Since its inception in 2006, Twitter, has been invaluable as a news feed. It’s a great social media network to check who is making breaking news, or who scored the latest touchdown in the NFL.

However, perhaps one underlying feature which sometimes gets lost in the social media shuffle, is how great Twitter is a customer service tool for companies to use in real-time.

Whether you are a big company or small organization, Twitter can help improve your customer relations without having to spend lots more money.

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Image Credit by Pixelkult via Pixabay under the Creative Commons Public Domain

Why is Twitter a great tool for customer service departments to use? First off, companies can instantly meet consumer responses quickly to satisfy their needs. We often hear of stories when departments do not get back to customers right away when dealing with problems. Analysts recommend responding to complaints on social media within one hour, if possible.  Customer service can then acknowledge the concern, and take the time to research the problem. Let the power of Twitter come in now as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

An initial exchange of dialogue occurs between the customer and the customer service department of the five W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) of the problem. Videos and photos show the customers concern. After the initial exchange, the customer service department should get enough information possible to take the situation offline, via Twitter’s direct message feature to resolve the problem. Twitter’s feed, allows for simple and fluid conversation between the customer and the organization.

One example which uses Twitter effectively in helping resolve customer concerns is Winnipeg Transit. Transit acknowledges on a daily basis when they are there to take concerns. They acknowledge the ridership in a decent amount of time, have a quick and fluid exchange of information on the concern. Then Transit requests further information by a direct message to get back to the rider to resolve their issue. A personal example of this was back in February 2016, while I was on a local Winnipeg Transit bus, I was live streaming, and an incident occurred between a driver and a passenger wanting to get on. Fortunately, the stream was hash tag with #Winnipeg, and #WinnipegTransit. Winnipeg Transit customer service tweeted me within a matter of moments, and I explained the situation. They then direct message me for more information. While I don’t know what happened with the aftermath, Winnipeg Transit’s rapid response to my video stream shows how effective Twitter is for responding to customer issues.

Besides using resolving concerns, Twitter is great in building customer loyalty. A shocking stat from  Socialannex.com post notes it companies 500% more to get new customers, compared to keeping its current base. Twitter can help reduce these costs by building a bridge with customer and brand.

One company which excels at using Twitter in maintaining customer loyalty is JetBlue, the sixth largest US airline, focused on low-cost. JetBlue has used Twitter to rapidly respond to customer inquiries and helping to put a smile on customer’s faces with a team who according to Hubspot.com does not respond blindly to every tweet, to provide very valuable service to its customers. From May 2009 to August 2009 JetBlue’s Twitter account increased from 500,000 followers to 1 million, a dramatic increase in a very short span. It currently has over 2 million followers.

If you are a company, who is looking to provide value to its customer service and has not yet, Twitter is a great way to add value as a CRM tool for your business heading into 2017.