Friday, 11 September 2009

BT using Twitter as a customer service support tool

Twitter is becoming increasingly popular amongst retailers as a customer service tool. The likes of ASOS and Debenhams have embraced this angle, the former having a dedicated ASOS account for customer enquiries. This adds another feather in the bow of the micro-blogging service when it comes down to challenging the criticism that Twitter offers no viable commercial value.

This week I was nodded in the direction of @BTCare by @GeoffreyB, Marketing Director at BT Retail Solutions and someone whom I follow on Twitter. So, I took a look round....

First impressions are good - @BTCare has a branded backround and has added some key profile info such as web address and location. The bio could do with some work though, very friendly but says nothing about who/what BTCare is and who is behind it. Nice links on the left to other BT Twitter accounts, good to see joined up thinking.

What about the level of engagement and content?

This impressed me. There are a lot of replies to individual users, with a positive and helpful tone. There seems to be a genuine desire to help, it certainly does not come across as a “me too” attempt to leverage Twitter’s popularity. The #followers is testament to this – currently at 1,978. Yes I know that BT is a huge brand with a customer database of millions but I think the follower base is a reasonable size.

Without approaching BT with a genuine customer query/complaint, it still looks like BTCare is doing a good job as a customer service channel. I love replies like “@edwardlamb I do not think we can gain the information you require, however if you DM us your account details we can have a look for you!”. The tone conveys knowledge but also offers to investigate the enquiry further. This communicates authority, reliability and genuine care. I really like this.

And what of the commercial benefit to BT?

Using Twitter as a customer service channel can help answer queries in real time. This will encourage customers to use Twitter, reducing the demand on other inbound channels such as email and the call centre. We all complain when faced with a complicated IVR: we don’t want to wait, we don’t want to press 1 then 2 then 1 etc, we want a real person immediately. If this is what we want, then we should start to embrace Twitter as a communication channel and be grateful that retailers are putting the resource into providing this service. It is not a right, it is a bonus.

There are other benefits too such as raising brand awareness and managing negative comments.

What do you think of BTCare’s uses of Twitter? Do you have examples of other retailers using Twitter as a customer service tool? Please share and leave comments.


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