Mobile customer service can save Twitter

Twitter is a product (service?) people love to hate and hate to love. It was constantly failing when it first caught on because the platform couldn’t handle the uptick in usage. No doubt early users of Twitter remember the infamous “fail whale.” The company eventually resolved any capacity and scaleability issues to become a top social network, as well as a Wall Street darling when it became a publicly-traded firm.

But recently there’s a dark cloud hanging over Twitter. Shareholders and investors are anxious about its future.

Stagnant growth and a leadership vacuum are plaguing the company. Early on when Twitter was considered a novel replacement for SMS users found it quite useful. Then it became so popular that some folks just don’t want to deal with the “noise” anymore. It used to serve a simple purpose; now it’s like being at a noisy, overcrowded cocktail party, with you yelling at acquaintances while a server constantly shoves food in front of your face. It’s gotten bad enough that there’s been a few high-profile Twitter quitters. There are even Twitter apps that allow you to block tweets based on username or keyword.

Yet there are plenty of successful stories about Twitter usage too. It’s an effective platform to bring awareness to social issues. Many have used it in other parts of the world to mobilize protests, e.g. the Arab Spring movement. Sports competitions seem more exciting when we’re able to share our support of the home team.

But I think where Twitter can really shine is in its potential to be a dominant mobile customer service platform, and it knows this.

Consider these generalizations:

  • Most people have smartphones
  • Most people hate IVRs
  • Most people rather interact with a live person when technology fails

That’s why companies are monitoring tweets and staffing service reps to answer them. That’s why CRM and other enterprise software are integrated with Twitter. Customer service apps see Twitter as another interaction channel.

What if I can tweet “@BofA I have a question about my latest statement, please call me” and I’m queued to receive a callback (the bank has my Twitter handle associated with my customer info)? Or “@Comcast Please reschedule my technician visit to this Friday anytime” and the broadband provider notifies me of an updated appointment? Also, “@CityGovt I want to report a downed tree blocking Main Street” and along with the tweet’s GPS coordinates, the city is able to send a crew to address the hazard?

Feel free to let your customer service imagination run wild… Just think of the impact in the contact center when Twitter becomes much more ingrained in the customer service experience. Save the contact center with Twitter, and vice versa.



One thought on “Mobile customer service can save Twitter

  1. …and what if some of those inquiries could be automated using Natural Language Understanding technologies and human backup when needed? Customer service is already happening on Twitter, so why not embrace it fully? It can’t be the only thing happening on the channel, but it should be one (bigger) part… Agreed.


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