Is Twitter trying to be the most important customer service channel?
Twitter has announced the rollout of the long-rumored feature of being able to send people private messages via its direct messages capability, without them following one another. As you probably know, historically in order to send somebody a direct message in private on Twitter both parties had to follow one another. Now, however, Twitter is saying that if you set your account accordingly to be able to accept direct messages from people who you do not follow, you can get those messages.
If you set your account that way – and you have to elect to do so in your settings – opens up a tremendous amount of potential spam. I don’t necessarily want a lot of direct messages from people that I don’t follow. However, I believe the play here is to set Twitter up as an even more important part of the business-to-consumer customer service infrastructure.
Twitter’s Role in Customer Service is Massive
Today, more and more customers are using Twitter to contact companies (a theme I’ll discuss a lot in my forthcoming new book, Hug Your Haters).
But it’s been ungainly when somebody complains to a company on Twitter and that company has to say, “Thanks very much, Mr. Customer. Please follow us, and we’ll be able to send you a direct message to get your account information, etc.,” because as you know the behavior of following somebody or something on Twitter is essentially an expression of support. So in a customer service context, the consumer thinks, “Look, I’m upset. I hate these guys. I don’t want to follow them and “vote” for them with my follow.” So this will alleviate some of that psychological barrier and allow businesses to conduct their customer service in private as opposed to in public.
Now, of course, the parallel construct here is that Twitter, as always, is trying to mimic Facebook almost feature for feature. Facebook has had Facebook Messenger for a while, which allows businesses to interact with customers in private. Twitter is just meeting them on that playing field.
How often do you use Twitter for customer service as opposed to Facebook? Our research for Hug Your Haters shows that Facebook is actually used far more than Twitter, but I think that’s not necessarily true for the digital cognoscenti, the kind of folks who are reading Convince & Convert.
Sprout Social Shoutout
Today’s SproutSocial shoutout is for Sean McGinnis. Sean is a terrific, brilliant digital marketer. He’s in charge of a lot of things digital at Sears. Really, really sharp guy. Lives in Chicago, as you might suspect. You should be following Sean in social media. He is a very, very smart man. You will learn a lot.
This video is from Jay Today is my near-daily 3-minute video where I talk about social media, content marketing, business and life. JayToday is available on Youtube, iTunes (as a video podcast, and now as an audio podcast too), and at JayToday.tv. The show is sponsored by Sprout Social (which I use for my social media), and Candidio (a great video editing service).
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