What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
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Twitter Encourages Businesses To Get Better at Customer Service
It's a sad reality given how many tools are available these days, but ultimately, most businesses just aren't really that good at customer service when it comes to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter themselves recognize this and both have been frequently making announcements and testing features related to this. It remains to be seen just how much these things will push businesses to actually get better, but there's no question that both are going out of their way to make it happen.
In this article, we're going to focus on Twitter. Believe it or not, people often turn to Twitter before Facebook for their customer service questions and concerns.
"Conversations happen in a public way on Twitter, and this is particularly true when customers want to be heard by brands. In fact, customer service is one of the leading reasons Twitter users give for following brands," Twitter research manager Meghann Elrhoul recently said in a blog post.
According to the company, there has actually been a 2.5X increase in customer service conversations on Twitter over the past two years.
They actually surveyed over 14,000 Twitter users who follow or interacted with brands' customer service Twitter accounts to get a better idea of how satisfied they feel with their customer service interactions. They asked about friendliness, personalization, responsiveness, resolution, satisfaction, and recommendation.
From this, Twitter derived four "key best practices" for businesses who want to get better at customer service relationships. What they basically boil down to is: Be Friendly, Be Responsive, Be Personal, and Be Accessible.
When it comes to being friendly, they mean empathizing with customers and offering to help. They found that when consumers have a friendly customer service interaction, they're more likely to recommend the brand. 76% of respondents were likely to do so. Of those who had unfriendly interactions, 82% were unlikely to recommend the brand. Honestly, I'm surprised that number isn't higher.
The research also found that consumers are 20% more likely to reach a resolution with a brand after a friendly interaction and 25% more likely to be satisfied with the brand.
When it comes to being personal, they mean using real names and signing all replies.
"Humanizing your brand is always a Twitter best practice, but it is particularly important for customer service," said Elrhoul. "When consumers have personalized customer service interactions — as defined by a brand including both the Twitter user’s name as well as its brand representative’s name — they are more likely to recommend the brand. Of those who had a personalized interaction, 77% are likely to recommend the brand. Of those who had an impersonal interaction, 66% are unlikely to recommend the brand. Consumers are also 19% more likely to reach a resolution and 22% more likely to be satisfied with a brand after a personalized customer service interaction."
Being responsive, according to Twitter, means responding in less than an hour. As studies have shown in the past, this is an area where a lot of businesses really struggle to adequately provide efficient customer service on social platforms.
60% of consumers expect brands to respond to customer service requests within an hour. Meanwhile, times average around an hour and twenty-four minutes.
In terms of being accessible, Twitter says you should follow up to ensure that problems are solved.
Will businesses follow Twitter's advice? That remains to be seen, but they are adding features that help. A major one is the raising of the direct message limit, which should make customers feel more comfortable about private interactions as they'll no longer have to worry about messages getting cut off after 140 characters.