The Mobile Marketing Watch blog published an interesting statistic about the customer use of Twitter recently. Based on more than one billion tweets – that were addressed to companies – researchers found that 76% of them were neutral, 17.6% were positive, and 5.8% were negative.
If we discount the praise and complaints here or that the companies represent a range of product and service providers, and just focus on that neutral block of tweets then what can be observed? Well, neutral doesn’t mean that the messages had no meaning, just that there was neither explicit praise or negative criticism in the tweets.
According to the research, these neutral tweets comprised customers asking about products, asking about the company, asking how to find or how to use their products. In general, we can see that three quarters of all tweets directed at a company are the customers engaging directly with a company and asking about their products.
So the real observation here is that social media platforms like Twitter are evolving rapidly into heavy-duty customer service platforms. Three quarters of tweets directed at brands are just brands engaging with customers – questions, discussion, queries – not blazing rows or online complaints.
This is interesting to observe in such a large sample size because the impression most people have of social customer service is that it is focused on just praise or complaints, certainly something I’ve used it for in the past. A customer might tweet praise to an airline and then a complaint to their mobile phone operator, but the general impression has not been that they might carry out an online service discussion using Twitter.
Clearly I stand corrected and realise this popular impression is wrong and millions of informative interactions are taking place each day. Adding to this mixed use of Twitter is the fact that customers are making recommendations (or not) about all manner of products, services, travel and even ‘poor customer service workarounds’.
Any customer experience manager planning a complete customer service strategy today needs to consider how this social interaction can be managed as a part of the overall programme of keeping customers informed. It isn’t a giant leap from a well-informed customer to a true customer advocate, a channel that accelerates that journey has got to be taken seriously.
Photo by Rosaura Ochoa licensed under Creative Commons