Using Twitter for Customer Service for a Small Business
You, yes you, the small-business owner, can use Twitter for customer service. You may think you don’t have time for Twitter, because running your business can be very time consuming.
Here are a few things that you can do to provide excellent customer service on Twitter and possibly even save yourself some time:
Recruit your loyal customers. Ask some of your best customers if they’d be willing to lend their expertise. Maybe a customer has a problem that other loyal customers may have experienced before. If you helped one of your loyal customers with this problem in the past, when someone else poses that question, that customer can answer it for you.
Write blog posts about your customers’ most frequently asked questions or most common problems. If you see some of the same issues over and over, write a detailed blog post that explains what the problem is, how to fix it, and how to prevent it in the future. Then, write a very short tweet about it that includes a URL to the article, and save that tweet in a word processing file in which you store your most commonly used responses. Whenever you get that question, copy and paste that response in a reply, and then send it to the customer.
When you send out commonly used responses that include a shortened URL, be sure to use the link from a URL shortener such as bit.ly. (Keep track of the number of times you send this tweet, and then track how many times twitterers have clicked the link.
For a little variety, and if you have the time, use a different URL each time so that you can see what kind of traffic patterns each link gets. You may start to see a pattern in click-through rates that can help you figure out a new social media or customer service strategy.
Write blog posts about issues that might become problems. If you identify an issue that may become a problem later on for your customers, write a blog post that addresses the issue. Don’t cover it up and hope it doesn’t blow up; otherwise, you’ll end up with much bigger problems (and a lot more wasted time). Promote the post to your customers through Twitter, e-mail, and any other communication you normally use with them. Try to head off most of the problems before they become problems.
Put someone else in charge of customer service. If you have someone in your business who can also handle this kind of problem, have him or her manage the Twitter side of customer service, while you deal with phone calls and in-person visits.
If you don’t currently have anyone else who can take some of your customer service workload, consider hiring someone to handle some of your customer service issues. Try to determine whether you could make up for the expense by spending all that reclaimed time in getting more sales.