Twitter Customer Service Tips

Tips For Good Twitter Customer Service

By Staff Writer
In December 12, 2013

140 characters doesn’t sound like much, but a single tweet is often enough for an individual to sound off about a brand – and if not managed correctly, to do some serious damage. It’s no wonder that some companies are still a little anxious about exposing their brands to Twitter. But if you can successfully manage the conversation with unhappy customers, you’ll see that Twitter is a very powerful customer service tool. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with these ticked-off tweeters and ways to turn a negative tweet into a positive interaction.

Calculate Risk of Twitter Customer Service

1. Calculate your risk and have a plan before starting a conversation.

A great example of a recent brand conversation that should have probably never happened is the #AskJPM Twitter event by JPMorgan. Billed as a Q&A session with vice chairman Jimmy Lee, the event was canceled before it even started due to a Twitter tempest in which unhappy customers and the general public used the Q&A format to ridicule and reprimand JPMorgan for questionable business practices and bad mortgage loans. This line from a great post about the JPMorgan Twitter event sums it up quite nicely: “brands should only select social media to start conversations that they are comfortable not controlling.”

To their credit, JPMorgan admitted that the event was a bad idea. But killing the event before it even officially began indicates to anyone following the conversation that JPMorgan did not want to hear their complaints, which doesn’t project a good image of the type of customer service the company provides.

Twitter Customer Service Is Authentic and Friendly

2. Be authentic and friendly.

When an unhappy customer trolls your Twitter account, it might be tempting to be playful and come back at them with a few jabs. But unless your brand is known for being feisty, your playful jabs may make your brand unlikable – and that’s never a good thing. The Orange Bowl Twitter account recently came under fire for some unkind tweets directed at their “haters.” The mean-spirited tone of the tweets felt incongruous with the Orange Bowl brand personality and was, unsurprisingly, not well received.

Take Twitter Customer Service Offline

3. Try and take the conversation offline.

If an unhappy customer has a complaint about your product or service, the best thing is to respond quickly with genuine concern and try to take the conversation offline as soon as possible. Tell them you will be reaching out to them with a direct message so that they and others can see you have responded in a timely fashion, then reach out to them privately for more contact information so that you can handle their issue.

People will often be impressed with the speed at which you respond and your eagerness to make things right. Even if the unhappy customer has gripes about your product, he or she is likely to use Twitter to talk about the good customer service they received.

Twitter Customer Service Can't Fix Everything

4. Recognize that you can’t fix everything, and that’s okay.

On one of the Twitter accounts we manage for a client, we received some less-than-wonderful tweets from some unhappy customers regarding the availability of a product. There had been some issues in manufacturing, and the launch of the product had been delayed by several months. While this situation was out of everyone’s control, we wanted to make sure that these customers felt like they had been heard. We apologized, connected them with sales representatives so that they could get the full story about the delays, and regularly sent them updates so they felt like they were getting personal attention. It didn’t make the product launch happen any sooner, but it gave us a direct line of communication with the people who were anxiously awaiting the product so that we could keep them posted (and hopefully happy!).

Twitter Customer Service Is About Making Lemonade out of Lemons

5. Make lemonade out of lemons.

That’s right. These unhappy customers may be a pain, but they could also alert you to important issues with your product or service. Perhaps they are using your product incorrectly – once you have resolved their issue, share this information with the rest of your followers to help reduce the number of unhappy customers you may encounter down the road. You could even make it the subject of a blog or a short video. Or if you turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, share that experience with your followers to demonstrate your transparency but also your commitment to good Twitter customer service.

Looking for a little inspiration? Here are ten brands who have mastered the art of Twitter customer service.

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!