How to Do Customer Service on Twitter

Whether you’re a part of the conversation or not, people are talking about your business on Twitter right now. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, if you have any dealings with the public at all, your customers and their friends are probably mentioning you in their social media circles.
If you don’t have a system in place to provide exceptional customer service on Twitter, you might miss out on opportunities to bolster your brand or address problems before they get out of hand.

Here are some pointers to help you do customer service right on Twitter:

Engage with Your Customers
The mantra of successful customer service on Twitter is “engagement, engagement, engagement.” If a customer mentions you specifically on Twitter, it usually means that he or she wants you to take notice and respond. So, if you haven’t already done so, get a Twitter account for your business.
Now that you’re on Twitter, resist the urge to use it as a broadcast advertising medium. People are already talking about you, remember? To find out what people are saying about you, search for your company name (“yourcompany”) and your Twitter name (@yourcompany) on Twitter’s native search pagesearch.twitter.com. Don’t forget to check your mentions and messages on Twitter as well.
Respond in a timely fashion to both positive and negative comments about your business. Engaging with your followers in good times and bad will give you an authenticity and trust that transcends any individual issues you’re dealing with. As people come to know that they can trust you to address their concerns, they’ll be less likely to simply vent their problems. If your customers feel like they’re being heard, they will often tell you exactly what their issues are instead of cloaking their problems in harsh, unproductive tweets. They’ll also be more likely to accept the solutions you offer to their problems if they feel that you’re genuinely concerned.

Take the Conversation Offline
An escalating problem is not something you want publicly exposed on Twitter. If your initial attempts to resolve a customer service issue are not successful, offer to engage the customer on a private channel, such as email or phone.
If a customer is genuinely interested in resolving a problem, he or she will welcome any opportunity to achieve that goal. If someone insists on keeping the conversation public, that’s a red flag. Either the customer still feels that the issue is not being appropriately addressed, or he or she just wants to bask in the publicity that a public altercation on Twitter can bring. In either case, you must lead the customer to an offline channel. You never want the message to be overshadowed by the medium.

Make Sure the Entire Company is On Board
Social media customers are very savvy. If they can’t get an issue resolved right away, some people will seek out members of the company on Twitter and try to get their issue resolved there. It’s a good idea to have a policy in place so that everyone at your company knows how to handle a customer service complaint (or a compliment) should it happen to fall into their laps on Twitter.
For example, the Four Seasons Hotel chain has a policy whereby every staff member is empowered to solve customer service issues up to a pre-determined dollar amount. That way, if a hotel guest complains about his or her stay to the bellman, or even the housekeeper, the issue is resolved right away — without the need for escalation. While this policy has solidified the Four Season’s reputation as having one of the best customer service ratings in the world, you have to decide what Twitter customer service policy works best for your company.

Whatever you decide, however, it’s imperative that everyone at your company knows what the policy is. A misstep on Twitter doesn’t just affect one customer, it affects his or her followers, and all of your followers too. The upside is that customer service issues handled well are also seen by everyone who happens to be interested in following the issue. These days, those numbers can be in the thousands, the tens of thousands, or even the millions, so don’t underestimate.

Read this article on Eye For Travel

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Posted on August 24, 2011, in Hospitality Digital Marketing Services and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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