Is Twitter a Customer Service or a Marketing Channel?

Comments: 4

  • Michael, I wonder if your findings demonstrate that twitter accounts are either ‘owned’ by marketing or customer service but rarely with input from both departments at once?

  • Thanks for your comment Stuart. I wondered that too and I think it’s a good theory. I’m not sure though because look at Hershey’s and Lindt in the graph, both of which have two handles. Hershey’s has @Hersheys and @HersheysKisses. I’d guess that @HersheysKisses is more likely to be owned by marketing than customer service. It’s harder to guess about @Hersheys. Either way, @HersheysKisses measures higher on Response Rate (i.e. customer service responsiveness) than @Hersheys but lower on Post Engagement (marketing effectiveness). So I’m not sure. We’d probably need to look at more data over different time frames.

    But one takeaway I’d make from your comment is that companies need to figure out how to provide both customer service and marketing on a single handle. We faced this in the early days of the web where a single homepage had to serve as a marketing a customer service channel. It was solved by having different sections on a website. Same thing with 800 numbers where it was solved by the automated voice attendant saying “press one for sales, two for customer support”.

    Shameless plug: NetBase is doing it’s part to offer publishing capabilities that allow for shared governance.

    While I’ve got everyone’s attention, I’ll add one other follow-up data point. After authoring this blog I tweeted to @CadburyUK and @TCHOchocolate to congratulate them on their great marketing effectiveness and responsiveness, respectively. Guess who replied first? @TCHOchocolate, of course. But kudos to @CadburyUK who also did reply, just not as fast (they said “@mosofsky @netbase haha, but we do need to reply to more people! Easter was a tough time to keep up ;)”). Could have been due to timezones though… Either way, I’m impressed with both chocolate companies. Their chocolates serve different roles in my life.

  • Thanks for this interesting article, Michael. The best answer to your question “Is Twitter a Customer Service or a Marketing Channel?” has to be “It’s both.” The customer should have a seamless experience in social media and should receive promotional tweets from Marketing and answers to their questions from Customer Service. I am most interested about how a company staffs social media for Customer Service or for Marketing. Each group has a skill set, and they should do what they do best in Twitter.

  • Thank you for your comment Leslie. I agree with you that Twitter should be both a marketing and customer service channel. What I found remarkable was that none of the chocolate companies are excelling (by my metrics) at both. In other words, none of them are in the upper right quadrant of the bubble chart. I’m looking forward to finding an industry where multiple vendors conduct both marketing and customer service well on Twitter.

    When you say you’re interested in how companies staff social media for Customer Service of for Marketing, what aspect do you find most interesting? It seems like you’re acknowledging they are different skill sets. And would you agree they should be done by different people?

    So then maybe what’s interesting is how they share the common resource. Maybe some companies have different Twitter handles for customer service and marketing. In those cases, which department wins the right to use the proper name as the Twitter handle and which one acquiesces to a modified form of the name? Which department registered the Twitter handle and thus claimed it for use first? Are there some industries where it’s typically one of these departments that adopted earlier? For companies that use one handle, what is the governance structure? What are the patterns and best practices? How does marketing/customer sevice sharing vary across channels (Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Website/800 phone number/etc.).

    What’s the interesting aspect to you Leslie?

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