Customer support and Twitter: Avoid mixing up the two at all costs, or make every effort to develop your Twitter account as one of your customer service operation’s front lines? That will probably come down to who you are as an organisation, and how you wish to develop your brand through social media.
There are solid arguments for and against creating a separate Twitter account just for your customer support, so let’s examine the pros and cons of this strategy, starting with the pros.
Let’s face it, a large share of people will use customer service for one thing – to complain. It might not be a good idea to mix the complaints process up with your everyday account, especially if you intend to use it primarily for the circulation of engaging content and promotional campaigns. Of course, no-one needs to see the replies you make to customers in their feed, as they will be ‘direct’ tweets, but nonetheless there’s the potential for those checking out your profile to see a stream of customer conversations they really don’t need to.
If you’re a large organisation, there’s every chance that the individual who handles your day to day social media will not be the one charged with responding to customer issues. That’s why, for organisational purposes, it can help to split the two up into separate accounts. By using a separate account, Microsoft’s Xbox was able to enter the Guinness Book of Records for the Most Responsive Brand on Twitter – check out this helpful reply to a user’s query in a matter of minutes:
@Maurishimoo What happens when you try? Can you DM us your OS, gamertag & device type? Tried reinstalling it? Can you send on our site? ^CW
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) August 24, 2016
A dedicated account not only has the potential to make things easier within your company, it also makes things clearer for customers. Instead of wondering if your main account deals with enquiries, or indeed if you have a social media customer support function, they will have an account they can contact which has a clearly defined purpose for responding to their questions and feedback.
There are, however, some arguments supporting just having one account:
‘Championing’ Customer Service
There’s a big argument that companies should be shouting about their customer service successes from the rooftops, and that this is easier from a central account with more followers and prominence. According to social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk, businesses “can create a competitive advantage through giving outstanding customer care,” and Twitter is a great place to let the rest of the world know you are doing a good job, by way of retweets and opening up more possibilities for positive customer tweets to go viral. Of course, no-one need read the tweets from an unsatisfied customer, and it’s highly unlikely you would ever retweet them.
A Personal Approach
Making your main Twitter account an all rounder means that it can aim to provide fantastic customer service, as well as act as a virtual spokesperson for your brand. Giving customers and leads the opportunity to tweet your main account for info and receive direct responses straight back to them builds your reputation through positive activities via an account which is central to your brand, rather than a supplementary ‘backwater account’.
Or the third argument…
Keep Customer Support Away from Twitter
On the flip side of the coin, there’s a case for keeping customer support away from Twitter entirely, and that mixing up customer dialogue with the platform is simply asking for trouble. In industries that tend to ignite high emotions among customers – for example, utility companies that take a significant portion of our monthly salaries – it could be a good idea to focus on providing customer support through traditional means such as telephone, email and in person. More complex issues can require more than a 140 character response, and in these cases customer service representatives can do a better job away from Twitter.
As you can see, there is a split of opinion on the subject of separate customer support accounts, but when they are done well, that can act as an attribute for the right organisation.