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Three Tips for Stellar Real-Time Customer Service via Twitter

Monday, October 25, 2010

At FeedBlitz we try to excel at customer service - see my favorites feed. We use these techniques daily (just like we do the Six Twitter Sales Tips) to make sure our clients get the help they need when they need it. Field tested, customer approved!

1. Monitor Your Brand with Twitter Search

What you get: Real-time intelligence on customer, product and brand issues.

How to get it:
  1. Tune a search query using Twitter's real-time search at http://search.twitter.com/
  2. Plug the search query into your favorite Twitter client.
  3. Watch for the conversations and mentions.

2. Engage with readers, customers and clients

What you get: The ability to make unhappy clients happy and to stop small problems becoming larger crises.

How to get it:
  1. Directly @reply the author of the tweet
  2. Be polite e.g. "sorry to hear that, here's what you need to do"
  3. Solve the problem as quickly as possible (d'oh, right?)
  4. Don't be afraid to take the conversation off-Twitter
The last point is important for several reasons.

Firstly, some problems aren't easily solved in a couple of 140 characters or less; email can be a much better venue for problems that aren't readily solved over Twitter. It's OK to ask someone to contact support at yourdomain dot com, or to ask for a follow to use DMs instead (follow them first!).

Secondly, if someone's reached for Twitter first instead of emailing you directly, it might already be too late. Don't start a spat in public if you can avoid it; if you can get someone who's unhappy offline where you can address their issues that can really work out well. BUT ... do follow up in public where possible, even if it's to gracefully say "I'm sorry we couldn't solve your problem in the end." More often than not your potentially hostile client will say "thanks for trying" and the crisis is averted.

3. Follow up!

What you get: Closure and chance to create a fan.

How to get it: Wrap up the interactions with a "Glad we could help" or "Thank You" tweet. Ask if you can help more. Basic stuff, but still incredibly effective.

Key Resource: Knowledge Base / FAQs

For common questions it's so much faster, easier and effective to tweet a link to the relevant article online. For traditional bloggers, this might be a link to your most popular posts, or your recipe database, or your blogroll.

Case Study - From "Hate" to "Fan" in Four Hours Flat!

Let's take a look at how this played out in real life; this was a set of interactions from October 6th, 2010.

Here's where we started. Yikes!

Hello feedblitz: I hate you right now.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I engaged with the user, got them going, and, four hours later, was rewarded with this:

@phollows ok. figured it all out! i thank you for your personal care and attention to detail! feeblitz, i'm now a fan :)less than a minute ago via web

And now Mani's "fan" tweet is in my real-time testimonials feed, helping our sales efforts.

Good luck with your efforts! By the way, if you liked this post, click here to read my related post on using Twitter for sales and revenue generation.

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Blogger Ryan G said...

That is great.

Here is an example of @blogtalkradio addressing a customer response matter that I initiated from my own Twitter account:


They called and sorted it out. Apparently it was a glitch in their advertising system and she was documenting occurrences of reported issues.

The Result - http://twitter.com/blogtalkradio/status/27864865622

5:16 PM, October 26, 2010  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Very cool, Ryan! Another proof point of how Twitter can be used to deliver customer service and turn potential problems around quickly and effectively.

11:09 AM, October 29, 2010  

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