Last week, Twitter announced it will go public soon, in the obvious way, with a tweet. This IPO pre-announcement set the pundits and analysts buzzing about the possible value of the company based on revenue and earnings multiples, monetization strategies, mobile marketshare, and the value of the customer profile information that Twitter could mine about the 500 million or so people who tweet.
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But there’s one ingredient that Twitter brings to the party that’s being under-hyped: customers’ rising use of Twitter for customer support. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn or many other social media darlings, Twitter fills a real need that customers have: the need to get quick answers and problem resolution.
Often the fastest way to get the attention of a company that’s ignoring your plight is via Twitter. (Tweeting your dissatisfaction doesn’t always get fast action, but in my experience, it works about 7 times out of 10 with both B2B and B2C companies.) As one tuned in CEO put it:
“Twitter is the small claims court of customer support. Twitter is where people go to get a goddamn answer from you when they can’t get it elsewhere.”
There’s nothing that CEOs, brand managers, marketing managers, and product managers hate more than public tweets about lousy product performance or lousy customer service around their brands. It used to be that outsourced services simply monitored customer sentiment on Twitter and produced reports for marketers and execs. Now, more and more companies have decided to invest in integrating Twitter monitoring and real-time response into their customer support operations. Why? Because it’s good business. You catch issues as they arise, deal with them, and, because these interactions are public, you regain customers’ trust—the trust of the customers whose problems have been solved (or at least mitigated), and the trust of the millions who may be watching or searching for skivvy about your products/brands.
It’s not too late to make Twitter an essential part of your customer service process. In fact, it’s an investment that is a perfect way to differentiate your brand. Why? Because many companies haven’t yet figured this out, and the chances are good that some of your competitors are clueless. So run around in front of this customer parade and make sure that you’re using Twitter as the strategic customer support platform that it is.
What’s that worth to investors? Being the platform of choice for customers to use to interact with all of their suppliers? That’s huge!
Four Reasons Why Customers Prefer Twitter for Customer Service
Quick Response, Fast Action, Public Shame, & Instant Updates
Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Sr. Consultant, September 19, 2013
(Read the short sample and download the full article in PDF.)