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5 Essentials of Using Twitter for Customer Service

When it comes to social marketing, whose tweets really hold the most power?

As brands like KitchenAid and American Apparel have discovered, the real power of social media lies with the customer.

Platforms like Twitter provide a virtual soapbox for your audience, with millions of eager onlookers. This makes social media just as scary for marketers as it is exciting. Customers have the power to influence opinions and damage reputations with just 140 measly characters.

For this reason, social-savvy brands have started closely monitoring sites like Twitter to catch any negative or potentially harmful posts before they can escalate into major issues. Brands aren’t the only ones benefiting from social media customer service either. Catching a customer complaint early can turn a potentially bad experience with your brand into a positive one for that customer.

So how can you get started using Twitter for customer service? Below are a few of the keys to pulling it off successfully.

Use the Right Tools

With literally billions of tweets each week, you need some help sorting through all of these posts to find the ones that mention your brand. Free tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to set up streams for mentions of your brand, and set notifications so that you can work on other things while the programs monitor in the background.

Act Quickly

In customer service, faster is almost always better. The longer a customer complaint goes unattended, the more dangerous it becomes. Customers become more aggravated and the potential for others to notice the tweet increases. Respond immediately to any customer complaints, even if it’s just to let them know you’ve heard them and are looking into a solution.

Triage to Other Channels

Although Twitter is an effective way to manage customer complaints, it is not meant for conflict resolution. Send the Twitter user a direct message with your email, or direct them to another channel that is more appropriately designed to resolve their issue. It is important to move the conversation off of Twitter as quickly as possible.

Communicate With Your Team

Any benefit from responding to a customer on Twitter can quickly be undermined if several members of your team respond at once. Before responding, check to see if anyone else on your team has reached out. If nobody has, notify your team that you are handling it yourself.

Recognize a Lost Cause

It is important to make the distinction between a customer in need and somebody who is just out to badmouth your brand. Always respond positively and professionally to complaints, but don’t be afraid to stop responding if the user is trying to drag you into a public argument.

Harnessing the power of Twitter for customer service allows your brand to actively engage frustrated customers whose issues may have otherwise gone unnoticed — or even worse, gone viral. With the strategies listed above, you can effectively manage your social customer service with minimal effort and maximum impact.

Are you using Twitter for customer service? We would love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below.