Sunday, August 19, 2012

Twitter Customer Service

I have read some articles on how companies use Twitter for customer service. The crux of the article is that they try to respond to each Tweet. I sort of get this, and I sort of don't.

The don't get part is--what is unique about Twitter? And, assuming that the vast majority of the issues are negative, why encourage a medium that is public? My point is that Twitter doesn't really allow companies to do anything that they couldn't have been doing all along via email, if they had wanted to make the same kind of investment. I.e., rather than responding to emails with robot-generated messages, if they had actually taken the same time to field emails as they do Twitter, the result would be the same.

So how to explain the difference? I think it is the sum of a few things. One, the fact that Twitter is public cuts two ways. First, it increases a company's motivation to respond. The second way the public nature of Twitter differentiates it from email is that it may, just may, temper the extent to which people complain irrationally and unreasonably, as compared to email. This is probably a sustainable difference, even though people could, if they catch on, create a different Twitter account for their corporate complaints.

Two, the way Twitter has grown is relatively fast but somewhat linear. So the volume of Tweets has probably been much more manageable than email might be. I am curious to see how long that lasts, because as more people catch on to the fact that the way to get a company's attention it to call them out on Twitter, the volume may become overwhelming, just like email would be.

Three, the Twitter audience may be a self-selecting audience worth paying special  attention to. Higher-income, which is important for obvious reasons. More sophisticated, which is important because: one, the feedback may be more discerning and useful; two, because they may be influencers.

Okay, so as I assess what I have written so far, I think that I have answered my own question. Clearly the question that follows is--how long will Twitter remain a privileged avenue for customer service? My prediction is 2-5 years. Either it will become clogged, or it will decline in popularity.

No comments:

Post a Comment