As wonderful and revolutionary as twitter has been for businesses, the micro blogging site has one serious drawback- one cannot use it to get feedback from customers as easily as one could use it to make announcements to them. that being said, Twitter is one of the most widely used social media networks in the world and not using it could mean losing out on staying in touch with key demographics. Since you cannot go on and reinvent twitter to suit your own business, an easier course of action might be to think out of the box and try to be innovative to ensure that your customers don’t feel neglected by you. here are a few easy steps that can help you use Twitter to get customer feedback.
Step 1: Get a Twitter account for your business and keep it for business only
It seems like a no brainer that you would need to set up a separate Twitter account that specifically deals with your business only. But you would be surprised to know that a vast majority of business owners are still using their personal twitter accounts to stay in touch with customers. When you are the owner of a start-up, it may seem very cool and intuitive to do so. However, as a company grows, genuine customer feedback would become very hard to sift them from all the personal tweets your friends and family make.
Whether you choose to set up a separate twitter account for every brand or product you own is entirely a matter of the size of your customer base and how much time can your customer service team devote to handling multiple twitter accounts.
Many new business owners also make the mistake of encouraging friends and family to post comments of a personal nature on business-only Twitter accounts of new companies which, if left unchecked, can dilute the professionalism that such accounts require.
Step 2: Get dedicated Twitter accounts for customer service
Here is a business trick that larger businesses use to promote the aura of being big kahunas in the game- a customer service that is always available! In the modern world, retaining customers has become a big issue and having a good customer service in place earns a business major loyalty and brownie points from customers. Since a vast chunk of a business’ customers connect to them through Twitter or other social media sites, it doesn’t make any sense for businesses to ask customers to drop them an email, visit their website or even call them up on a land-line number when they need to leave feedback or ask a question.
This is where having dedicated twitter accounts for customer service can help. it will help your business keep track of complaints, questions and feedback in a streamlined way. Unlike the page layout of Facebook, keeping track of what customers are saying can be a bit difficult on Twitter.
Another key reason why having dedicated Twitter accounts for customer service is that it simplified managing customer feedback for your customer service or social media management team as they no longer need to read through the entire news feed of your business’ main page to get to feedback tweets by customers.
Having a separate customer service account is also helpful in image management for a business. this works wonders in separating the words uttered by your @CustomerServiceMyBusiness account from the ones that your business’ main page @MyBusiness would use. Hence, if a customer is being difficult or leaving rude comments and they are dealt with strictly by your @CustomerServiceMyBusiness account managers; other viewers of the conversation would get the impression that your customer service and not your business was the one that got harsh on the offender.
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Step 3: Make sure your customer service is swift in responding to tweets and queries
One of the biggest reasons why customers are reluctant to engage with businesses through their social media pages is that businesses still don’t take customer feedback on social media pages seriously. We admit that it would be near impossible for a new or small business to have a dedicated customer service team that is available 24/7. But even if your customers are assured that your customer service would be available to answer queries and respond to feedback during office hours, they would be more likely to make tweets to your business’ customer service accounts.
Step 4: Announce hashtags to streamline feedback
If you have ever spent time monitoring searches for your brands, products and company name on twitter, you would know just how maddening the process can be. Fortunately, there is a very simple way to ensure that the relevant queries and tweets are easily searchable and that is through the announcement of hashtags.
Make periodic tweets about hashtags that you would like customers to use for different types of feedback through your business’ customer service account like “use #feedbackboots to tell us what you think of our new range of boots” or “use #querybootsize to inquire about shoe sizes in stock”. In just a few weeks, you would be able to effectively monitor and respond to customer queries and you would never have to spend time doing searches on Twitter to get to customer feedback.
Step 5: Ask attention grabbing questions and do interesting polls and contests
Most businesses tend to be a little narcissistic when it comes to asking questions from customer through Twitter. However, instead of asking customers what they like about your products, you can ask them what they hate about your products. Not only will this give the chance to seriously know what your customers think of your products, it will also make customers believe that you care about what they think.
Polls, while being effective, don’t get taken too seriously by customers if the answer choices are interesting. This is where a visual poll-slash-contest could be very effective. Just tweet something like “tweet a picture of yourself using our product” and you’d get to see how many of your customers actually use your products and how emotionally connected they are to the brand.
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Step 6: Remember to thank and acknowledge your customers feedback
While it isn’t as common anymore for businesses to thank customers that leave feedback on their twitter accounts, it is still a very powerful tool that can help promote the culture of leaving feedback amongst your customer base. Instead of using staple lines, try to ensure that your customer service account manager keeps the tone as human and cordial as possible when responding to customers’ feedback. Saying things like “thanks for the feedback @customerXXX” and then remembering to acknowledge the same customer when their suggestion is implemented through a tweet or a mention like “This is what’s new in our range. Thanks @customerXXX for the tip” could also be effective at connecting to customers.
If you better understood your customers needs, how quickly would your business grow?
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