Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

Listening to customers through Twitter

by Robert Driscoll on July 2, 2009

listen-To-Your-Customers-On-TwitterIn my previous post “How Brands Can Leverage The Power of Twitter, I discussed how companies can use Twitter to increase their companies sales. It is widely known that it costs companies more to find new customers than to keep their existing ones, yet too often they neglect their existing customers.

While many companies use call centers to address customer complaints, many customers feel like their frustrations go unheard. Today, more companies are starting to embrace the power of Twitter to market their new offers as well as a means of keeping their customers informed of changes, updates and addressing their unique concerns. Twitter is becoming another conduit for customer service and an opportunity for these companies to build their brand with new and existing customers. Twitter is not a means to replace a companies call center, but rather to complement it. In a recent USA Today article, it stated that, “the popular communications technology has helped companies quickly and inexpensively respond to customer complaints, answer questions and tailor products and services,” while at the same time, “easing the load on call centers and expensive mailers that most customers abhor.”

In the era of instantaneous communications, even email now is considered too slow. Companies like JetBlue and Starbucks are using Twitter (Click here to follow Jetblue on twitter and here to follow Starbucks on twitter) to update their customers instantly. JetBlue uses it to not only communicate their latest flight specials to their customers, but more importantly, informing them if their flight is delayed, in turn reducing customer frustrations. Starbucks uses it to get customer feedback on their services and to address customer complaints as well.

While using Twitter to tweet the latest product releases is what companies primarily use it for, it is just as important they pay attention to what their customers are also saying about them. Companies such as Salesforce have built Twitter in to their online customer service portal called the Service Cloud. Their service not only allows their customers to post complaints but also to search for relevant tweets, track responses and list their own.

Customers don’t want to be placed on hold when they call customer support. They want answers right away. Twitter is allowing companies to have these instantaneous conversations with their customers to not only help promote new products and services, but to handle and resolve complaints, in turn improving the company’s service to their customers.

The questions to ask yourself are: Are you using the new tools of “today” (like Twitter) to effectively “listen” to your customers? Or Are you sitting on the sidelines waiting for a better tool or are you just “happy” with what you have? Are you sure your competitors are not using the new tools of “today”, while you are waiting? What if your customers are talking to the customers of your competitors (trust me, they are!) and hearing of the ‘instant’ support they are getting? How long do you think they will “Wait” before they switch?

The answer is simple… listen to your customers through Twitter!