Strategies to Handle Customer Service over Twitter

Now that businesses are starting to embrace Twitter, there have been some fascinating examples of great customer service.  Ford Motor Company is helping customers find parts, solving problems with accessories, and escalating customer service requests.  Comcast appears to be the Gold Standard with their Comcast Cares account which is solving customer problems with equipment, answering questions about service features.  Bloggers are also helping companies by raving about great experiences.

Photo By CarrotCreative

Photo By CarrotCreative


Despite these great examples, if your leadership is pushing you to use Twitter for customer service, the worst possible thing you can do is jump on the background without some careful thought.  Sit down with your leadership and have a strategic discussion around these specific areas:

Can we scale it?

Who will own it?

Can we handle the truth?

It doesn’t surprise me that many major companies like Microsoft aren’t fully using their Twitter accounts.  Sure, it can be powerful, but if not managed correctly, 140 characters can destroy years of successful marketing.

Photo By Carrot Creative from Flickr

Posted on April 13, 2009 at 8:40 pm by Ben Foster · Permalink
In: Leadership and Management, Strategy · Tagged with: , ,

11 Responses

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  1. Written by AP
    on April 14, 2009 at 4:49 am
    Permalink

    So will this help Comcast show up during the four hour window they inevitably can’t make?

  2. Written by AP
    on April 13, 2009 at 10:49 pm
    Permalink

    So will this help Comcast show up during the four hour window they inevitably can’t make?

  3. Written by Alain Breillatt
    on April 14, 2009 at 11:03 am
    Permalink

    Comcast actually was one of the early organizations to jump on Twitter as a means of successful customer support. If the whole organization was more like Frank then I and probably millions of others would still be using their services.

    Testing to see if HTML code is possible, here’s the link.

  4. Written by Alain Breillatt
    on April 14, 2009 at 5:03 am
    Permalink

    Comcast actually was one of the early organizations to jump on Twitter as a means of successful customer support. If the whole organization was more like Frank then I and probably millions of others would still be using their services.

    Testing to see if HTML code is possible, here’s the link.

  5. Written by Chris Brooks
    on April 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm
    Permalink

    Great post! I agree I think that Twitter is a great resource, but is a double edged sword when it comes to the damage and support it can provide.

    I believe that business will need to embrace the insight that Twitter will offer them and adapt to it.Such as brutal honest people. That will cause for some interesting transitions.

  6. Written by Chris Brooks
    on April 14, 2009 at 7:20 am
    Permalink

    Great post! I agree I think that Twitter is a great resource, but is a double edged sword when it comes to the damage and support it can provide.

    I believe that business will need to embrace the insight that Twitter will offer them and adapt to it.Such as brutal honest people. That will cause for some interesting transitions.

  7. Written by Alex Kemmler
    on April 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm
    Permalink

    I think that the point about tying twitter to a capable customer service team is key.

    I’ve seen more than a few blog posts which amend their cranky rants into adoring paens when a company notices bad feedback, responds to it, and fixes the problem that caused it in a quick fashion.

    Not an easy trick to pull off, but twitter also offers the opportunity to respond to customer feedback in real time – not just receive it. To me, this is a great way to tie the brand to a perception of a truly consumer/customer-oriented company.

  8. Written by Alex Kemmler
    on April 14, 2009 at 10:08 am
    Permalink

    I think that the point about tying twitter to a capable customer service team is key.

    I’ve seen more than a few blog posts which amend their cranky rants into adoring paens when a company notices bad feedback, responds to it, and fixes the problem that caused it in a quick fashion.

    Not an easy trick to pull off, but twitter also offers the opportunity to respond to customer feedback in real time – not just receive it. To me, this is a great way to tie the brand to a perception of a truly consumer/customer-oriented company.

  9. Written by Sevick
    on April 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm
    Permalink

    Twitter’s real threat to brand health is the speed at which the news will travel. A single well connected user with thousands of followers who has a bad experience can quickly escalate an issue into a firestorm of negative buzz.

    A good example of one well connected tweet changing the landscape would be uproar “mommy bloggers” raised about an advertisement for Motrin that started a chain reaction of criticism about the brand.

    So, some of it comes down to luck in terms of who is unhappy and how well connected they are. But the real lesson is that companies should examine the steps they will take should a crisis arise and plan for the worst.

  10. Written by Sevick
    on April 14, 2009 at 11:45 am
    Permalink

    Twitter’s real threat to brand health is the speed at which the news will travel. A single well connected user with thousands of followers who has a bad experience can quickly escalate an issue into a firestorm of negative buzz.

    A good example of one well connected tweet changing the landscape would be uproar “mommy bloggers” raised about an advertisement for Motrin that started a chain reaction of criticism about the brand.

    So, some of it comes down to luck in terms of who is unhappy and how well connected they are. But the real lesson is that companies should examine the steps they will take should a crisis arise and plan for the worst.

  11. […] Customer service on Twitter has been covered many times but it still isn’t being fully utilized by all companies […]

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