One of the biggest lessons learned from big brands in 2013 was that social customer care is in high demand. Consumers want to be heard, but they also expect you to respond, and quickly. One of the easiest ways for people to interact with your brand’s customer care team on Twitter is to offer them a dedicated support handle to contact. Managing multiple handles can be tricky, but a new study showed that brands are getting better at it.
According to research from a social media analytics firm, brands are getting better at replying to tweets sent directly to their customer service handle. In January, the dedicated support handles of brands on Twitter received more than 95,600 mentions, a 44 percent increase year-over-year. What’s most impressive is that the overwhelming increase didn’t slow anyone down.
In fact, brands with dedicated support handles showed an improvement in overall response rate, growing the average by 43 percent. They more than doubled their total direct responses increasing the monthly average from 27,652 in Q1 2013 to 57,613 in January 2014. The average response time only increased by 10 percent, which is pretty remarkable considering the significant increase in outbound tweets.
Obviously dedicated support handles on Twitter are proving to be a smart move for most brands. In addition to preventing the dilution of messaging on your main account, the separation between support and primary handles has enabled brands to go above and beyond for their customers. Let’s take a look at some of the brands with dedicated support handles that are excelling at customer care on Twitter.
American Express sets a great example for big brands looking to establish customer service on Twitter. Despite your best efforts to promote your support channels, customers usually share feedback with the handles they converse with the most. As you can imagine, a major brand like AmEx has several different handles, but they all do a fantastic job of routing customers to the primary support handle, @AskAmex, when appropriate.
Additionally, @AskAmex regularly alerts followers to when the account is staffed. This is a great way to set expectations for customers, and a tactic worth adopting if your handle can’t be staffed around the clock.
NatWest knows that response time is a critical component of social customer care. Often when the same question is asked multiple times, brands will direct customers to a FAQ on their website to save time. But NatWest found a more creative way to address frequently asked questions.
The British Bank turned to Vine to create a series of posts that quickly and succinctly dealt with its FAQs. NatWest uses the Vine posts to answer questions on topics ranging from how to order a paper statement, phishing emails, and the bank’s check clearing process.
It’s easy to direct customers to a webpage or contact form, but Nike’s Twitter support team prefers to take an active role when it comes to social customer care. A quick glance at the account with all replies shows you how dedicated the team is to resolving individual issues across Nike’s various products.
Only when the team is unable to resolve a customer’s issue is that person referred to another one of Nike’s communication channels. This is a great example of how a big brand should interact with customers on an individual basis. Good customer service is all about how you can make getting help easy for your customers.
While these three brands are notable, they’re far from the only ones offering incredible customer service on Twitter. If you already have a dedicated support handle, one of the best things you can do to step up your customer care game is to find out what your current response time is. This will help you determine what’s working and what areas are in need of improvement. Social customer care isn’t going away anytime soon, so set your brand up for success now.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.