That means offering customer service in person. Is in person real time today?
Along with the additional promotional opportunity opened up with social media, many are walking the walk and actually listening to customers.
If you're actually doing the work online, you will know that number of followers is not really a proper measure without considering what the company does with it, and algorithms are a poor substitute for human vetting in sentiment -- they don't get sarcasm, for example, or context.
Based on execution, not (self)promotion, I took a closer look at how many of the customer service accounts on Twitter are doing to share the top examples with you. The criteria for vetting were:
- answering customer questions in real time -- in other words, they have the support of the organization to be problem solvers, and not just to point to policies and disclaimers
- thinking about customers first -- which means, navigating the line between company rules and customer needs with skill. It will come as a shocker to many of you, putting a "customers first" tagline is a tiny step if you don't walk the talk
- orienting customers on what the account is about -- often you can tell the level of thoughtfulness from the bio alone
Top customer service accounts on Twitter
Bio: Have a question? Follow us and let us help! For official customer concerns, go to jetblue.com/speakup or call 1-800-jetblue Currently on duty: @JetBlue/team
What to expect: frank conversation about flight delays
Bio: The LUV Airline! For official concerns please use the link provided in the web section above to let us know!
What to expect: the team stays on top of stories
Bio: My name is Bill Gerth also known as @comcastbill. We are here to Make it Right for our customers. We_Can_Help@comcast.com
What to expect: issue triage instructions, and information on taking the issue offline. When Frank was on duty, we also got links to the customer service streams of others. That tops the experience to me
Bio: Here to provide the Zappos.com Customer Service Experience!
What to expect: team members on duty introduce themselves
Bio: A collective force of Best Buy technology pros offering tech advice in Tweet form. Search www.bbyfeed.com to find your own answers...
What to expect: helpful information, links, and tips, just like the bio promises
Bio: I’m Sarah on our PR team, joined by Brandi and her team from Customer Care. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What to expect: a connection with the store
Bio: The Official Twitter Stream of DIRECTV
What to expect: they do take issues offline, and respond to customers
Bio: Have a question, comment or concern about a GM vehicle? Let us know!
What to expect: what it promises in the bio
Bio: Hi, I’m Molly, and I lead the AT&T Customer Care
team focusing on Social Media. I’ve been with the company for 15 years.
My second job is wife and mom to two.
What to expect: closed on weekends -- UPDATE: closed from Saturday 4pm CT to Monday 7am
Bio: Monitored Mon-Fri 8 am - 5 pm EST by Joanne (^JA) Mary Anne (^MM) Mike (^MD) and other members of the Ford Customer Relationship team.
What to expect: information and recommendations
Bio: Official Twitter support account of Research In Motion.
What to expect: chock full of tips
Bio: Do you have a question about your Checking, Savings, or Online Banking account? Ask us! We're here to help: M–F, 8-5 PST.
What to expect: the team reaches out to customers, albeit a day later in some cases
It's quite remarkable that so many large organizations are offering customer support on Twitter. The list I pulled together may miss your team, so please let me know and I will add them. I also wonder if smaller companies handle customer issues primarily on other channels and have no need for a special Twitter account.
It's easy to be perky when all is going well. Many brands are still testing the waters on Twitter with one primary account. What customers want is a reliable and responsive contact for when things are not going so well. Combine that with the fact that many organizations are coming to the realization that a conversation is a two-way street, and you have Twitter customer service accounts.
Should all companies that have customer support issues be on Twitter? Does being on Twitter help the company understand and anticipate issues so it can support the rest of the customer base that has no Twitter accounts?