Facebook may have the numbers, and Pinterest may have the pictures. But Twitter has something neither of them can match: speed.
When people want breaking news, they go on Twitter. Whether it’s an earthquake, a hurricane, or Jennifer Lawrence tripping on her way to collect an Oscar (no harm done in the latter case – plenty, sadly, in the former), news breaks first on Twitter, and responses arrive quicker there than anywhere else.
That speed of action and reaction makes Twitter a great – but also scary – way of communicating with your customers. If things go wrong, they can let you know on Twitter within seconds: no waiting at the other end of a clogged phone line.
And you can respond fast too. You can let your customers know that you’ve seen their complaint (or their praise) and you can let them know right away once you’ve made things right.
The scary part? Unless the customer contacts you by Twitter direct message – which most people won’t or can’t – then other people, as well as you and your customer, are likely to find out there has been a problem, and they may start spreading that news.
The great part? Each such incident gives you the opportunity to respond promptly, honestly and informatively, both when a problem is brought to your attention and when it’s fixed. If you do that, and keep doing it, it’s likely that both your original customer and others who follow them will start spreading the word that your company or organisation makes effective customer service a high priority.
But – and it’s an important but – this is only going to work if you have someone monitoring your Twitter account, or at least email notifications of mentions from your Twitter account, all the time during business hours, and perhaps outside those hours as well.
The price of customer service success is eternal vigilance. Your business will need to decide if that’s a price worth paying.