But Twitter comes with its own set of rules, well beyond its simple character limit. Companies need to respond quickly to tweets while keeping to their brand voice and mission. They need to be friendly while avoiding trolls. And they need to know when to take specific issues to private messages or other mediums. To help, members of Forbes Coaches Council share some of their best tips for using Twitter for customer service. Here's what they advise.
1. Establish Your Processes
If using Twitter for customer service responses is a strategy, then make sure you execute the same process with each client. Don't make it a practice to only respond to negative comments — also acknowledge the positive posts about your business. You should use social media to build the connection between your customers and your business. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group.
2. Respond Quickly
People expect you to respond to a social media message like you would a phone call. So if you open this Pandora's box of customer service on Twitter, know that the expectations on response time will need to be personalized and fast. In the work we do, we see a lot of new consultants open new small businesses thinking Twitter will save them from direct client input. Don't assume this will be so. - John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.
3. Communicate Using One Handle
Recently, I mentioned that I was having an issue with a SaaS. The founder reached out and asked if the issue had been resolved. When I said no, instead of DMing me, he asked me to tweet my problem to the company Twitter to explain further. Don't do that. If you're going to reach out to someone, continue the conversation with them from start to finish with one account. It's a smoother experience. - Erika Ashley Couto, It's Erika Ashley, Inc.
4. Generate Genuine Human Connections
Be real, be authentic, be conversational and be focused on your customers' needs. Address their comments with empathy, compassion, solutions and gratitude. Stay on-brand and aligned with your company values in all communications. Don't take the bait of bullies or trolls! Seek to humanize the digital communication, and create a genuine human connection, resulting in a positive client experience. - Suzi Pomerantz, Innovative Leadership International LLC.
5. Own Failed Expectations
Social media is a great way for customers to witness your character. Ensure that it's a good one. Take ownership of any failure to meet a customers expectation. Do not offload blame. There is always something you can do better. If you are not sure how to improve the experience, get feedback from the customer. "What could we have done to make this better?" Feedback allows you to improve your service. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC.
6. Monitor More Than Messages And Mentions
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when using Twitter for customer service is forgetting to monitor more than just their Twitter mentions and direct messages. At the very least, you should monitor your messages, mentions, hashtags, company nicknames, product names and leadership names. Forgetting to monitor these makes you blind to all the more subtle ways customers reach out on Twitter. - Rosalee Laws, The Rosalee Laws Company.
7. Learn From What People Are Saying
Every tweet is 140 characters packed with learning. So listen to your feed even more than you tweet. Choose to invite your audience into a connection by learning about them. Offer insights, inquiries and opportunities to engage them in the moment, while provoking their thought long past the moment. This approach galvanizes their engagement and desire to connect beyond the social media landscape. - Tonyalynne Wildhaber, The Courage Practice.
Forbes Coaches Council