Twitter makes an excellent platform for customer service interaction

Quite a few popular brands have suffered PR misfortunes in the past, prolonged in part by a lack of social media expertise. By failing to respond in real time, many companies have learnt the hard way, that bad news can travel fast, especially on channels that they may have a token presence on. Things may be changing though, Social media analytics and measurement solution provider Simply Measured released a study, which shows steadily increasing demand for customer service interaction on Twitter. Simply Measured’s data shows a 44 percent increase year-­over-­year of mentions of customer service handles among the Interbrand 100, the brand group analyzed for the study.

Customer Service

This indicates the continued adoption of Twitter as a legitimate and valid customer service channel, yet brands are still hesitant to jump on-­board, with the number of dedicated customer service handles staying steady at 32 percent — a number that has been stagnant year over year.

Recent feedback from Wharton business school also confirms the increasing dependence on social media channels:

“When companies today try to meet their customers where they live, they increasingly find that it is on social media. Now that such sites are an integral part of the culture, using them for customer care is moving from cutting-edge concept to business necessity. That was the message from panelists at a session titled, “The Real Value of Social Media for Customer Service,” at the recent Wharton Social Media Best Practices Conference”.

Using the Interbrand 100 as a research group, the quarterly study from Simply Measured focused on the effectiveness of addressing customer service issues presented on Twitter, and also outlined the tactics that yielded the best response rate and time. The data shows that the overall interaction rate is increasing as consumers leverage the power of social media to publicly address issues.

Key Takeaways from the study include:

Users are adopting Twitter as a legitimate customer service channel. Mentions of dedicated service handles grew an impressive 44 percent year over year, signaling the transition of customer service queries from a one­-on­-one brand interaction to something much larger in reach. It also shows that brands are able to handle incoming queries in a way that is satisfying to the consumer — especially when using a dedicated handle.

Despite the influx of tweets, brands have increased response rates. The brands studied increased their response rate by 43 percent year over year, resulting in 60 percent of customer service tweets eliciting a response at some point in the future. This indicates more resources being devoted to service interactions on Twitter.

While response rate has increased, response time has slowed. Although tweets are being addressed, the time it takes in which to respond has slowed over the last year. The average response time is now 5 hours and 36 minutes, a 10 percent increase over last year. However, given the 208 percent increase in outbound tweets, a longer response time is justified. Nearly all brands responded to tweets within 24 hours.

Brands are slow to adopt dedicated handles. Only 32 percent of the Interbrand 100 companies have a dedicated customer service presence on Twitter. This number has remained stagnant over the last year, which indicates hesitance of the brand to adopt this customer service technique. Of those who utilize a customer service handle, vast improvements in issue resolution was noted, which improves brand image overall.

“Twitter has established itself as the de facto social media platform for customer service concerns,” stated Adam Schoenfeld, CEO of Simply Measured. “I expect we’ll continue to see a rise in issue resolution on Twitter, but I also expect a faster increase of brands separating regular handles from customer service handles — especially as they start to analyze their social data and realize how impactful customer interactions via Twitter can be to the overall marketing strategy.”

With the increasingly connectivity made possible by social media, businesess have new methods to engage their clients, solve their problems, and build goodwill and popularity for their brand. By understanding how Twitter can transform customer relations for the better can be substantial in terms of reducing infrastructure costs and improving brand recognition.

Photo Credit: Phil Dowsing Creative via Compfight cc

One thought on “Twitter makes an excellent platform for customer service interaction

  1. From a customer perspective, I don’t love the idea of separate twitter handles for customer service. I love companies that value customer service and experience, and making it a separate thing from the main brand on Twitter seems to send the wrong message. If you aren’t on Twitter for your customers, why are you there?