Leveraging Twitter To Provide Great Customer Service

4 Twitter Features You Can Leverage To Provide Great Customer Service

Written by on May 9, 2016

Once upon a time, in a land where the Twitter fail whale still frolicked far and wide, providing customer support via Twitter used to be optional. Now, it’s mandatory. It’s a de facto rule when it comes to customer service. It’s the eleventh commandment.

No matter the kind of business you run–a coffee shop down the road, a multi-chain retail establishment, an airline or a tech company–your customers are probably already tweeting questions at you and expecting a reply 10 minutes ago.

So, here’s a quick rundown of how you can make your Twitter account a bit more useful for your customers and followers who land on your page for help.

Pin Tweets to Direct Customers to Your Help Portal

Although nothing dies on the Internet, there’s also nothing more ephemeral than a 140-character tweet.

As a business, no matter how violent the tempest, you’d like your followers (read users) to know a few things when they visit your profile. Like a link to your support portal that hosts FAQs. An important product announcement. A downtime notice. Something significant that they might otherwise have missed  in their inbox, Facebook feed, or in-app notification.

Twitter’s pinned tweets serve exactly that purpose–the three dots on the tweet can help you pin a tweet to the top of your profile so that it remains sticky.

pin-tweets-to-direct-your-customers-to-your-help-portal

This is Slack’s method to madness; they pin tweets to link users to their support portal, and a page that shows a history of their past change logs.

slack-pins-tweets-to-direct-users-to-portal

Pinning a link to your self-service portal is a brilliant idea because it allows you to subtly nudge your users to visit your great self-service portal and help themselves without waiting on your team for a response.

You can also, of course, use a pinned tweet to let your customers know about upcoming maintenance periods or other downtimes. Or a day where you put a favorite feature to rest. Even though you’d have made sure to send out an email announcing it, well in advance, there’s a pretty good chance they might have missed it in their inbox. Cross your t’s, dot your i’s and keep your customers informed by pinning important announcements to your profile.

Once a tweet is no longer relevant as a sticky, all you need to do is tap on the three dots near it and click ‘Unpin tweet’.

Announce Availability Times Via the Twitter Biography Section

I don’t know about you but when I land on a brand’s Twitter account, the first section my eyes stray to is the brand’s bio. Sometimes, this is to make sure I’m on the right brand’s Twitter page. Sometimes, it’s to find out just how fun and relatable the brand is.

A lot of users look to this bio section when they land on a profile;  that’s why it’s a great place to let users know when you usually respond on Twitter.

Microsoft understands this; that’s why they use their bio to let users know when they’re active (different schedules for weekdays and weekends).

customer-support-information-in-bio

This, in our opinion, is one of the best ways to set customer expectations straight–because hey, if you don’t set the right expectations, your customers will go right ahead and set it for themselves.

Like most people in the universe, your users are impressionable people. When a user sees that you’re active on Twitter, you’re active on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the same city, country or time zone. It doesn’t matter if it’s midnight or Christmas Eve. They’re going to hold you up to the highest standards, even if you don’t have the resources to meet such lofty expectations. The feature of 24×7 support is not a stretch if you’re a conglomerate. But it can be a stretch if you’re on a five-person team and all five of you are wearing multiple hats.

So if you’re a relatively small team or if you’re just staffing up, you can use the bio section in your Twitter profile to let people know you won’t be taking questions throughout the entire day. Customers may be more forgiving if they don’t instantly hear back from you when they see your bio.

You can shuffle around these use cases for bio and pinned tweets, too. You can link your help portal via the bio and announce availability of your customer service or social media team with a pinned tweet. Either way, too much communication is good practice in this case.

Turn On Direct Messages from Everyone

I’m not one for betting but I’d give you pretty good odds that most customers are tweeting to you about their last transaction–an issue, a refund, etc. A lot of the time, this would require specific information from them (like their order ID or software purchase date, for instance) so you can go look up records internally to see what went wrong.

And the best way to do this, and not have your timeline be just a series of tweets asking after Order ID, is to just DM them.

A good number of brands I’ve interacted with in the past via Twitter do a great job at responding quickly, but they often forget to follow me back so I can DM them the details they need to troubleshoot my issues. The last thing you want your customers to see is the message that they can’t reach you over a DM when they’re already anxious and confused.

direct-messages-setting

However, you can toggle this setting from this page so you can receive DMs from anyone, even from people you don’t follow. By doing this, you eliminate a moment of frustration for customers, and allow them to reach out to you seamlessly.

Add Deep Links to Direct Messages

Now that you know how to make it pretty easy for anyone to direct message your account, here’s a tip that can help you quickly guide the average user to reach you faster. A couple of months ago, Twitter launched deep links for DMs. Deep links, when clicked, open the direct messaging interface to your account so customers don’t have to bother going to your profile anymore. They can just hit the link in your tweet and start talking to your brand directly.

private-message-directly

It’s a great feature you can leverage if you have customers who are not tech-savvy, but Twitter hasn’t provided a quick and easy way to add the DM deep links to your tweets. But doing that isn’t rocket science either. Just go to Twitter’s settings page here, copy your user ID, and append it to this URL: https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id={account number here}.

Copy this URL and have it stashed somewhere so the next time you want a customer to direct message you any information, just paste this link to your tweet and voila! A “send a private message” option will appear right there in the place of the link. Be sure to toggle the setting we mentioned in the previous step so everyone can reach you quicker.

Let’s Wrap It Up with a Bow

  • Pin tweets to your profile page to let your customers know about important announcements/your self-service portal
  • Use the bio section to announce availability schedule and direct customers to self-service portal
  • Allow users to get in touch with you privately, regardless of whether you’re following them or not.
  • Guide the average user to reach out to you in a more secure and private manner by allowing deep linking.

Look, we’ll be the first to admit that no one can achieve complete mastery over an art and we’ve probably missed out on a couple of in-your-face pointers that can really help when you’re on deck. If you can spot one, drop us a note in the comments down below so we can learn and share what we learnt with everyone else!

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