Social customer service on Twitter is really taking flight. Besides the ever-growing number of customers who are using it as a primary contact for brands, Twitter has begun to promote itself as a customer care channel. Allowing users to send longer Direct Messages might have been a subtle sign, but the recent release of the Customer Service on Twitter Playbook makes it clear that Twitter is embracing the social customer care revolution.
At 122 pages, the Playbook is long and thorough. Very thorough. Twitter’s Customer Service Team have really done their homework, providing case studies and original research that illuminates just how popular social customer care on Twitter has become, and how advantageous it is for companies to have an advanced plan and platform to provide fast, meaningful engagement with customers.
We’ve scoured the paragraphs and pie charts so you don’t have to. Here are 5 key takeaways. We couldn’t fit them into 140 characters, but we tried.
Brands with great social customer care are winning
Social customer care is a real thing. It’s big, and it’s mostly happening on Twitter. It’s all there in one social channel: Reach, amplification, speed, efficiency. That’s why Tweets at leading B2C brands are growing by over 50% per year, and brands like Spotify and Zappos have made their names not just for their products, but for their customer service via Twitter.
But, leading B2C companies are responding to only about 60% of Tweets directed at their service accounts, so there’s still plenty of room to grow. Customers have been using Twitter to commiserate about user experience and to communicate directly with brands for a while now. It’s the brands that are only just beginning to catch up. That’s really the whole point of the Playbook, to help companies “accelerate impact with customer service on Twitter.”
Your customers really want to Tweet with you
There are more than 316 million active monthly users on Twitter. That’s a lot of customers. And 47% of them have used social care, a trend that’s growing across every age group. Twitter’s research shows that Tweets targeted at leading brands’ customer service Twitter usernames are up 2.5x over the past two years.
Not only do customers expect brands to have a presence on Twitter, they expect them to engage customers with fast, personal and effective social customer care. Twitter is impatient by design, and that means keeping up with the big increase of queries requires an organized approach and a powerful software platform. As Delfin Vassallo at Microsoft says, “We saw our requests jump by 230% from 2013 to 2014. We were like, ‘Bloody Hell.’”
3 stages of customer service on Twitter
No matter what the tone of your brand and the voice you use to communicate with your customers, it should always be personal. But that allows for plenty of variation, from Zappos’ “fun and a little weirdness,” to the more buttoned-up care of a global conglomerate. Deciding on a voice for your brand is important, but you’ve also got to choose how you’ll navigate through the three stages of customer service, beginning with simple problem solving and moving towards imparting delight, which Twitter suggests is the end result of excellent social customer care.
Those brands that achieve the third stage of Twitter customer care are the superstars whose stories go viral. These care agents go out of their way to be a positive presence in their customers’ lives. It’s a far cry from listening to a recording at the other end of a 1-800 number.
Don’t wait for customers to Tweet to you
At its simplest, customer service involves satisfying the customers who contact you. But in the digital age, it’s all about being pro-active. The brands that set themselves apart are those that seek out potential customers by paying attention to the conversation on social media.
Hilton is one company that has care agents who go out of their way to engage with travelers, offering suggestions on local things to do, even if they aren’t staying at a Hilton property. Some of these engagements lead to bookings, and all of them leave the customer with a positive brand association. It’s a win-win situation when brands proactively engage with customers.
Strategize, strategize, strategize
Great social customer care doesn’t happen by chance. Twitter recommends developing a detailed strategy. The Playbook offers a step-by-step guide to creating a winning customer service plan. It comes down to four essentials:
Be authentic: Talk to your customers like real people.
Be responsive: Monitor the social conversation and respond as quickly as possible.
Be solution-oriented: Jokes are all well and good, but you’ve got to solve the customer’s problem.
Develop rich content: Twitter is about so much more than 140 characters. Share photos, videos, links, anything to get customers talking.
If your brand has already been innovating with social customer care, none of this information will come as a surprise. But the Playbook is a rich source of information and research, no matter where you are on your customer service journey.
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