8 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service on Twitter

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

8 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service on Twitter

Your customers are not only communicating in social networks, they are expecting you to be there to – and to be responsive. Social media management software company, Sprout Social, came out with their 2018 Social Index and found that nearly half of all consumers go to social media to ask questions and air their complaints about brands. Many of these posts are published to Twitter. Having a social media customer service plan is important, and making sure Twitter is covered is key.

In order to win at customer service using Twitter, you need to decide in advance how you’ll monitor and respond to comments, questions and complaints. Here are some things you will need to have in place…

1. Use a Social Media Dashboard. A dashboard helps you get a more global view of Twitter including direct messages, @ messages, keyword searches, and other Twitter conversations from one screen with multiple views. Services like Hootsuite and Sprout

Social for Twitter are helpful and affordable tools for small businesses.

2. Track mentions. Regardless of the tool you use, make sure to not just track your company or product name, but any common spelling variation or misspelling and also related hashtags. Go a little more broadly and check industry terms, category terms, and other related keywords that will reveal what people are saying about your company.

3. Be unified and consistent. Keep a consistent voice regardless of whom from your company is responding. Determine your tone and brand personality down to word choices and key phrases. Does your brand use humor? If so, you may want to incorporate it into your responses. Is a more formal tone your style? Adjust accordingly.

4. Be prompt. You can’t run your customer service efforts 24/7 but you can reasonably cover monitoring and responding during normal business hours and even publish your customer service “listening” hours on your Twitter bio to set expectations. Most Twitter users expect to hear something within an hour of tweeting.

5. Be sensitive and aware. As you monitor Twitter and look at what is being said about your company or even about your competitors, anticipate issues that may need to be addressed by noting trends or problems that might be brewing.

6. Address negative feedback head on. It's easy to think of positive responses when people say nice things about your company, products or services. But what should you do about the negative comments? Don’t despair and don’t ignore them. Also don’t rush into a response before you know the whole story. Respond respectfully and ask for more direct contact information quickly to take the issue off the Twitterstream.

7. Don’t ignore neutral tweets. The positive and negative tweets tend to get the most attention from brands, however, acknowledging more neutral tweets related to your brand can make someone’s day and turn a basic comment into a rave review.

8. Sign or initial tweets. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however, making a note at the end of each tweet to identify the person responding from your team can help personalize and also track customer service efforts.

Remember that what you tweet can be seen by many people. If you make a misstep and delete your tweet, chances are someone already took a screenshot of it. Be thoughtful, take a moment before responding – but not too long, have prepared responses for a variety of situations – but don’t be formulaic and automatic in your responses. People in social media want to be heard, and your customers will usually appreciate hearing from you regardless of the situation.