On the vast landscape that is the Internet, Twitter is fast becoming more and more of a powerful tool to be utilized for sales purposes. In the past, most people have probably thought of Twitter as just another social media site on which to communicate with others – friends, famous people, and even news outlets. Then, companies began to discover the many uses that Twitter has.

Twitter forces the user to be clear and concise in tweets
– 140 characters goes by very quickly if you are rambling. Companies have utilized these 140 characters to do so many things. Advertising, linking, and company voice type posts have all become popular. Twitter is also being used as an incredibly powerful customer service tool.

For example, I often browse a blog called Dooce. The writer of the blog had written several entries regarding buying a new washing machine. The machine broke and needed parts replaced even though it was quite new. She was having a hard time getting someone from the washing machine company’s customer service department to take her seriously. The Dooce blog is quite popular and the writer has many Twitter followers. She decided to tweet her grievances to the company. Lo and behold, not only did her problem get fixed almost immediately, a rival washing machine company offered her one of their sets (washer and dryer) for free! I believe that she decided to donate the free pair to a women’s shelter. Such is the power of Twitter as a customer service force.

Another interesting Twitter personality is a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. A video post about him on TWiT.TV was recently brought to my attention. Gary is the CEO and co-founder of a social media consulting company. More relevant to this post, however, he also works for an online wine retail store as the co-owner and the director of operations. While he is less active with the wine business lately, he still does and always has made a point to personally answer every single tweet regarding his wine business with a clear and thoughtful answer. In turn, his online wine store became immensely popular.

Social media as a customer service tool is still a rather new concept in the grand scheme of things. However, there are key ingredients to making social media work for your business that you should follow. As a small business owner or operator, it’s a great idea to take advantage of utilizing as many social networks as time and resources will allow for. The more networks that you are able to maintain a presence on, the more opportunities to display great customer service. In turn, this can also drive up your sales. Consumers tend to respond strongly (and with their wallets) to companies that they perceive as having great customer service.

If you are a new or up and coming business, consider using Twitter to do some research on what similar companies are doing or offering. Pay special attention to how any disputes or complaints are resolved. Twitter can be a great tool to help build your brand and subsequently, your reputation for customer service. The blog post on this site titled 8 Twitter Powerhouses You Must Follow is a great read if you are looking for shining examples of people who use Twitter as a tool to communicate with others.