Less than 10 years ago, if a customer had a question about a product, they could either make a 1-800 call and risk waiting on hold or send an email and hope to hear back within a week. Both options had the added complexity of needing to know the right number or address to get help.

Now, consumers are increasingly taking advantage of a much easier option: head to Twitter and start a real-time conversation.

In just the last two years, Twitter has seen a 2.5X increase in Tweets to brands and their customer service handles. In fact, we hear from countless brands that 80% or more of their social customer service requests happen on Twitter.

Where the customers are, brands will follow. By using Twitter to help consumers, brands have seen a 19% increase in customer satisfaction ratings and an 80% decrease in cost per resolution. (It costs just about $1 to solve a problem via Twitter, as opposed to an average of $6 in the call-center).

Interacting with your audience on Twitter pays off—not just in cost or customer satisfaction, but in willingness-to-pay and brand awareness, as well.

Here are five best practices to help you create amazing customer experiences on Twitter.

1. Empathize With the Consumer and Offer to Help

Empathize with your customer and show them that you care. Did they have a bad experience with a product? Don’t be afraid to apologize. Are they having trouble getting through on your phone line? Say you understand their frustration. Are they still dissatisfied? Ask them what you can do to help.

As the graph below demonstrates, businesses that lead with empathy and friendliness in their interactions on Twitter are rewarded with customer recommendations.

Twitter customer service

Image source

Above all, show your customers that you hear them and are committed to finding the best solution to their problems.

2. Use Real Names (Including Your Own)

Customers want to know that they’re going to get the help they need and talking to a real person is assuring towards getting that resolution. That’s why, when possible, you should personalize your conversations.

As illustrated in the graph below, among consumers who stated they had a personalized interaction, 77% are likely to recommend the brand. They’re also 19% more likely to feel like they’ve reached a resolution.

Twitter customer service

Image source

One of the most common ways to personalize an interaction is to have your agents sign their Tweets with their name or initials. A less common but more valuable way to personalize the experience is to include the customer’s real name in your response. This is such a simple strategy, and yet only 8% of interactions include this tactic. As such, if you take this extra measure, it will differentiate your service from others’.

After all, if you were conducting a customer service phone call, one of the first things you’d do is say your name and ask for the customer’s. On Twitter, it doesn’t have to be any different.

3. Transition Interactions to DMs When Appropriate

Sometimes, your conversation has to be private so the customer can share personal information or resolve a complex issue. Twitter is making it easier than ever to transition from public Tweets to private Direct Messages with the new DM prompt feature.

Twitter customer service

Image source

Customer service reps can now add a call-to-action button to their Tweets, inviting the consumer to click and start a Direct Message thread. This limits the time it takes to switch over to a private chat and keeps the conversation running smoothly.

Early usage has shown that customers who are sent a DM prompt follow through to actually send a DM roughly 30% more often than those who are asked to DM via text only. We’re excited about the impact this implies for helping brands and customers get to more resolutions!

4. Have a Quick Time-to-Response

How’s this for motivation to respond quickly? Sixty percent of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes. Think about it: The longer you wait to respond, the more time the consumer has to get frustrated (or even check out your competitors).

To demonstrate the impact of response times, Twitter ran a study with users who reached out to airlines for customer service. They found that if customers received a response in less than six minutes, their willingness to pay increased by nearly $20. The lesson here is the quicker you can respond, the higher the customers’ willingness-to-pay is for a future purchase.

Twitter customer service pays

Image source

Do you have a high volume of Tweets coming in? Be sure to set up a workflow so your team will be prepared to respond with speed and efficiency.

5. Be Proactive in Starting Conversations

Responding to people who @mention your brand is a good start. But if you want to deliver unexpectedly delightful customer service, try being proactive and responding to Tweets that don’t mention your handle or brand but where you can be helpful.

For example, you can find people who are having issues that your products can solve. Let them know how you can help and offer to answer any questions they may have. Or, say a user Tweets about traveling for a wedding; an airline could reach out and offer tips on how to pack a suit or find a great wedding gift.

Not only will the potential customer appreciate it, but their friends and the whole world will see the interaction to create a positive associate with your brand.

Improving Your Customer Service

If brands want to engage in efficient, real-time conversations with customers across the globe, they should start by building a strong customer service operation on Twitter. Without doubt, your audience is already there. You just have to show them that you’re listening and there to help.

This process will only get easier as Twitter releases new features like DM prompts. Still, delivering great customer service can be tricky. It’s best to set the tone for a friendly and productive conversation by responding quickly, showing empathy, and personalizing your Tweets.

Measuring the customer’s feedback about your service is critical to understanding if these tactics create a better experience. Twitter’s new Customer Feedback functionality makes it simple to ask NPS or CSAT questions to measure and improve your service. Initial use has shown that Customer Feedback requests sent receive a response more than 50% of the time!

Twitter customer service

With these key tactics, you’ll be well on your way to improving the speed and quality of your customer service on Twitter.

Make Your Customers Happy With Better Social Customer Care

Watch the Free Webinar

Read more: