Twitter Rolls Out Customer Service Tools

Twitter's stock is hurting, and CEO Jack Dorsey has been making an effort to set the social network back on course with new features, including a suite of customer service tools that play to one of Twitter's greatest strengths. Earlier this week, Twitter updated its Direct Message capability with deep links, which enable users to send private messages to businesses quicker and more effectively.

And in the coming weeks, Twitter promises to roll out customer satisfaction surveys. Once the product is available, businesses will be able to send users private surveys to evaluate customer service interactions and get their opinions of the company.

Sparkcentral,providers of a customer engagement platform, is working with Twitter to develop technology solutions for advancing social customer service. This strategic alliance introduces a customer engagement platform to seamlessly transition a public Tweet to a private Direct Message and collect Net Promoter and customer satisfaction scores within Twitter.

Available today, the latest Sparkcentral Customer Engagement Platform provides full support of Twitter customer service products. These features are integrated into conversation history, tasking and workflow, and a Customer Feedback Dashboard.

Customer service agents can now  ask customers to fill out NPS surveys or customer satisfaction surveys with one click. Teams can analyze customer voice via the Customer Feedback Dashboard that shows NPS and CSAT scores along with historical trends for both. Viewable by agents, managers, and senior leadership, the report provides visibility and insights for improvements.

Direct Message with deep links allows businesses to send simple prompts to initiate  Direct Message, bypassing multiple steps and letting agents resolve issues faster.

“Twitter’s initiative to enhance social customer care aligns with Sparkcentral’s mission to create open and real-time communication between consumers and brands,” said Davy Kestens, CEO of Sparkcentral, in a statement. “We built out functionality that enables our clients to easily collect and analyze customer feedback to better understand how their customers view and value their products and services. Ultimately, we want to make it easy for our clients (who believe customer service is a competitive differentiator) to use this data to enhance interactions and deliver on their brand promise.”

"Care teams have told us they love the open-ended feedback they get from people via Tweets and Direct Messages, but they also need the ability to survey customers in a structured way to better measure and improve their service experience," Ian Carns, product manager at Twitter, wrote in a blog post. "Customer Feedback makes it easy for customers to share their feedback with a business after a customer service conversation. With this feature, businesses will be able to use two industry standard question formats: Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT)," he added.

Customer service is becoming central to Twitter’s strategy, especially as the company struggles to find its identity in an increasingly noisy social media landscape. Millions of customer service interactions happen on Twitter every month, and Twitter's advertisers receive more than 80 percent of their inbound customer service requests on Twitter. Experts have said that customer service could be a viable revenue model for Twitter, and some argue that the social network might be realizing this too late. "I tried to contact Twitter in 2008 and suggest customer service as a revenue model, and never heard back. I guess they got it eight years later," Natalie Petouhoff, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, says. "I'm not sure it will save them as a company, as they are looking for ways to monetize."

Still, analysts agree that this is a positive move for Twitter. Despite the existence of social customer service solutions from a slew of vendors, including Sprinklr, Conversocial, Spredfast, and others, a native Twitter solution was still needed. "Customers were using Twitter to get the attention of brand's poor service back in 2008 and before. Most customer service software vendors have integrated Twitter into their product by now. [But] Twitter adding NPS and brand rating into their overall customer experience architecture is nice to have," Petouhoff says.

Furthermore, companies that use Twitter as a customer service channel shouldn't view it as "just another tool" in their arsenal, says Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. Instead, they should find ways to ensure that insight from Twitter augments the insight they're receiving elsewhere.

"Twitter's use of standard ratings like NPS will allow the interactions and brand ratings taking place in Twitter to be integrated into their overall customer experience architecture," he says.

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