Since its inception, Twitter has become an outlet for immediate reactions, ranging from declarations about what you’re eating for lunch to sounding off that your wireless service is spotty yet again. Companies know that online complaints about their product can hurt their brand—and potentially even go viral.
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As a result, a new era of customer service has arrived: social customer service. A study by Simply Measured reveals that 99% of brands are on Twitter—and 30% have a Twitter handle dedicated solely to customer service. The average response time for a customer service tweet is 5.1 hours, with 10% of companies answering within one hour.
Here’s a look at 4 brands that deliver awesome customer service via Twitter:
When dealing with customers who may be angry (think those whose tweets include #evil), it’s important to respond quickly and knowledgably—especially if your company is at fault for preventing customers from watching important events, such as the Bachelorette finale.
Comcast’s customer service account, @ComcastCares, is staffed by a group of trained professionals who answer questions in detail and solve customers’ problems. They respond to Twitter complaints, provide updates about location-specific issues and offer advice about common complaints.
The lesson: Respond to complaints – but also offer timely updates without being asked.
Twitter interactions between company and customer can end abruptly—and remain unresolved—if the company “deflects” the comment or suggests that the customer use a different method of contact (phone or email) to get an answer.
According to a survey by Conversocial, deflecting is frustrating to customers, 19% of whom would prefer to resolve their issues via social media. Of all brands in the study, Verizon deflected the fewest amount of tweets (just 0.21%), which leads to a higher amount of issues resolved via social media. Verizon’s customer service tries not to give their customers the run around, responding quickly and helpfully to issues.
The lesson: If customers reach out via social media, try to contain the issue to social media. Solving the problem in one interaction will make for a happy customer.
Seamless is an online food ordering and delivery service that spans across multiple time zones, which brings up an important aspect of digital customer service: hours of operation. In customer service, being available to your customers when they need your help—whether it’s for a lunch order or midnight munchies—is important.
Because of their omnipresent, nearly 24/7 coverage, Seamless quickly responds to complaints about food delivery, and engages customers with replies, retweets, competitions, discounts and more.
The lesson: Customer service is a 24/7 job, so make sure your Twitter account is properly manned. Bonus lesson: Your Twitter feed shouldn’t read like a laundry list of complaints. Keep it positive by asking questions, posting funny and timely Tweets, and interacting with customers.
4. American Airlines
If you’ve traveled by air, you know what a nuisance delays, equipment problems, and misplaced luggage can be. Combine these annoyances with a terminal full of people killing time on their mobile devices, and you have the perfect digital outlet for negative customer expression.
American Airlines responds to almost every customer tweet. They recognize the frustrations of flying and do their best to assist you in real time—even holding a connecting flight for one tweeter. Talk about customer service. By equipping their community manager with the connections to get the job done, American Airlines scored big points.
The lesson: Go the extra mile. You can enact real change—and see real results—from Twitter interactions, so make sure your employees have the resources and connections to do it.
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