Home > Customer Service > The Practicality of Providing Customer Service via Twitter

The Practicality of Providing Customer Service via Twitter

I was reading through some posts (ThisIsMoney and The Independent) around customer service and Twitter and I wondered how the back-end, service rep folks viewed this. As one myself, here are some thoughts:

  1. Is it really just marketing (“look we’re down with the kids“), or something to stem any negative publicity?  If I want help as a customer wouldn’t I just ask via the existing channels?
  2. Since many customer service queries are done already via the web (email, web-based ticketing etc), is the thinking that its just another input channel that has to be monitored/integrated?
  3. Tweets normally require fast responses, faster than email, so even slightly complex problems will be taken offline (e.g. into email) as you cannot research problems for very long. Tweets are also loosely coupled, unlike a forum (or email/ticketing system) where threads can be tracked, completed and reused.
  4. You cannot say much in 140 characters either, again a case for taking anything complex offline.
  5. Twitter users normally just say how they feel right now, and it must come as a surprise when the target speaks back. Problem is as humans sometimes we just like to moan, usually about a problem we’ve had in the past (i.e. now fixed).
  6. Is this extensible as an official delivery channel? Surely not.  How easy is it to parse all tweets with your company name in, looking for things you can really action? Sounds a bit painful.
  7. Twitter is public, so it wouldn’t work for customers paying any kind of service fee, unless perhaps they registered their twitter username/s with their service provider (and hence only those would get looked at).  Sounds like an admin pain.

I guess my first point is the most relevant … if I want customer service then I should have a good channel to get it and not have it forced upon me.  Make the existing channels simpler, easier and more accessible then there would be no moaning on twitter in the first place!

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