Twitter for customer service: 7 pro tips and examples
Twitter gives consumers direct access to the brands they love. A simple mention or DM can turn into a delight-worthy conversation that creates a loyal customer. However, that’s not a given. It all comes down to how you’re using Twitter for customer service.
Support requests vary, so there’s no standard reply formula that can guarantee Twitter customer service success. Instead, brands should build out customer service playbooks to pull from when handling support requests on the network.
To help you create yours, we rounded up seven examples showcasing how top brands use Twitter to deliver stellar support to their customers. Use these as inspiration to guide your support strategy on the network.
Why use Twitter for customer service?
Twitter is an ideal platform for customers to turn to when they need assistance. It’s fast-paced, public and geared toward conversation. It’s where people go to make their voices heard.
That doesn’t mean your support strategy should be limited to responding to issues from upset customers and solving individual support requests. Messages that answer questions or simplify the buying process count as customer service Tweets, too.
When we teamed up with Twitter to uncover data-driven insights on how consumers are connecting with brands on the network, we found that:
- 74% of consumers following brands on social media reach out on these platforms for customer service or support.
- 1 in 3 (34%) surveyed Twitter users purchased a product or service after a positive customer experience on Twitter.
- 53% of surveyed social media users report that they find it helpful to see how brands answer questions or solve issues publicly.
These stats prove that using Twitter for customer service can influence both brand perception and purchase behavior. Not bad for 280 characters or less.
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7 tips and examples to improve Twitter for customer service
Let’s dive into seven Twitter customer service examples from top brands that will help you create a strategy that gets people talking—in a good way!
1. Respond to issues quickly
Brands across Twitter are prioritizing speed and consumers are getting used to prompt response times. According to our research, one in three (36%) users report receiving a response from a brand in less than an hour.
To keep your social media response time in line with consumer expectations, you need to have a plan in place to monitor brand mentions.
Here’s a stellar example of a prompt response from Petco. A customer reached out at 12:21 p.m. CT asking about a possibly discontinued dog toy. The Petco social customer care team swooped in less than fifteen minutes later with a potential solution.
Hi Josh, please send us a DM with the brand information and we'll be happy to look into other options for you!
— Petco (@Petco) September 19, 2022
While it won’t always be possible to be this quick with your responses at all hours of the day, it is a good rule of thumb to respond to all Tweets sent during business hours, within the hour, and respond to any Tweets sent afterward within 12 hours.
2. Know when to move conversations off-platform
You won’t be able to resolve every support issue in 280 characters. Use an escalation management strategy to determine which problems need more in-depth attention.
Knowing when to move conversations off the platform is particularly important when dealing with private information or when the conversation grows complex and time-consuming.
Here’s an example from Notion’s Twitter account as they help a customer dealing with an unstable app environment. After sending a few Tweets back and forth, they directed the user to a support email address for additional help. They also request a screenshot or recording so they can provide a better customer service experience.
It’s a good idea to compile a document with each of the items your Twitter support can handle, as well as where to lead customers if something needs more direct or in-depth attention.
You can also use Sprout Social’s Saved Replies feature to help guide your responses and the help you should be giving. Save text responses to your asset library to keep customer service Tweets at the ready. It’s a great way to store links to specific resources and stylistically consistent information like product names and details. Your team can then focus on building a personalized response to individual messages around this core information.
3. Showcase your brand’s personality when responding to complaints
When using Twitter for customer service, you still want to keep your brand voice and personality throughout your communication. Creating engaging replies using images/GIFs/emojis can be a great way to stay in touch with your roots.
Of course, whether this is appropriate may depend on your overall industry and the severity of specific complaints. Be sure to cover this item in your overall Twitter customer care strategy.
Take a look at this tweet from Discord, a brand that makes internet-speak a core part of its brand personality.
Hey there! Can you describe what the issue seems to be when you screen share? :0
— Discord (@discord) October 11, 2022
Their response to this complaint is less formal than most, staying true to their brand personality. Make sure your Twitter customer service responses are always genuine and match your brand.
4. Analyze Tweets and tag common issues to provide better service
Twitter customer service isn’t just about fielding complaints from customers: it can be a valuable source of business inspiration, too.
Sorry, we don't currently offer that option. But we've shared your interest with our product team. 👍
— Grammarly Support (@GrammarlyHelp) September 14, 2022
Take this interaction from Grammarly, for example. A customer with a unique use case for global settings reached out to see if they could accomplish their request using an existing feature. Grammarly’s response let them know that while it wasn’t currently possible, they had routed the feedback to their product team.
This is a great way to let a customer know you acknowledge their request, even if no immediate fix is available. It also supplies their product team with meaningful user feedback that they otherwise might have missed.
If you want to streamline the internal flow of information, try Sprout’s Tagging feature. With Tags, you can label and support incoming Twitter messages with custom categories, like “feature request” or “product complaint”. You can spot trending issues or business opportunities as messages come in using the Tag Report.
5. Automate replies to common issues to save time
If a widespread issue is impacting multiple customers, chances are you’re going to hear about it from more than a few people on social. Addressing similar messages over and over again isn’t just time-consuming—it can also lead to inconsistent responses that cause even more questions than they solve.
Southern California Edison (SCE) is one of the largest utility companies in the U.S. They cover 180 incorporated cities across 15 counties. Even a short outage can drive a ton of questions on social.
SCE uses Sprout to manage the high volume of messages they receive every week. In a recent example of their automation strategy, they use Saved Replies to keep a customer updated on their request status during a point of high traffic.
We are currently experiencing a high-volume of inquiries and will respond to your DM as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience.
— SCE (@SCE) September 19, 2022
Their team also uses Sprout’s Bot Builder to quickly respond to customers’ Twitter DMs during nights and weekends when staff isn’t immediately available. These practices keep response times low, without having to staff up for night and weekend support.
6. Leverage Twitter DMs
Just because your followers can’t see your DMs doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Two out of three (65%) surveyed Twitter users like when a brand takes a public Tweet and asks the customer to DM them to take it to a private space and discuss details.
Not only do Twitter Direct Messages keep conversations private—they also support longer messages. A Twitter DM can be up to 10,000 characters long, making it much easier to work out complex issues. What goes on in a brand’s DMs should stay between the brand and the customer, so we created a mockup to show you how we manage our Twitter DMs at Sprout:
When someone reaches out to us privately, we send out an automated message to gather some quick information about the request at hand. From there, we connect the customer with the right person for quick and easy resolution.
7. Humanize your support team
One final way to make your Twitter customer service stand out is by letting your audience know that real people are behind the handle.
You can approach this in different ways depending on how your overall brand voice is structured: you might refer to your team as ‘we,’ include initials or names as a sign-off to messages, and use conversational language when appropriate for each response.
Chipotle uses all three approaches. Their personalized responses use names, ‘us/we’ references and a conversational tone to remind customers they’re speaking to an actual person.
If you contact us at https://t.co/xw5wqcgBsh a member of our customer care team will be in touch to help. -Sheldon
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) September 19, 2022
If you choose to go this route in your Twitter support strategy, don’t be afraid to use emotion (“we’re excited about this too”) or a more personal tone (“this isn’t what we like to see”). Don’t just rattle off a form reply and add on initials to offset a dry response.
Online customer service can be frustrating for customers who want to know they’re talking to an actual human being. Building in reminders that there’s a person behind the handle is a great way to reassure your audience.
It’s time to start using Twitter for customer service
Good customer service is the foundation of a positive brand reputation, so it’s time to ensure you’re being as helpful as possible. These seven Twitter customer service examples should have you well on your way to creating better customer experiences on the network.
Take advantage of Sprout Social’s customer service features to help keep track of all brand mentions and respond accordingly. Start a free trial to see how Sprout Social can empower you to overhaul your customer care strategy across platforms.
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