How to Stay on Top of Negative Brand Comments on Twitter

Are your customers volleying complaints about your service over Twitter? Perhaps they’ve figured out a little secret: It’s the quickest way to get your attention. Although a dedicated Twitter channel for customer service can be a great touchpoint for your company, too many Twitter complaints might be a symptom that your other service channels aren’t working.

By all means, deliver a quick response when your customers sound off over Twitter. Just make sure that they’re not flocking to Twitter and hurting your social reputation because your other service channels are failing.

Bad tweets invasion
photo credit: Pete Simon

Problems With Your Call Center

Most companies meticulously monitor their call center metrics to audit agent performance. However, your call center’s poor performance might have nothing to do with your agents if your customers complain about these problems:

  • Long and convoluted menus. It’s great to use menus to give your agents a heads-up about why the customer is calling, and it’s helpful to route some calls to specialized agents. However, a lengthy series of menus is exasperating for customers. You might save time — and prevent your agent from having to deal with an angry, frustrated customer — by letting your agents answer the phone, ask your customers why they’re calling, and then transfer the call if needed.
  • Constant redirects. When customers are bounced between more than two agents during a call, especially if they’re not told why they’re being transferred, they can feel like their time is being wasted. Keep redirects to a minimum, and construct a way to transmit basic information, like address, phone number, account number, or other data, between agents. Your customers feel annoyed when they’re asked to repeat information to multiple agents.
  • Lengthy hold times. If your call center is struggling to reduce call length, introduce a callback option for your customers. Take their number, and let them know approximately when an agent can call them back. Never force them to wait on hold.

Slow Email and Web Form Turnaround

Web forms and email messages are a great way to grab information that you can process later, but slow turnarounds and other mistakes will drive your customers to complain not only on Twitter but also to friends and family:

  • Limited access. If you only allow certain customers to fill out Web forms or email you because you don’t have enough people to deal with the volume, then you need to hire more people.
  • Canned reply. If your customer sends you a complaint and you send a canned “thanks for sharing” reply, you’ll build ill will, and you’ll make it increasingly likely that they’ll broadcast their frustrations on Twitter.
  • “Ask someone else. If you offer Web form or email for certain complaints, offer them for every complaint. Avoid taking a complaint via Web or email and then telling customers two days later that they have to use another channel instead.

Fuming business woman

Useless Chat Channels

Most customers initiate chat sessions expecting instant access to a customer service representative. When your chat service makes these blunders, your customers will head to Twitter instead:

  • Long initial wait times. Your customers shouldn’t have to wait three to five minutes from the time they initiate a chat to the time they’re contacted by a representative. If you need your agents to speed up a bit, look into chat software that offers automated responses so that your reps can answer a simple question at the touch of a button.
  • Failure to explain what’s happening. Customers can type in their requests and then see no response from the agent for several minutes. To keep them from abandoning the chat, agents should let customers know what’s going on during their wait times.
  • No options for extended waits. If customers run out of time while they’re chatting with an agent, offer a callback option, or offer to follow up over email. Avoid telling the customer to start the chat all over again later.

Positive Social Service

Make sure that your other customer service channels get the same prompt, timely responses as a complaint tweet. If you don’t, your customers will learn that complaining about you on Twitter is the best way to get your attention. And you might not like what they have to say.