When things go wrong for customers, the standard reaction now is to head to Twitter and find out what is going on. From bad weather and cancelled flights, to broken technology and faulty goods, Twitter has become a go-to service for concerned customers. Some businesses have been slow to accept the new face of customer service. But for the brands that have embraced the changes, putting social media at the heart of customer service has meant greater brand loyalty, positive word of mouth, and a better customer experience.
1) Transport for London
Traveling in one of the world’s busiest cities has the potential to be stressful—which is why Transport for London’s Travel Alerts Twitter feed has become an essential companion for the English capital’s commuters. Bringing all of London’s travel update information together in one place makes it easier for travelers to plan their journeys and avoid delays. It’s a proactive feed that gives an up-to-the-minute picture on the tube, buses, cycling, driving and even walking and river routes.
Tip: If you have several strands to your business, try creating one feed to provide up-to-date critical time information. Make sure you direct customers to it.
Having a separate customer support Twitter handle to your main customer feed can work well in directing customers’ problems straight to the team that can help them. Nike’s dedicated @NikeSupport receives a daily average of more than 265 inbound customer support tweets, and Simply Measured ranked it first among the top 100 brands with support handles with a response rate of 74%. 55% of tweets were handled within 30 minutes, well ahead of the average.
Tip: Try to answer customer tweets quickly for great customer service. Even simply acknowledging tweets that need a more detailed response makes customers feel valued.
Did you also know that RingCentral has their own dedicated support handle as well? Send any questions, concerns, or feedback you may have to @RingCentralCare, and their expert social team will make sure your requests are immediately handled by their top technical team.
Zappos averages about 40 Twitter-based conversations with its customers per day, and the company has a policy of trying to respond to almost everyone who asks questions about Zappos. Their dedicated @Zappos_Service Twitter handle helps customers with problems they might have; and by following customers’ accounts back they are able to talk by direct message to keep conversations away from public view. As well as handling queries and problems, the account reflects the quirky happiness that Zappos customers love. When they are not busy checking in with “Zapponians”, the team provides entertainment in the form of cowbell covers of songs suggested by their followers.
Tip: Let your customer service attitude reflect your brand’s values – customer happiness should be central to everything you do.
When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, KLM airlines (who had thousands of flights cancelled) realized the importance of 24/7, responsive online customer service. The airline put social media at the center of customer care with a pledge to “Respond to your question within the hour and help with your request within a day”. Not only is a team there at any time of the day or night, you can also contact them in English, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese (also Brazilian Portuguese), Russian and Spanish. Queries KLM will help you with via social media include: booking or changing a flight, check-in, choosing your favorite seat on board, ordering an à la carte meal, or arranging extra baggage.
Tip: If your brand has a multi-national 24/7 philosophy, so should your customer service.
If your product is on-demand, your customers expect your support to be on-demand too. Netflix’s Twitter support handle, @Netflixhelps aims to help customers 6am-9pm PST by answering queries and giving out service updates. Outside that time, the Twitter page directs customers to their 24/7 live support center so that someone is always on hand to help—either through their call center or using Live Chat.
Tip: Even if your Twitter account isn’t staffed 24/7, be sure to direct your customers to other places they can get help.
Social media is helping many more companies take a responsive, always-on attitude to customer service. Twitter is becoming the go-to place for customers with problems and for brands committed to customer care. Is your brand present?
Originally published Oct 24, 2014, updated Aug 27, 2020