A simple guide to using Twitter for Customer Service

Really it’s hard to think of a consumer facing brand or company that shouldn’t be following these simple steps, even for the smallest business or shop. Imagine someone standing on your street corner with a placard and a megaphone shouting about how bad, (or good) your business was. I’m certain you would go out there and talk to them. Now imagine someone is doing that on the internet, and you don’t even know they’re there. And, worse still, it’s not just people in your street that can see or hear them, it’s everyone in the connected world. And you still don’t even know they’re there.

To take charge of your online reputation and not offer a great service to your customers, you need to remember and do a few simple things:

  1. Monitor your company and brand mentions. Most Twitter apps let you track searches for keywords in real time so when you’re brand is mentioned, you get notified instantly and have the chance to react quickly.
  2. Reply quickly, and always reply. Twitter is known for its speedy and steady flow of information. So when someone talks to you, talk back and do it quickly. Thank those that promote you and contact those with issues.
  3. Get the conversation going. Ask for feedback on new products, re-tweet helpful links or even just engage in small talk with those than mention you. For better engagement, send DMs to followers (not automated ones) or contact users via email, chat or over the phone.
  4. Be transparent. The internet abhors secrets and outs those fairly quickly. Keep your tweets public and if a big issue arises, openly acknowledge it and take action. And if you need to clarify a misinterpreted tweet, do so.
  5. Build trust then promote. Everyone knows you’re online to promote but do so only after you’ve built up a reputation. Think of it as proactive customer service and pleasing customers even before they purchase.
  6. Apologise. We all stumble so before things become a PR nightmare, apologise quickly and publicly.
Although written mostly with Twitter in mind the same principles apply to all online content, Facebook, blogs, forums etc. Spend a few minutes a week keeping an eye on them and react accordingly.
Think of it as taking a cup of tea out to the guy with the megaphone, you never know, he may just become a fan of yours.

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