By John Pherson
Twitters myriad of uses
Twitter was created for the sole purpose of sharing status updates with friends, little did the founders of Twitter know that it would evolve into so much more. The social networking site has made enormous gains in usership and, more importantly, how it is used.
The flexibility of Twitters platform allows it to be used for a myriad of different ways, people can create accounts to “live tweet” events, share information about storms and even address customer concerns. These accounts dedicated to customer service are simply called “customer service handles” and they are growing in popularity among businesses and consumers.
A recent study by simply measured showed that 30% of the top 100 US brands have twitter handles dedicated to customer service. The same study found that professional Twitter handles dedicated to customer service received 198,000 and on average sent out 82,000 responses.
That means that if you are a consumer you have a 41% chance of getting a response if you tweet at a customer service Twitter handle. From a personal standpoint I feel that tweeting at a customer service handle is much easier than sending an email or calling but I don’t know how effective it would be at getting a problem solved.
Controlling social sentiment
Controlling social sentiment and brand image are the two best things any business can use a customer service handle for. By creating an account that users can complain to, a business redirects all of the negative sentiment that would be sent to its normal major brand account to the customer service handle.
Also, if a brand can incentivize disgruntled customers to complain to the customer service handle by responding to all of the tweets directed at that account, they can build up an image of a company that gives great customer service.
In a recent study by Maritz Research, 39.7% said that after a customer service handle responded to their tweet they felt “somewhat satisfied” and 34.7% felt, “very satisfied.”
Xbox has even started using their customer service handle to give real time technical support. Obviously Microsoft can’t solve larger more complicated issues regarding the gaming council, but in some occasions Xbox has solved some technical issues via tweeting.
The take away
Getting a customer service handle could be incredibly useful for some businesses. The most important thing about customer service handles are their ability to divert negative sentiment away from a business’s main Twitter account. I don’t think this type of customer service will ever replace traditional customer service methods but it is a useful, and some would say indispensable, tool for controlling the social sentiment of your brand.