How to Use Twitter for Customer Service

If your customers have any complaints about you, you can be sure they are voicing them loudly on Twitter. Here’s how to change their whines into praises.

Tweets about #CustomerServiceFails

If your business has customers, at least some of those customers (probably a lot of them) use social media to some degree on a daily basis – and will be happy to use it to grumble about anything you do or say that they don’t like.

The advent of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has brought to the general population an opportunity to air grievances on a much larger stage than ever before.

Unhappy customers seem to draw other equally disgruntled customers like vultures to a dead antelope. In the day and age of social media, it is imperative that you get on top of cleaning up the carcasses before the crowd around them gets too big.

There is one very simple way to do this: have a member of your staff monitoring Twitter and Facebook very regularly for the use of your custom company name.

Three things not to do

  1. The number one most important thing to remember is not to get into fights with customers on Twitter. Anything you say can and will be used against you across the Internet on multiple websites, blogs, news outlets and everything else you can think of.
  2. Don’t get ‘Twitter happy’ and offer solutions your company cannot reasonably afford to fulfill. People will share screenshots of anything you send as a message, a direct message, an email, or any other form of Internet communication and will suggest to other people that, with a bit of whining, they can get you to do the same.
  3. Don’t try to use scripted responses, but actually try to listen to what the customer is saying. When the customer says they cannot find the answer in your FAQ section, do not simply reply with a link to your FAQ section. That’s not good customer service.

Three things you can do to totally rock their world

By the time you discover a customer complaining about you on Twitter, they’re already disgruntled and have most probably already tried calling or emailing your customer service department. Twitter (or Facebook) is the place where you have the opportunity to put out some fires and win back some happy campers.

  1. Respond quickly and compassionately. Know that the people you’re talking with are very unhappy and empathize with that. The customer is not always right, but now is not the time to tell them that.
  2. Research the issue escalated if possible and follow-up. Yes, by jumping onto Twitter and shouting loudly, the customer may be trying to jump the line, but like the person who walks into your reception and makes a scene, you want to ensure that you defuse the situation as quickly as possible and so, when necessary, bit of prioritization in favor of the loudest complainer might be just what needed.
  3. Go above and beyond. The very best customer service I’ve seen on Twitter came when the person who was responding to me suggested that the service being given was not good enough (in agreement with me) and went so far as to do something that exceeded my expectations. In doing so, he almost forced me to make a U-turn in the way I was thinking about the company.

Providing a layer of customer service through Twitter or monitoring comments on your Facebook page is not difficult or overly time-consuming, but you can make a huge difference to the public perception of your company and the service people can expect from you.

Try it, it’s not as scary as you might think!

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

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