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Twitter customer serviceCustomers are the life stream of any company, so it is important to keep them happy. Without them even the best of companies will fall apart. With their backing and support, companies can grow and achieve unimaginable heights.

Customer service is an evolving science that looks very different now than it did 5 years ago. In today’s business environment, customers now have easy means to connect with other customers via social media and this can lead to positive or negative press about a company, which can dramatically affect a company’s reputation.
 
If properly utilized, Twitter can be a great tool to leverage in your customer service strategy. There are many positive benefits that can be gained from a successful customer service-oriented presence on Twitter. Here are a few to consider:

 twitter customer service rep 1. Rapid response time: Twitter is a lightning-fast platform that enables a customer service team to respond to technical IT support and operational support issues almost instantaneously. The 140 character limit forces customers and customer service reps to be direct and to the point and this leads to much quicker problem resolution times than traditional forms of customer service like a customer service call center or email center. Customers love quick service and it makes them feel highly valued. Customers will oft times tweet about their experience, which can lead to a positive publicity buzz as well.

  2. Cost reduction: Twitter enables companies to resolve small problems in a very short period of time, as many minor issues can be resolved via a single tweet in a matter of minutes. Removing these easily resolved small issues via Twitter will clear up call lines for more complex problems and decrease response times. Plus it will also reduce the head count needed to manage your customer service operations since Twitter customer service people can service far more issues in an hour than a call center representative, which will decrease your overall costs.

  3. Ensures customer concerns are heard: Twitter empowers the consumer to notify other users of issues, complaints and concerns to keep you in line. This will ensure that your product quality and service stays on course and ensures you are responsive to customer needs and concerns.

  4. Positive brand image: Great customer service gets talked about and leads to increased exposure, referrals and sales. Twitter is a viral platform – one customer tweet and your brand name can make quite a statement. However, a mismanaged complaint over Twitter can spread like a wildfire.
 
  5. Find Out What Your Clients Really Want: Tracking your customer comments about your products and services will teach you a lot about their needs or concerns regarding your product(s) and/or service(s), which can help you better refine your product/service strategy and design. You can also gain insight from prospective customers who are following your company or competitors on Twitter. This information will be invaluable in developing you company’s sales and marketing strategy as well.

To help you get started in designing a Twitter customer service strategy, you should check out the way Zappos (@Zappos_Service), Salesforce.com (@asksalesforce) and Comcast (@ComcastBill) use Twitter for customer service.

Brandon Hickie works with OpenView’s portfolio companies to develop business strategies and optimize market and product positioning by means of market research, market intelligence, and customer and marketing analytics.