Can Twitter replace a customer support desk? Yes. I imagine it as a lobby (for the most part). Some lobbies are really spectacular, with feather filled cushions and complimentary coffee and scones. Then there are lousy ones where you tap your feet impatiently reading an OK! magazine from 2009 about some old celebrity break up and raising your eyebrows at the stain on the floor.
Picture yourself upset about a product that’s not working. You tweet at them. You’re looking for at the very least:
1) Initial response 2) Listening and attention 3) Effort 4) Solution
and all of this, fast.
Twitter has the ability to achieve this when done properly. Better than manning mutli-phone lines. Be quick, ask questions to ensure they understand the problem, and be willing to step out the confines of 140 characters if the problem is sensitive (i.e. exchange phone numbers, Skype). The key is quick and quality service. I realize not all problems can be solved online or via Twitter, but regardless, don’t leave the customer chilling in the lobby for too long. Eventually they won’t be chilling…they’ll be fuming!
What’s one thing that makes the lobby great? Having that kind secretary come out and check on you occasionally, and offer you complimentary coffee or even some Snackwell cookies (or homemade? even better)! If you’re manning the lobby/customer support desk, be sure you remind them often you’re working towards the solution. A customer service representative on Twitter can continue to engage with the customer, offering complimentary products or discounts (easily done online), and making the first move to tweet at them during the period of waiting.
Remember customer support includes listening to conversations and indirect comments about the brand (you can do this by using twitter search for your name/brand, or programs like Social Mention or SocialEars). Be confident and jump in conversations, and cause them to recognize you’re not their enemy. You’re there to allievate any concerns and you care. Next to speed, this makes Twitter customer service gold.
Special thanks to Anne Reuss for additional reporting, Networlding Team Member!