If you’re curious how Twitter came up with its conclusion that brands could make more money through amazing social media customer service, here’s how it worked. Twitter got together with Applied Marketing Science and analyzed 600,000 tweets that related to customer service. All of the tweets took place between March and September 2015 and involved various airlines in the US, but only some of them got replies from the airlines.
The research team then created a simulation tool that it presented to 1,156 Twitter users, who had to consider several features of multiple airlines and decide which one they would prefer to use. This study included not just people who had used Twitter to contact airlines for customer service, but also those who got customer service in-person and over the phone, and those who never tried to get customer service.
People will pay more for great customer service. In short, Twitter found that customers who tweeted an airline and got a reply were fine with paying about $9 more than usual to use that airline over others. This shows that the cost of a product or service really isn’t everything when it comes to most customers. As long as you’re willing to offer great customer service – especially through a tool like Twitter that makes it fast and easy to reply to customers – you won’t necessarily have to reduce your prices to remain competitive.
Faster replies equate to better profits. If you want to reap all the benefits of offering good social customer service, you can’t just respond at your leisure. You have to reply quickly, just like you would if a customer were to email or call your customer service department. According to Twitter’s research, people were willing to pay nearly $20 more for an airline ticket when the airline responded less than 6 minutes after their tweet. When the airline waited 6 to 22 minutes to respond to a complaint or question, customers were willing to pay nearly $9 more than usual, and that dropped to about $2 when airlines waited more than 67 minutes to respond. So if you don’t reply within an hour, you’ll barely benefit financially from offering social customer service at all!
You reach more than current customers with great social customer service. According to Twitter, people who got amazing customer service on the social network were extremely likely to recommend the airline to friends and family. In fact, 82 percent said they shared that positive interaction with other people, while only 44 percent shared their stories when they got good customer service by email, phone, in-person, or even other social networks. Maybe that’s because many people prefer the convenience and speed of Twitter for social customer service, since it’s easier to get fast answers this way than by waiting on the phone on hold or visiting the business in-person.
Clearly, providing excellent customer service on Twitter can positively affect your bottom line. Not only can you make up to $20 extra for every person you respond to quickly, but you can also save money on your customer service costs when you use this social network. That’s because researchers have found that social customer service usually costs about $1 for every interaction, while every email costs at least $2.50 and every phone call costs $6. When you add it up, it just makes sense to use Twitter – or at least some form of social media – for customer service.
When you do use this helpful tool to respond to your customers, make sure you use it right. This means you can’t wait days or even hours to respond. About 42 percent of customers now expect a response within 60 minutes when they reach out to a company on social media, and as you can see from Twitter’s research, you stand to benefit the most when you reply in this amount of time – or less!
And when you respond, make sure you do it publicly. You might prefer to send a direct message on Twitter to keep the conversation between you and the customer, but even if you do this, make sure to publicly acknowledge the tweet so it’s obvious to others that you’re not ignoring customers. You can simply thank the person publicly for the tweet, and then either send a direct message or provide contact information so the customer can reach you easily.
Do you use Twitter for customer service when it comes to your business? And have you used it as a customer? Let us know how your experience with social media customer service has been.