Ecommerce brands have usually been skeptical about casual tweeting and prioritized professionalism. But, in 2018, Wendy’s, a fast-food chain, managed to break the mold by roasting their competitors using the uninhibited Gen Z lingo. Others soon followed suit and became more informal with their tweets. This casual approach of the brands generated a sense of familiarity that encouraged the customers to be more forthcoming with their grievances. Initially, it was challenging for the brands to filter out the inquiries and address the issues on the platform.
But, with time, brands have established some award-winning Twitter customer service strategies. And, here is how you can do the same for your DTC brand.
Why use Twitter for Ecommerce/DTC customer care?
Incorporating Twitter into your DTC customer service strategy can do wonders for the overall reputation of your brand. To begin with, Twitter offers your direct channel to your customer and enables you to offer swift solutions. The open-to-public approach of Twitter helps you signal your willingness to help your patrons and prospects. DTC brands that use Twitter for customer service are also more accessible and inviting.
As an Ecommerce/DTC brand, you can take preemptive measures by tweeting about server downtimes and persistent errors in your application. Twitter is often the go-to place for most customers to check if others are also facing the same issues. So, sending out a notification to them usually pacifies most of their concerns.
Customers can also follow threads and troubleshoot their own issues. In the long run, the DTC Twitter customer care strategy helps your Ecommerce reduce the total number of complaints. When done well, Twitter customer support helps reduce the number of customer complaints and ultimately reduces the support staff in the call center.
Creating a DTC Twitter Customer Service strategy
1) Define Your Brand Voice
You don’t have to abandon your brand voice while assisting the customers. In fact, using the same brand voice across various channels and different services will help maintain the consistency of your brand personality. You can create engaging responses using emojis, GIFs, videos, and images. All the best brands on Twitter have their very own distinct voice.
Therefore, before developing a DTC Twitter customer service strategy, you need to choose a brand voice. It can be formal, casual, professional, or even informal. Nothing, a mobile brand, regularly interacts with its customers using an informal brand voice and emojis. More often than not, they do not even focus on proper capitalization. Yet, they are loved by customers for their authenticity. So, before deciding on your customer service voice, you also need to consider your audience demographic.
2) Train Your Team
A critical Twitter best practice for brands is to offer proper training to your employees. They should prioritize customer interactions and be well-informed about the possible problems and their solutions. Again, sharing brand personality guidelines with your customer support team will help them interact with the aggrieved customer while maintaining the brand voice.
Of course, it is natural for your Twitter customer support team to feel emotionally agitated while interacting with some anonymous accounts. Any misstep on their part can create a massive backlash for the brand. Consequently, your customer support executives need to be trained in de-escalating these situations and disengaging from the conversation when the need arises.
Let’s take a Twitter customer service example. One of Macy’s customers was disappointed with their customer call support. So, they used Twitter to vent their frustration. Macy’s Twitter customer service team immediately jumped to the rescue and tried to de-escalate the situation. They also encouraged the customer to contact them via private DMs to keep the matter away from the public eye.
3) Utilize Automation
Most probably, your support team looks after multichannel customer support. It means they’re busy juggling between answering queries over calls, emails, social media, and other channels where your brand sells. Over the day, manually tracking and answering hundreds of queries is a cumbersome task and your support reps might falter at maintaining consistency.
As a result, one of Twitter's best practices of customer service involves using automation. Automated tweets help you tackle these problems at their roots. For example, you can set up a Twitter bot that instantly responds to customers by asking them for more details whenever they post their issues online. Similarly, you can create a bot that automatically updates the customer about the status of their service.
Let’s look at another hardware store Lowe’s and how it tackles customer service on Twitter by first asking customers for the basic details like the name on the order, phone number, and so on. This way, automation gets the basic information and the rep can track the details before getting on a call with the customer.
4) Establish Policies and Procedures
Customers reach out to brands on Twitter because they want to be heard. And, if the tweet goes viral, it could result in bad press and reputational damage to your brand. To avoid such predicaments, you need to set up procedures and policies to instantly address customer issues.
For example, first, you can use a Twitter comment bot to respond to the inquiry and ask the customer for more details. Once the information about the problem has been compiled, a customer support executive can reach out to the customers via private DMs to have a more uncluttered conversation with them. And, after the issue is resolved, you can kindly request them to remove their previous one or put up another tweet commending the prompt response from the brand.
Implementing Twitter Customer Service: Best Practices
1) Monitor Twitter Conversations
Yes, monitoring the direct messages and brand mentions makes up a big part of the Twitter customer support strategy. However, if you are only doing these two then you are massively limiting the reach of your strategy. Along with messages and direct mentions, you have to set up provisions to monitor the hashtags, the untagged company mentions, names of the top management, and product names. All these systems will help you cover all your blind spots and keep you safe from unexpected public smear campaigns.
Social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite and SproutSocial could help you monitor Twitter customer support and overall brand sentiment.
2) Respond Quickly
Instant Twitter conversations and replies have set a wrong precedent. Customers expect the brand to respond the moment they air their concerns on social media. Therefore, setting up an automated response system will be crucial as social media managers won’t have the time to monitor all the mentions. Furthermore, these automated responses should be personalized to foster a pseudo-personal relationship that the customer shares with the brand. Twitter is a constantly evolving social media landscape. Ensure you mention the timings when your support team replies to customer queries.
While some of the big brands that use Twitter for customer support have reps who respond 24/7, a small business might often have limited reps and often it is the brand’s owner who responds to customer issues on Twitter. It becomes even more important for DTC brands to set the expectations of response time on Twitter,
3) Providing Great Customer Service
AI replies and Chatbots can only carry the conversations up to a certain extent before sounding monotonous and robotic. Hence, don’t rely on these automated systems to solve all the issues for your customer. They should only be built to act as the first line of defense. Following that, your customer care executive needs to take over the conversation. A 2019 CGS report also confirms this sentiment where 86% of the aggrieved shoppers preferred to converse with a human compared to a chatbot.
The key to great customer service not just on Twitter but across the spectrum of channels is to be empathetic to the customer. Hear them out. Take responsibility for damaged products. Ensure that you respond to them, be it positive or negative shoutouts.
4) Track Customer Service Performance
Constantly measuring and tweaking your Twitter customer support strategy will enable you to stay on top of your competitors. But, to make it possible, you need to lay down the parameters with which you will be comparing your customer service performance.
To start with, use the response rate to see how willing your customer service is to respond to mentions. A higher response rate shows a willingness to address concerns and offer quick solutions.
Next, measuring the time to the first response will help you optimize your automated response system. Similarly, measuring other metrics, like outbound tweets, brand replies, engagement rate, sentiment analysis, and following count, will empower you to make minor, yet consistent, improvements to strategies for using Twitter for customer service.
Brands that are nailing Twitter Customer Support
Zappos is an Ecommerce brand that deals with footwear, along with different other apparel. Its Twitter customer service is highly personalized and adds a human touch to every single tweet.
The Twitter customer support service was quick with their responses when a disgruntled customer took their issues to a public forum. In the response tweet, Zappos immediately apologizes to the customer before offering them any solutions. Then, they ask for their order details to speed up the exchange process. As you can see, they prioritized de-escalating the situation along with an instant resolution to protect the brand's reputation.
BarkBox is a subscription-based Ecommerce retailer for pets that sends monthly surprise boxes to its subscribers. These surprise boxes include dog treats, toys, and goodies. And, they have over 30,000 followers on Twitter. Accordingly, they have crafted a Twitter customer service strategy that instantly caters to the needs of its patrons.
In this Twitter customer service example, the customer’s order was mixed up, and she received a box with a different theme than what was promised. She took to the platform to check whether anyone else faced a similar problem. Before the tweet could explode, BarkBox reached out to her within 45 minutes of the original tweet going live. With a touch of personalization, they immediately apologized and offered her a secure chat link to help them better understand her problems.
Harry’s is an American Ecommerce company selling men’s grooming products. One of the best brands on Twitter to have leveled up the game, it not only resolves customer issues but also showcases a friendly and helpful approach to guiding customers to the right products.
In this Twitter customer service example, the customer inquires about the availability of a travel-sized shampoo bottle in the UK as he was unable to find any on their website. The Twitter customer service representative promptly replied with a link to the product. In addition, they offered guidance on how to select the right size for his travel.
One reason why Harry’s tops our list of brands that use Twitter well is that there are tons of examples where the DTC brand guides users to the right products.
Chewy is a DTC pet products brand that goes over and beyond to serve its customers and their animal best friends. Before we understand Chewy’s DTC customer service on Twitter, here is a look at all the nice things they do for its repeat customers.
Chewy sends hand-painted illustrations of the pets to the owners during their furry friend’s birthdays. And, they also reply to the appreciation posts about them with highly personalized tweets. Such DTC Twitter customer service strategies are sure to build long-term brand loyalty.
On the same note, a customer didn’t appreciate this gesture as their pet had already crossed the rainbow bridge, but they continued to receive their pet’s birthday card and paintings on their birthday. Naturally, this saddened them as it brought back sweet memories of their long-lost friend. But, Chewy was also not at fault as they had received no such update from the customer. So, when the customer put up their complaint, Chewy’s Twitter customer service term was quick to address the grievance and de-escalated the situation by tackling the situation in the private DMs.
Indeed a good lesson for brands interacting on Twitter: is to own up the mistakes and apologize.
Being an offline ice cream brand, the tweeting volume might not be as high as some of the other products on our list. Nonetheless, Enlightened has a solid Twitter customer service strategy that addresses all concerns, thanks the customers for appreciation tweets, and even recommends new ice-cream flavors to them.
In this instance, they have set up an automated system to instantly address all the tweets where a customer is facing quality issues with their product. Next, they contact this customer via DM before offering alternate solutions.
And, here, they are showing their support to their customer who is comparing their products with that of another brand.
Summing up, winning customer service on Twitter involves offering personalized and timely responses to increase brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. But, before crafting an effective strategy, you should understand your customer demographic and establish clear protocols for your customer service reps. Lastly, leveraging Twitter analytics will also help you improve the execution of your winning Twitter customer service strategy. At the end of the day, brands that use Twitter well stand out more than their competitors.