Updated Dec 26 2019 :: by Max Al Farakh
We are trying something new with our blog. This is our first guest post from Xenia Lakti – blogger and journalist.

Five years ago users were extremely happy if you even responded to customer support tickets. Today they demand a response in a proper way in a proper time (best of all — before they even ask for it). Twitter has turned into a valid way to interact with brands and to share information about companies that provide poor service. Like it or lump it, you can’t ignore this. Dedicated Twitter account makes sense since social media support has become the new real-time marketing tool.

But you know what? Almost nobody cares. Most brands don’t have social media customer service at all. Guys from SimplyMeasured did a research and found, that only 32% of brands have dedicated customer service presence on Twitter. Their response rate hangs about 60 %. Best-in-class brands, on the contrary, diligently provide customer service on Twitter.

24-hour response time is not okay anymore

The benefits are obvious. Satisfied and loyal customers are more likely to buy from a company, recommend its products and the brand both personally and through social media. However the fact is: creating a dedicated support Twitter account raise expectations for a quick response.

Commonly thought, a good practice is to respond to incoming customer service tickets in 24 hours. Almost all brands meet this deadline.

customer service on twitter

Source: Customer Service on Twitter. Simply Measured Study, March 2014. http://simplymeasured.com/blog/2014/03/25/study-how-top-brand-marketers-use-twitter-for-customer-service/

Most top companies respond to tweets within 2-6 hours.

support responses

Source: Customer Service on Twitter. Simply Measured Study, March 2014. http://simplymeasured.com/blog/2014/03/25/study-how-top-brand-marketers-use-twitter-for-customer-service/

Companies assume that in case of emergency customers would rather choose the fastest helpdesk channel they know — call center or something like this. But that is not the case anymore.

With new media come new customer support expectations

Customers have extremely high expectations for a short response time on social media. A few of them expect a brand to respond within an hour. 24 hour response time is okay only for 12 %, and 14 % are ready to wait for a day or longer (Millward Brown Digital study, 2013). Only The Monster Inc. meets these lofty response expectations nowadays (and a handful of others like Microsoft and Amazon). The rest of the companies fail and face a service performance gap - a tremendous gap between their perception of users’ expectations and the expected service quality. The "Gap" model of service quality has described it 30 years ago. Nothing changes.

support expectations

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman & Berry, «Delivering Quality Service. Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations» Free Press, 1990.

Disappointed customers feel more negativity about the brand and almost 60 % of them are hungry for revenge. They’re ready to tell their friends about the experience, to shame your brand on social media, to stop buying your products and so on. It's disgusting.

Response time to tweets can significantly impact your overall reputation.

Best practices

There are four keys to improving your customer support on social networks:

  • Manage response rate and response time. The top companies respond in less than 30 minutes. Nike gives feedback in 12 hours. The problem is that the amount of tweets increases by almost 50 % year-over-year. And the CS reps have to reply on tweets sent both to the dedicated support account and brand’s primary account.

  • Staff up CS teams and raise the efficiency of the existing teams. Integrated helpdesk system, for instance, is an extremely good solution. It logs tickets from all channels and reassigns them between your team members

  • Do something with task management. The most common tactic to raise response time and rate is to divide incoming tasks into two groups: complicated tasks that require time and easy tweets that take a minute to respond. We measured once, 75 % of all support requests falls into the second group. Get rid of all this unsophisticated stuff. So called «canned response» to common complaints or questions speeds response time greatly and helps to settle up a good few of tickets.

  • Manage peak loads. It’s okay to respond during business hours in B2B. If you sell products or services to consumers, you may face an outburst of after-hours tweets. Anyway, analyze the traffic. If you find that a significant part of support requests are coming during after-hours, motivate the helpdesk staff to handle this issue or outsource it to someone in another time zone if possible.

'How to create a dedicated customer support Twitter account and not to fail?' was written by Max Al Farakh
Max Al Farakh
Max is a co-founder/CTO of Jitbit with tons of experience in customer service.

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