Published on June 14th, 20090
Why Twitter is much more than mindless banter
Forward-thinking companies are using social networking sites as a cheap and effective way to talk directly to users.
Businesses are increasingly turning to social networking sites such as Twitter as a legitimate way of offering service and support to customers.
Companies such as O2 and BT are using Twitter as a direct communication channel, responding to customers who are pitching questions at them. O2 showed the potential of the medium following the announcement of Apple’s latest iPhone, of which O2 has exclusive carrier rights in the UK. Twitter was awash with comments after details of the phone were released, much of it negative, regarding details of the pricing plans and upgrade path. Rather than ringing the call centre, many customers decided to air their concerns via Twitter. To its credit, O2 responded quickly and fairly to customers, despite having to tell many customers things they didn’t want to hear.
BT has taken the concept a step further and is actively searching Twitter for customers complaining about BT, and is asking these individuals if they are able to help in any way. Many customers who have experienced the service are freely talking about how impressed they are with this approach from BT. Twitter’s search capabilities, which allow registered users to search for trends, topics and keywords, means that any company can immediately see what people are saying about them and could follow BT’s lead to create a truly proactive, dynamic service.
The growing trend of offering service through Twitter is backed by a report from Datamonitor called “The Rise of Social Networking and Emerging Channels in Customer Service” which says that call centres and service desks will increasingly be at the heart of the shift to social networking. The one hurdle at the moment,identified by the report, is that the pioneers of these types of services currently rely on a small number of savvy and willing members of staff to respond. Policies will have to be established and the workloads correctly managed if the practice continues to grow.
To see for yourself the social networking service phenomena in action, take a look at www.twitter.com/o2 and www.twitter.com/btcare. You can follow us on Twitter too, at www.twitter.com/servicedesk360.