Twitter is fast becoming the go-to social network for consumers looking to provide feedback, meaning brands can no longer afford not to respond to enquiries they receive. Whereas in the early days of social media users were surprised to be contacted directly by brands, they have since come to expect a response and are often surprised when they don’t get one.
But what’s the best way to handle customer care issues on Twitter? This study conducted by Simply Measured reveals that 32 percent of the Interbrand 100 companies have dedicated customer service handles on Twitter, with examples including @NikeSupport, @NokiaHelps, @DellCares and @AskAmex. There are indeed many advantages of creating a separate Twitter account specifically for customer service. Here are just a few.
Management and Workflow
Creating a dedicated customer service handle is effective for any brand that has a high influx of customer service enquiries, however positive or negative. As far as practicality is concerned, it separates customer care issues from content marketing activity and enables companies to delegate social media management roles in a way that reflects their existing organizational structure.
For example, it’s not necessarily the job of community managers to deal with incoming customer service enquiries. Creating a dedicated customer service handle therefore gives the customer service team full control over incoming requests and allows community managers to concentrate on content marketing initiatives.
This doesn’t mean there can’t be an overlap between the customer service account and the main brand account. For instance, major brand announcements can be retweeted by the customer service account, while customer service issues raised with the main brand account can be redirected to the customer service handle.
Tone of Voice
More and more bands are engaging online consumers through a playful strategy, meaning a separate account through which more serious customer enquiries are addressed often makes sense. After all, the fun messages community managers use to engage online communities are far less suited to dealing with customer service issues, which may or may not be delicate. Moreover, it is often beneficial to keep customer service conversations separate so as not to break the rhythm and tone of ongoing content marketing campaigns launched through the main brand account.
You may think creating a dedicated customer service handle reduces the visibility of negative feedback. However, any bad buzz that does escalate is bound to spread beyond the confines of a single account. Any brand that sells products or services will receive feedback good and bad. So regardless of the account used, it is how feedback is managed that matters. When dealt with well, bad buzz can actually become good press.
All this is not to say that having a dedicated customer service handle is the only option. While it works well for many brands, it is by no means the right solution for all. What is important is management; whether you opt to manage customer service through a dedicated handle or the main brand account, those who manage the account(s) must have a clear idea of what their roles are in order to ensure the consistency of brand messages and swift responses to customer care issues.