Are the New Twitter Customer Service Tools Right for You?



The response to each of these tools is impressive and has significant customer service implications for any businesses.

One year ago, Twitter rolled out two new customer service tools for businesses on its platform. A half a year later they rolled out a few more tools and updates, again with customer service specifically in mind.

The two big updates last February gave businesses and users a smoother way to transition to direct messages–which is useful for sharing sensitive and private information such as membership numbers and order numbers–and gave businesses a very simple, streamlined ability to ask for and receive feedback after an interaction with a customer.

The follow-on updates last fall added features to businesses’ profiles to show the business is available for support, display what hours they are available, and allow users to direct message the business from its profile.

Benefits for Your Business

One year after the start of the roll-out of these updates seems a good time to reflect on these tools and discuss why you should potentially embrace Twitter in your customer service strategy.

Many Twitter customer service behemoths such T-Mobile and Delta jumped right on the new tools and implemented the features right away. To be fair, some companies received the updates sooner than others, although now the features are available to everyone.

While these features have obvious benefit for large businesses with millions of customers, you as a small- or medium-sized business owner might be hesitant to hop on Twitter and add another channel to your current phone and/or email customer service strategy. And rightly so. Simply because Twitter added new features doesn’t mean you need to dedicate time and resources to a customer service profile on Twitter.

But no matter what size business you run, Twitter for business has a compelling argument. Six months after the launch of the new direct messaging and customer feedback tools, Twitter made a statement revealing some statistics concerning the tools. Businesses who use the direct message deep link to turn conversations private saw a 30% increase in public-to-private message conversion. And businesses who use the customer feedback request tool receive a response more than 60% of the time–an average of five to ten times as frequent as other feedback methods.

The response to each of these tools is impressive and has significant customer service implications for any businesses.

New Features

Let’s discuss these new features and how you can use them to enhance your customer service. First, let’s focus on the two large updates:

Direct message deep link

Previously, direct messages could only be sent to people who followed each other. This created an added hassle for both sides if one or both parties didn’t understand this inner working of direct messages. I constantly interacted with businesses who didn’t understand this principle and the added tweets to ask for a follow were just a hassle. And as any business person knows, each hassle increases the customer drop-off rate.

With this new tool, Twitter removed the hassle and now businesses and customers can communicate via direct message with one simple step and without needing to follow each other.

As a business, simply insert the direct message deep link into your public reply within a conversation on Twitter and the other party can quickly transition to private messages to give you additional information to aid you in resolving their concern.

Customer feedback

The second big tool now available to businesses is an embedded customer service survey within the conversation with a customer.

Again, you understand that each step or hurdle in a process contributes to customer drop-off in the process. And you understand the limited success of email surveys after an online or phone customer service conversation. Additionally, if you’re using social media for customer service, you may not have easy access to the customer contact information outside of the platform on which you’re communicating.

With the ability to request simple customer feedback immediately within Twitter, you remove another hurdle and increase your likelihood of receiving feedback.

Profile updates

The three follow-on updates are more subtle and concern the information displayed about your business profile. While these updates are not earth shattering and some of them are only marginally beneficial, the subtle helps are simply there to smooth the process and increase the likelihood of you succeeding as a business and customers receiving the help they need.

First, you can opt to show that your Twitter handle provides support to customers. Users are drawn to the new line stating “provides support” when they search for your Twitter handle or mention you in a Tweet:

This feature is additionally helpful for businesses with multiple Twitter handles as users can immediately identify which Twitter handle is the best to use. But even for those businesses who have a single Twitter handle, you stand out and are immediately noticed when a user searches for you.

Second, you can show which hours you provide support on Twitter–either 24/7 or specific hours on specific days:

This update is less helpful than the others simply because many people are used to just tweeting at a company in the moment without regard to whether it’s an effective time to do so. Perhaps if this feature were well-known then people might benefit more, but as it stands, this update is only marginally helpful.

Third, also displayed in the screenshot above, your profile displays a “Message” button, visible to all users even if they don’t follow you. This removes the former hassle of needing to ensure both parties followed each other and reminds someone searching for your company that they can simply send you a direct message immediately.

Personally, I always start my conversations publicly so the company feels pressure to respond positively and quickly. But I suppose this feature is helpful for those specifically wishing to direct message a company.

Twitter for your specific Business

Are these updates enough to justify fielding customer service concerns via Twitter? No. Definitely not. These updates are to help those who are already using Twitter for business. So if you’re already active on Twitter, without question you need to implement and utilize these features.

If you’re not on Twitter, now is a good time to review why not and reassess if you should be. Monitor Twitter for conversations about you and your products or services. If people are talking about you, you need to be involved in the conversation. So get on that quickly.

Also search for conversations about your industry and the products and services you provide. If people are talking about what you do, you have an opportunity to get in on the conversation and establish a presence. Twitter can help you reside in users top-of-mind.

With Twitter’s new features and other social platforms integrating new features (like Instagram’s “Contact” button for business accounts), customer service via social media–i.e. social care–is clearly a growing trend. Make sure you are part of the conversations about your business and makes sure you are available to assist your customers on the platforms they choose and in ways they find most convenient.

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