Twitter and Live Chat Make the Perfect Marriage

Posted by
Terra Walker Mrkulić
LivePerson Contributor
08/13/2014 - 13:25

As LivePerson’s social media manager, I do a lot of social listening on behalf of the company. What am I listening for? People talking about our brand or the industry at large; consumers sharing their experiences using live chat; innovations and thought leadership in customer engagement, just to name a few of the areas I tend to tap in to. Social listening is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of how people view your brand and what’s coming up on the horizon that could impact your business. But how can brands truly maximize their listening efforts?

Twitter tends to be a focal point in my listening activity, which is probably the case for most social listeners. Given the open nature of Twitter conversations on just about any topic under the sun, there’s a strong likelihood that your brand is the subject of more than a few conversations. Many customers are rejecting traditional brand engagement channels and heading straight to Twitter to offer feedback on their customer experience.  As a result, brands have to figure out the best way to engage these “digital-first” customers to deliver true customer service excellence.

Speed is Key

When consumers reach out to a brand on twitter, they want immediate help; often the expectation is that they should receive a response within the hour. However, most brands have been slow to catch on to this trend, with average brand response times hovering around 5 hours with only 10% of brands answering within an hour according to a report by Simply Measured. Brands have more work to do to adequately satisfy consumer expectations when it comes to social communications.

Consider this: according to consumer research on the ideal online experience, 82% of consumers report that getting an issue resolved quickly is the number one priority when it comes to a positive customer service experience. Further, 56% say that a single interaction to resolve the issue is also critical. Customers want to get access to help quickly, and be on their way. The same rules apply whether that customer is looking for help on your website, or engaging with your brand on social.

(Full infographic)

Consider this very common scenario:

10am Monday
Consumer: @Brand So mad! You didn’t meet my expectations and now I am frustrated. I tried calling your 800 number and sat on hold for an hour. Never shopping with you again. #fail

2pm Tuesday
Brand: @Consumer: Sorry you are having a hard time. Please DM us your account number and email address so we can try to help your situation.

6pm Tuesday
Consumer: @Brand I can’t DM you until you follow me.

5pm Wednesday
Brand: @Consumer Sorry about that. Now following you so you can DM us your info.

6pm Wednesday
Consumer: @Brand Forget it - I went to your competitor.

Look familiar? I see variations on this conversation every day from brands both large and small. Consumers turn twitter to connect with brands when other means of reaching are not available, not easily found or are taking too long to get a response. From the consumer’s perspective, broadcasting their negative experience on twitter gives them a chance to air their frustration in a public forum where their sentiments can do the most potential damage to the brand if not quickly addressed. As a result, it’s often the fastest road to resolution…. if a brand is listening.

Now imagine this scenario instead:

10am Monday
Consumer: @Brand So mad! You didn’t meet my expectations and now I am frustrated. I tried calling your 800 number and sat on hold for an hour. Never shopping with you again. #fail

10:30am Monday
Brand: @Consumer I am so sorry to hear you are having a hard time. Click to connect to a private, secure chat with an agent who can resolve your problem: http://chatlink

Using social listening tools to identify customers in crisis and providing those customers with quick access to an agent who can help is the best possible service a brand can offer their digital first customers. It gives the brand a chance to take the negative conversation away from the public forum while simultaneously showing the twitterverse that you care about your customers’ experience with your brand.

In my own personal experience, I had a frustrating ordeal with a major telecommunications company last year when I was trying to orchestrate a complicated move. Calling them was a nightmare (press 1 for… press 5 for… press 6 for… now hold for an hour). Who has time for that? I turned to twitter to see what would happen. Their customer service responded to my tweet almost immediately with a chat invitation to their customer service team and almost immediately my problem was solved. The brand got to keep my business and not only did I walk away happy, I tweeted my satisfaction with the brand to my followers.

It doesn’t take complicated tools and resources to offer this level of service to your customers-- and even a small business should be able to offer at least some level of assistance without depleting resources.

Three Steps for Social Success:

1) It all starts with a social strategy and twitter account. Check out my previous post highlighting best practices in social media. Getting your brand on twitter is easy, but requires some forethought. Don’t jump into the twitter pool without taking the time to understand how it all works.

2) A good listening tool -- there are many to choose from at various price points such as Hootsuite, Radian6 or LivePerson’s partner Tracx. Most listening tools work in the same way: enter the keywords you want to monitor and the tool provides a stream including all the matching social mentions. Different tools include different levels of reporting and analysis based on your monitors. Depending on your business needs, you may want to look for a tool that also reports on sentiment, influencers, and competitive analysis.

Tip: look for a tool that offers the ability to set up e-mail alerts so that you can get easy access to the most critical mentions of your brand in your inbox right as they happen.

3) A live chat solution that enables you to push links out to social channels. With LivePerson, not only can you can generate links to open a chat with the right agent, but you can create links that expire after a set period of time or certain number of clicks (preventing clicks from unintended recipients). With LivePerson you can even generate a link that can be used to reconnect a customer after a previous chat has ended.

Current LivePerson customers can log into our Customer Center to learn more about this solution, and check out our partner Tracx to take your social engagement strategy even further.

It’s a win-win for all.  Chat gives the customers exactly what they want: the fastest possible resolution. And brands get what they want too: a chance to keep the customer and build loyalty while taking the conversation out of the public spotlight. Get ahead of the competition today by delighting your digital first customers on twitter.

Questions about this blog post? Feel free to connect with me on Twitter!

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