of individual for smooth connection.
-Create personal avatar and use it to respond to customers and not via the company logo on profile except when you run a privately own company managed solely by you. Face-to-face interaction can help gain confidence needed to build relationship. At least, customer would know it’s not another robot in hiding.
-Use DM to reach large number of customer at the same time with specific detail on request like @mentions.
-Write high-quality response that meet more than what is requested.

Respond fast to customer request: The main ingredient of an effective customer relationship is speed. Twitter platform offers this speed in the delivery of tweets. Make it a policy to quickly respond to customer’s need. Treat them like the king they are. No one wants to be kept waiting, especially on twitter. Learn to build happy customer no matter what it takes.

Excite customer to go social: In the cause of business transaction, offer your social media URL like twitter or Facebook page and encourage them to reach out across these platforms. When they eventually reach you via these medium, don’t forget to thank them for their feedback because, it really can help in repositioning your brand for better service.

Provide quality answers to questions via twitter: To go out of your way answering questions from people who are not your customer yet, but use products within your niche can be profiting in generating lead. This effort could eventually be rewarded by the number of audience that would be converted to customer effortlessly. It would amaze you that so many people still seek answer to varied questions in a niche that seems saturated and well known.

Do a search of likely questions that could be asked or simply search for trendy information within your field and share via twitter. There are tools that can be setup or used directly for this purpose. Tools like:

Hootsuite – Has search column where questions could be searched and it has inboxq app incorporated.
InboxQ – Bring questions asked by people on twitter to you free of charge.
Twitter Search – Enabled advance search filter on twitter.
Google Alert – Alerts on trendy story, mention and events
Alltop – Niche specific content tracking tool.
Smart Brief  – Email focused platform delivery of content that matters to you right into your inbox.

Incorporating twitter as one of the methods of reaching out to customer may be the best decision ever taken this year in customer service. Just before you jump on that, here are guidelines that would help coordinate your customer service handle on twitter while offering state of the art service to customer who will in turn be a walking advert for your brand when they are satisfied with your service.

5 Guidelines on Using Twitter for Customer Service

Be Polite: It is important to filter choice of words to portray a sincere approach to service when dealing with customer needs. Well trained personnel specifically detailed for the purpose of relating with customer on social network should be employed to manage the portfolio while policies are rolled out to checkmate excesses.

Do not Automate Response: People are generally pissed off when they are greeted by automated voice or messages. It may be a good idea in some channels, but definitely not with twitter users where an answer or specific response is needed. It is expected you relate with customer one-on-one, responding to their needs as soon as possible. Twitter is able to make this happen.

Your tweet gets delivered almost as soon as you press the tweet button. Also, make response brief, direct and simple to understand while providing more information than is needed.

Match word with action: Take decisive action to solving customers’ complaints. You can go two steps beyond what was asked for. To do this, there should be enough personnel ready to take practical steps towards the need of customer. Always ensure customers are satisfied with your service in whatever way possible.

Define hour of service: This is very important and make it reflect on your profile so that customer would know your operating hour. Failure to state this clearly might lead to been adjudged careless or nonchalant. This is not good for brand reputation.

Build trust: Consistency and genuine service to customer would build trust over time. The under laying demand is to love your customer and stay close to them, having personal relationship with them as they journey along the brand.

How do you use twitter for customer service in your business? Have you been caught off-guard loosing customers’ confidence and loyalty on brand? Do I hear you say, it does happen sometimes? Let’s know in the comment box.

Francis 'Toke
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