The relationship between customer service and technology has not always been a happy one. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that when most consumers think of them together, they don’t necessarily recall a lot of good fuzzy memories about receiving efficient and excellent support. Between robo-callers and confusing phone trees and constant shouts of “HELLO MR. ROBOTO CAN I PLEASE SPEAK TO A HUMAN BEING?”, it’s clear that in some ways, support tech has actually made customer service a lot harder on the customer. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When used correctly, technology makes customer support easier, faster, and (believe it or not) more personal. And I’m not talking about building your very own clone of Rosie from the Jetsons. I’m talking about this newfangled service trend that’s sweeping the Interwebs-Twitter Support Pages.
Twitter has become an increasingly popular customer service platform for all kinds of companies. Here’s how it (usually) works: a customer has a question about a product. They go find the company on Twitter, sometimes by tweeting at a broader corporate account, like @Zappos, or otherwise, sending a message to a Twitter page made specifically by the larger corporation to provide consumer support, like @NikeSupport. A real live human being tweets back and forth with them to gather information and find a solution, and blam! Problem solved!
We like this format a whole lot, and here are the two big reasons why:
1. Soooo easy for customers!
Twitter, with 313 million monthly users, is already super familiar to many of these companies’ customers (millennials, in particular), and by moving support there, companies are using their consumers’ prior knowledge to everyone’s advantage. No more confusion about what button to press or where to send a message-for most of these customers, it really is just as simple as talking to a friend, because that’s exactly what people usually use social media for! Customers are already more comfortable just by nature of the platform that they’re using-and that’s helpful for everybody involved.
Some of these companies even take it a step further and intervene before their customers even have a chance to reach out. And no, it’s not via ESP-it’s by simply searching Twitter for mentions of their company name or product. Check it out:
This customer did nothing but mention Nike’s name and the team was on it. Now that’s what I call efficient.
2. Soooo much fun!
You’ve probably seen enough cat pictures and Arthur memes to know that Twitter isn’t always the most serious place-and that actually offers Twitter service reps a great opportunity to have some fun and be delightful! Zappos in particular does an excellent job of creating entertaining and personalized customer service experiences. They joke around with customers; they participate in the viral-meme-of-the-day; they even sign off each individual tweet with their initials for a human touch.
It’s appropriate for the platform and it’s appreciated by the customers-and that, my friends, is some damn good communication.
Perhaps the best thing about these Twitter support pages is that they’re super accessible for the people offering service, too. You don’t have to be a social media expert or even a trained customer service rep to start a Twitter support account. It’s just as easy to do if you’re a humble HR hero looking for an effective new way to answer benefits questions! All you need is a fun attitude and a desire to help. Just try not to get into too many online Cubs vs. Red Sox brawls along the way.