Customer service on Twitter: the dos and don’ts

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  • March 20, 2017
Kristina Semonella

Kristina Semonella

Digital PR Executive

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in people turning to social media for customer service – namely Twitter.

Becoming part of the Twittersphere is a wonderful thing, as it easily allows you to connect with brands and companies – and most importantly share your experiences with them (both good and bad). Many brands use this to their advantage, and seize the opportunity to build a relationship with their customers.

However, there are still a large proportion of companies who are losing out on this opportunity by either not having social media, or simply handling situations the wrong way.

Whilst it’s fair to say that some companies feel that a presence on Twitter isn’t for them, (often as they don’t feel like it’s ‘on-brand’), whether you do or don’t use it, people will still talk about your business (both negatively and positively). Therefore, it’s worth considering whether you should be part of that conversation, and have the opportunity to resolve issues and respond to positive comments that may arise.

Twitter can be a powerful weapon, if used correctly. Here are some quick-fire Dos and Don’ts to help you along the way…

Do

  • Respond quickly to requests/complaints
  • Personalise your responses, and don’t send automated responses that don’t help the customers individual situation
  • Be positive, it’ll pay off in the long run
  • Be honest and transparent with your followers and customers
  • Speak like a human, not a robot. If someone is unhappy with your services, you need to be seen to show empathy and communicate in a friendly tone
  • Be consistent and engaging to retain your audience, and appeal to new followers
  • Try to be as helpful as possible
  • Your brand should be reflected through your Twitter – consider your tone of voice and the audience that you’re talking to
  • Give people the VIP treatment – make them feel special.

Don’t

  • Don’t argue with users on a social media platform for all to see. Make it clear that you’re apologetic, then take it off your page as soon as possible into direct message to resolve the issue. Not only is it easier for both parties to communicate (with no restricted character limit), but this minimises the risk of other people jumping on the bandwagon too
  • Don’t be seen trying to cover things up and acting dishonest – you don’t want to get caught out
  • Don’t take negative comments to heart. They’re not angry at you as an individual, they’re just annoyed about the situation that they’ve found themselves in
  • Don’t delete negative comments. Deal with them, take ownership and move on
  • Don’t point people to another medium i.e. phone or email as they’ve deliberately chosen this form of communication.

It’s no secret that more and more people are choosing to vent their frustrations at businesses through Twitter. Having access to brands so easily, means people turn to the platform to voice their opinions. Therefore from a customer service point of view, having a presence allows you to nip issues in the bud, and minimise damage to your reputation. And who knows…there might even be potential to flip it into a positive PR opportunity!

Here’s an example showing what can happen if your customer service on Twitter is not quite up to scratch.

Customer buys promoted Tweet to complain about British Airways:

Tweet

A disgruntled customer Tweeted a series of complaints to the company after his father’s luggage was lost, and he even paid for a ‘promoted Tweet’ to broadcast his frustration to thousands of other users. Eight hours after the user’s original post, the airline finally replied with this rather disappointing response:

However, check out some playful examples of brands who have reacted to Tweets (both good and bad) from customers, and cleverly turned it into a PR opportunity – gaining national press coverage off the back of it:

Virgin Trains saves the day

Sainsbury’s pun-derful fish conversation

Oreo & KitKat had real-time Twitter banter

A customer excitedly Tweeted that she was following both KitKat and Oreo on Twitter. In a playful ploy to ‘win’ over the customer, both brands responded and exchanged some friendly banter – with KitKat challenging Oreo to a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

Social media is a great tool that allows you to engage with your audience – therefore, you need to ensure that you remain on-brand and communicate in the appropriate tone of voice for your following.

If you’re seen to show integrity, transparency and willingness to help, it’ll help to retain and attract loyal consumers. As let’s face it, that’s the ultimate goal.

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