Twitter Debuts Tools To Help Brands Speed Customer Service
Starting today, Twitter users with questions about business services could start seeing faster help arrive through two new features in Direct Messages. The new quick replies and welcome messages tools are designed to make it easier for companies to speed customer service response times through Twitter.
The new tools automate how businesses can start conversations with customers using bot-like capabilities in Twitter Direct Messages. For example, a user who clicks the Direct Message button on a company's Twitter account might instantly see a welcome message with links to several automated help options, without having to first type in a question or request.
Airbnb, Evernote, Pizza Hut, Spotify and the Weather Network are among the first companies launching the new Direct Message service capabilities this week. Twitter worked with a number of social media service companies to develop the new tools and continues to partner with other providers seeking to roll out those capabilities to their own customers.
A Way To Reduce Wait Times
The new welcome messages and quick replies are "designed to help businesses create rich, responsive, full-service experiences that directly advance the work of customer service teams and open up new possibilities for how people engage with businesses on Twitter," customer service product manager Ian Cairns said yesterday on Twitter's blog.
Companies who launch the new capabilities will be able to send instant responses to customers who click the Direct Message buttons on their accounts. Those welcome messages could offer several options for automated help, such as "What's the status of my order?" Customers who don't see relevant automated help options can also type requests for help from human service representatives.
"When quick replies and welcome messages are used together, businesses can reduce wait times and educate people on the best ways to interact with them," Cairns said. "For example, they can enable faster resolutions by helping customers more easily provide information to solve problems before an agent sees the first message, or they can simplify automated services and transactional flows that were difficult in the past."
Growing Use of Bots and Automation
Customers who contact businesses through Twitter and receive responses are willing to later spend anywhere from 3 percent to 20 percent more on products or services from those businesses, according to a study conducted earlier this year by Twitter and Applied Marketing Science. They are also more likely to share their experiences with others, recommend the companies and give the businesses higher customer service ratings, the study found.
Social media marketing firm Audiense is among the companies that have worked with Twitter to implement the new welcome messages and quick replies for customers. In a blog post yesterday on the Audiense Web site, content manager Andy Vale said that the new tools are enabling more "conversational experiences" and "genuine personalization" for clients such as The Economist, Spain's El País and Welt.
In Twitter's announcement, Baron Concors, Pizza Hut's global chief digital officer, explained how the new capabilities make it easier for customers to order online.
"We are constantly pursuing ways to simplify our ordering experience," Concors said. "This platform allows our consumers to quickly order or get information within Twitter where they are already spending a great deal of their time."
A growing number of technology companies are rolling out bots and other tools for automated customer service. Earlier this year, Facebook began offering bot-enabled customer service through its new Messenger platform, and Microsoft followed shortly afterward with a launch of bots for its Skype instant messaging service. Telegram is also running a challenge through the end of the year in which it will award grant funding to developers who develop bots for its messaging service.