According to Twitter, in the past two years the number of Tweets directed at leading brands’ customer service usernames has grown by 2.5x and that number is rising exponentially every year (50% to be exact). In the same report, Twitter found that 85% of customers who have a satisfactory social interaction are likely to recommend the brand to others. So, when a customer turns to social to contact you, it’s important to do your best to resolve issues as timely and accurately as possible. However, if your company is doing a great job responding to customers, but you’re still seeing a plethora of angry tweets directed at you, maybe the problem is how you’re handling callers. Social customer service should work in tandem with phone, chat, mobile, web etc. – you shouldn’t have to choose to be good at one thing or another.
Recently, I had a multi-channel interaction with a large makeup retailer. They kept cancelling an order I had placed without providing a reason (I still don’t know what the problem was). I’ve ordered from them dozens of times and suddenly their billing section failed me. My first method to resolve the issue was to call customer service. I waited 20 minutes on hold and my immediate reaction was to tweet them, hoping to have the issue resolved that way. I’ve had luck with other companies, so I thought, why not?
— Nicolina Savelli (@nicolinasavelli) March 19, 2016
Unfortunately, the reply they sent wasn’t as swift as I expected, so I tweeted more angrily at the 30 minute mark.
— Nicolina Savelli (@nicolinasavelli) March 19, 2016
Finally, after 45 minutes on hold, they acknowledged my tweet. At that point, my battery was dead and I didn’t receive their tweet until I recharged.
@nicolinasavelli We’re sorry for the long hold times! Please send us a DM with your order number so we can look into this further. Thanks!
— Sephora (@Sephora) March 19, 2016
I opted to call again the next day and had a 50 minute long phone call to finally get my order processed. Meanwhile, the agent had no idea what the issue was either. That’s quite a lot of effort for a customer to make just to place an order! Needless to say, I became one of those hostile tweeters I see so often. So, I decided to look into what else motivates angry tweets. I’ve pulled some complaints from OnHoldWith.com to help us determine what businesses can do to improve the experience so that angry callers don’t turn into angry tweeters.
On hold with @VZWSupport and the moment the call gets picked up I get put on hold/transferred. 7 times, now
— Colin Moore (@MooreColinArt) April 8, 2016
@British_Airways can you give me a customer service email? been on hold for 30 min on executive club line.
— Lucy Stratton (@LucyRStrat) April 8, 2016
come on @Orbitz I’ve booked 12 flights with you guys but you leave me on hold for 40 minutes to resolve a simple issue? For real?
— RyanPerez (@TheDeepTrip) April 8, 2016
Wish @paypal had KPIs at their call centres, been on hold for 50 minutes…
— Jacob Kent-Ledger (@JacobKentLedger) April 8, 2016
@SineadMDaly this is not what we like to hear. What seems to be going on? We’d like to assist you with any issue you’re having. ^DeidreB
— DIRECTV (@DIRECTV) April 11, 2016
10 Key Takeaways to Help Protect Your Brand from Angry Tweeters
1. Respond quickly: Social media is a fast paced environment and customers are looking for immediate resolutions. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to respond to a tweet; otherwise customer frustrations will only escalate.
2. Keep your IVR pristine: Ensure your IVR is thorough enough to avoid multiple call transfers.
3. Be prepared: You should know when spikes in call volume are coming – Staff up during those periods and make sure you have a back-up plan if they come on unexpectedly.
4. Offer call-backs: Call-backs are a safety net for those times when you might not have enough staff available. They also provide customers with piece of mind so that they don’t feel neglected.
5. Measure performance: Your call center should have targets and metrics in place to evaluate performance levels.
6. Don’t cut corners: Skimping on good customer service while systematically increasing costs is one surefire way of getting customers to rally against you.
7. Treat good customers great: If you’re not offering exclusive services to your loyal customers and brand ambassadors, it’s probably time to start. Being treated like a one-time customer after spending money with a brand can feel like a slap in the face.
8. Keep your promises: If you offer special services for customers who are willing to pay more, make sure those service are actually top-notch and not simply a marketing ploy.
9. Be transparent: If your phone lines are busy, use social media to inform your customers of potential delays, and offer them an alternative method to communicate with you. They’ll appreciate you not wasting their time. Plus, hearing “Your call is important to us,” starts to lose meaning after the third time.
10. The more service, the better: Angry tweets don’t just happen from 9 AM – 5 PM. Turning off your customer service is like turning away customers, and ultimately, revenue. Do your best to provide a 24/7 experience – your customers will praise you rather than rant about you.
Have more ways to protect your brand from angry tweeters? Share them in the comment section.