The best customer service is an instant, helpful response. Twitter is a real-time, direct line to customers and as a business owner, you should take advantage of it. Poor customer service has become the norm, so most people expect an annoyingly lengthy process when they give companies feedback. If you surprise them with promptness, you'll create a lasting, memorable experience between customers and your brand.
Here are three examples of Twitter being used for excellent customer service, and how your company can do the same:
- Use Twitter to break down walls between unhappy customers and yourself, like JetBlue.
Airlines seem to make everyone angry these days. A few years back, customers were especially upset with JetBlue for extreme delays and poor service.
The solution: JetBlue, which was one of the first major brands to use Twitter, turned to social media to appease customers. Their CEO explains, "Our routes mean we’re really susceptible to weather issues, so if there’s a rash of delays, I can say [on Twitter], Heads up, everybody. When travelers have more knowledge, it helps them keep calm. That affects their dealings with people in the airports, which reflects back to them. It can change the dynamics in the airport, and that makes all of our lives a lot easier."
In one particular situation, JetBlue responded to Twitter complaints about lack of heat on an airplane and a missing desk attendant. The airline tweeted a reply in real-time, coughing up a delightfully helpful response within minutes.
The lesson: Since Twitter is real-time, use it to respond to inquiries quickly. Says JetBlue's CEO, "“That’s a clichéd phrase, but Twitter really is about tearing down the artificial walls between customers and the individuals who work at companies.”
- Get a positive conversation started about you, like Toyota
Toyota has had a tough year. In late 2009 and early 2010, Toyota had to recall millions of vehicles for safety reasons. This resulted in a negative public opinion and decreased sales. To fix the damage, they turned to Twitter.
The solution: According to TechCrunch, "The Japanese auto giant has launched a branded channel on TweetMeme, in partnership with Federated Media, which aggregates and organize Twitter conversations regarding Toyota.
"Called Toyota Conversations, the site brings together the top stories being Tweeted about Toyota, from news articles to press releases. The site also shows visitors the most popular videos and images being shared about Toyota on Twitter. And the channel includes a Featured Tweets from Toyota’s Twitter account and press room as well as AdTweets, which are Tweetmeme’s retweetable ads for Toyota."
The lesson: Don't shy away from conflict. It's often a good idea to start the conversation and let people vent. Plus, when you start the conversation, you get to be the moderator and control some of the information being discussed.
- Respond to complaints instantly, like Comcast
Sports fans are passionate, so imagine sitting at home, eagerly waiting to see the Celtics play in a championship game, and realizing your cable is messed up. Not good. This happened to a well-known podcaster, CC Chapman, who Twitter blasted a complaint about Comcast.
The solution: Comcast handled the situation with urgency and timeliness. They sent a cable man to Chapman's house and repaired the signal before the tip off of the next game.
The lesson: Set up digital alerts. When a customer needs something, you'll know immediately and can be there to assist them. It sure made a great headline when The Globe wrote about Comcast's excellent Twitter customer-service.