Being a customer-focused company includes making social media an integrated part of your brand’s customer service strategy. With more and more consumers using social networks to discuss brands, many top companies have now taken to Twitter to provide another layer to their customer service/support initiatives.
Here’s how to ensure Twitter customer service becomes a valued tool in your customer service arsenal.
Consider a dedicated customer service account
Many large brands have created a separate account focused solely on customer support (e.g. @FordService, @SamsungSupport). If your brand gets a fair share of Twitter buzz, it may be worthwhile to divert customer support issues to a dedicated feed. This has the added benefit of steering sometimes negative discussions away from the main corporate handle.
Set the hours your team is available
Social media never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean the hard working people behind your brand’s Twitter support handle shouldn’t rest either. Just as a brick-and-mortar establishment posts its hours of operation for customers to see, so too should you establish your company’s online availability times. If you’re 24 hours, great! If not, be sure to include alternate contact methods, such as an after-hours 800 number, in your bio.
Shut up and listen
Not every support issue will have your Twitter handle mentioned in it. Be sure to have a social listening plan in place that involves not just your branded Twitter handles. Look for your brand name without the “@” as well as any known nicknames (even the ones you don’t like), abbreviations, and common misspellings.
Get out in front of known issues
Most brands use Twitter to broadcast their message, and that has customer service implications. When a known issue arises, use your accounts to alert your followers of the problem and its current status (e.g. “Website login is down, we are correcting the problem now”). By encouraging customers to follow your customer service account, you could save yourself plenty of hassle by answering the same concern over and over.
Know your content inside and out
If your brand is producing valuable content (case studies, ebooks) aimed at getting the most out of your products and services, be sure your social media customer service team has it ready to go at a moment’s notice. They could be tweeted to a customer looking for specific information or offered up in response to trending issues. Receiving an influx of questions on a particular feature? Go ahead and share that new ebook you’ve produced that outlines its best practice uses.
Create a playbook
Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things on Twitter, think about creating a playbook detailing how your team will classify customer service issues, tag them (e.g. billing issue, technical issue), and even how and to whom you’ll assign those incoming posts. Your playbook should clearly lay out roles and responsibilities, identify what to respond to and what not to respond to, how to use workflow to your advantage, and even your escalation process.
Is your brand using Twitter for customer service? If so, how?
(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on March 28, 2013.)