Apple Gets Proactive About Customer Service on Twitter

Adding a social element to the traditional how-to video, Apple is revolutionizing customer service on Twitter, launching a number of videos through its Beats by Dre Twitter account to provide support for customers who have purchased the headphones—and earning praise for taking advantage of the channel's multimedia capabilities. Although brands such as Sephora, McDonald’s, and Amazon have experimented with informational how-to videos, no other brand has taken the content to Twitter.

So far, Apple has been using the videos as a Twitter-friendly version of a frequently-asked-questions page. The videos offer guidance for typical product issues and questions, such as how to pair the headphones with a device, for example. Like frequently asked questions, the videos are designed to anticipate common issues and provide solutions for them to avoid wasting customers' and support agents' time.

While social media has been a customer support channel for some time now, this is one of the first attempts to provide proactive rather than reactive support on the channel, says Paul Manwaring, a design and marketing consultant at Outsprung, a creative company that helps brands with marketing content, specializing in video.  

There are a number of reasons why social support videos are effective. Being able to physically show customers how to troubleshoot their products, for example, is critical. Sean Higgins, c-ofounder of Ilos, a company that enables brands to make screen recordings, says support videos eliminate one of the biggest challenges in customer service. "We would say, 'Click the settings button,' and our clients would ask, 'Where is that on my screen?' With a video, there are no mysteries, and you can provide a clear answer right away," he wrote in a blog post.

Higgins also pointed out another benefit—video support content is reusable. Brands can crecycle content that could be relevant for a broad group of users and share it across several social networks or other assets. Other types of support resources, such as articles, forum discussions, or chat interactions, on the other hand, are not as easily shared.  

While YouTube has dominated the social video realm up to this point, Twitter is ripe for more customer service video sharing thanks to its searchable nature. Twitter is slowly becoming a unique type of search engine, with users searching for hashtags and companies' handles to familiarize themselves with brands that interest them. Users can also choose the type of content that appears in results and determine whether they want to see tweets, photos, or videos. As native video becomes more prominent on Twitter, experts expect that consumers will increasingly rely on the resource. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will offer video-based customer service.

For companies committed to providing not only solid customer support but also an impressive overall brand experience, the Twitter video approach delivers on the latter front as well, according to Manwaring. "While proactive support will keep your customers happy [from a service perspective], social support videos can also increase your brand mentions, thereby increasing reach, as well as improve brand image by showing the world you care about your products, your customers, and [their channel preferences],"he says.

In other words, support videos could prove to be a strategic marketing tool, too. 

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