social customer care

Twitter is Dead, Long Live Twitter (Ask your Customers)


Twitter is dead.

No one is on Twitter.

Sound familiar? I’ve heard a lot about how Twitter is dying as a social media platform lately. Apparently no one is on it and we are wasting our time.

The truth is, Twitter isn’t dead, it’s just changing.

I remember in 2009, when I joined Twitter, it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining. Oprah and Ashton Kutcher hadn’t discovered the power of 140 characters yet. Neither had businesses. It was a place for people to connect around shared interests. A person could discuss a topic with someone they admired. Hashtags were communal objects we all gathered around for things like tweet chats. That does still happen but it’s far from the glory days. It’s much more noisy. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant, or useful.

A look below at active users shows a platform that is maturing and plateauing in usage. Sure there was a down quarter in 2015, but every quarter otherwise, there’s been some measurement of growth (even marginal) right until the end of 2016.

Social media usage

I can’t argue that Twitter, as a business, hasn’t really done much to improve it’s service. It’s had a few upgrades lately but nothing that would cause Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram or Snapchat any concern. This does explain the diminishing growth.

The change is actually driven by its users, not the business. But what is it changing into? A vital customer service channel.

More and more people tired of complicated phone trees, delayed load times for Live Chats and “we’ll help you when we hire enough staff to respond” on-hold wait times, are using Twitter to get their questions and concerns addressed.

Twitter reported that customer service interactions have increased 250% on Twitter in the last two years.  That’s more than a little significant.

Here’s a few stats more stats to get you thinking:

  • Companies that invest in customer service on Twitter have found that resolving issues on the platform can lead to over 95% of issues being resolved in-channel, and can achieve a customer satisfaction rating of over 90%. – McKinsey & Company
  • Twitter data shows that nearly 40% of customer tweets never get a response from the company. – McKinsey & Company
  • 60% of customers expect companies to respond to them on social within the hour. –Twitter
  • 82% of people who engage with a brand on Twitter for customer service report sharing their positive experience with others, while only 44% who engage on other channels (phone, email, chat, in-person) share their positive experience with others. – Twitter

Not to get drowned in numbers, and you will if you Google “Twitter customer service stats”, but the big takeaway is that more than any other social media platform, Twitter is a customer service tool. Which makes sense as it’s importance grew due to its immediacy and accessibility. And that’s what customers want. To feel they can easily reach a company and that their time is valued.

A few ways you can make Twitter a bigger priority:

  1. Have staff dedicated to community managing the platform rather than far off the side of their desk.
  2. Use it more for response and helpful customer information rather than promotion.
  3. Install a mobile app like Sprout Social, Hootsuite or the native app so you can monitor and respond after hours and weekends.
  4. Be friendly and empathic.
  5. Respond quickly. Even if you don’t have an answer, tell them you’re working to show you’re listening and value their time. You can’t over communicate.
  6. Respond to everyone. (yes, even the ones that swear)
  7. Direct Message those that need a longer explanation.
  8. Collect the customer feedback and issues that arise and share with the rest of the organization.

The phone, face-to-face, email and now Twitter (and Facebook even more so but no one is saying it has died) are the life blood of customer communication.

Twitter isn’t dead. Hell, it’s not even sleeping. It’s tweeting and wanting you to respond, or they’ll go to your competitor.

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