“Listen First” – What does that REALLY mean?

I’m a bottom-line kinda guy. I’m always thinking: What’s the point? What’s the real take away from what you are telling me? And unless you’ve lived under a rock in 2009 (or just chose to ignore it), you know that Twitter is big. In fact, it’s  changing the way people communicate with each other.

One piece of advice that social media experts always say is you need to “listen first.” But what does that really mean? Practically, how do you “listen” on Twitter, or other social media sites?

I came across this blog post today via @FishDogs by @TwtrCoach, that I thought summed it up nicely. I’d love to know your thoughts. Also, read my own personal story of how Twitter was used by @HomeDepot to provide outstanding customer service.

Can we provide good customer support on Twitter?

Many of us has read the story on how Comcast used Twitter to become a front runner of good customer support on Twitter. Frank Eliason which is the manager behind @comcastcares is probably the most recognized customer service manager here in the US. He has proved that costumer support can be done on Twitter, and done the right way you can turn a bad apple into a shining star.

We also can use Twitter to provide good customer support for our personal brand.

Strategies for Customer Support on Twitter

1. Listening

One of the most important aspect of providing good customer support, is to become a a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying.

The best ways to listen on Twitter is to use the following tools;

a) Twitter Search

Learn how to use Twitter Search find information about your brand. Do a simple search on your username. If you only put in your username, this will include your own tweets and any time your username is mentioned in anyway. Try then do a search with @username this will narrow it down to anytime someone mention your username on Twitter. There are various search operators you can use to find the exact information you are looking for.

b) tweetbeep is a great service where you can set up defined keywords to look for. These keywords can include your username, your product, your niche or just something you want to keep track off. Every time one of these keywords is mentioned on Twitter this service will send you and email to notify you.

c) Google Alerts helps you keep track off relevant Google information based on your keywords. Again you want to include your Twitter username, your product, your niche etc. This time you will get an alert when a blog or website mention your keywords.

2. Anticipate needs

This require that you get a little more creative. Here you will need a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic. Or if you prefer a online Twitter client then you can use Hootsuite. What you want to do here is to use the search option to create columns related to your customer needs.

Here are a couple of examples;

Lets say you are looking for customers that are new to twitter, then you will create a column based on the search term “New to twitter”. And the same if you are looking for customers that are new to blogging, then create a column based on the search term “New to blogging”.

This open doors for you where you can get in a dialog with these customers.

PS. This can also be done on Twitter Search. Make sure either you use a Twitter Client or Twitter Search to provide the search term in apostrophes “xxx”. This will narrow it more down to the info you are looking for.

3. Make them important

You want to treat your customers as individuals. Compliment either a tweet or article they wrote, make sure you then include their @username. This a great way to create trust. And make sure you thank them every time they mention you or your product. If you have 1000’s of followers and many of them start to mention within a short time frame this can be a little tricky. But again you can do this by being a little creative.

Twitter has one feature called Lists. You can create a new list called customer-feedback, where you add everyone that mention your username/product. And then send out a general thank you note recognizing everyone on this list.

4. Be prepared for adversities

You need to be prepared for how you handle negative critique about yourself, or your brand.

Always start out with apologize, and then ask what you can do to fix the problem. Then follow up with 2 – 3 alternatives for what you can do for them. These has to be alternatives you know you are able to provide without any extra cost for the customers.

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes.

Most adversities is caused by miscommunication or misunderstandings. Therefore also take time to make sure your customers understand your information/product.

Make sure you value your customers critique. Remember critique is a opportunity to improve.

5. Be a ‘Yes’ person

Always look for ways to help your customers. If you get a request or question from you customer that you don’t know the answer to immediate, then inform you will get back to them. Don’t make up a answer that you can’t back up. Do some research.

What if one of your friends ask you on Twitter for a good restaurant in your city. Then why not try and see if you can find out the day and time they wanted to be there; how many will be in their party. After you have acquired this you check up one of your favorite restaurants. Make a reservation according to how many is in the party with the name on their Twitter profile. Find out what the special is that day. Then send them a tweet informing you made reservation for the party at xyz restaurant with link to restaurant at x:xx pm. Recommend them to try out the special of the day..

6. Give more then expected

We all have a image in our mind of what we will get in return for the prize we are willing to pay for a information product.

If I go to the movie theater to see a movie, then I have an idea of how long it will be; who the actors are; the plot; and the prize I have to pay to see it. What if when I came to pick up my tickets the person behind the desk told me that I was customer 150 and was rewarded with two free tickets to any show of my choice. Well then I will get more then I expected for the prize I paid.

With creative info-sharing you can give your Twitter friends more then they expect. Build up tweet anticipation with 3 – 4 exciting tweets about the info. And then guide them to your blog or website where you deliver the info with additional info they did not anticipate. The reason we keep returning back to a blog or website is because we know they keep deliver more then we expect.

7. Encourage feedback

You want to encourage your customer to leave comments/feedback on your blog or website.

Most customers just want to feel they belong, and that someone wants to listen to their needs.

If your customer leave a comment get back to them as soon as possible. Be creative and send your comment as a tweet. Some commenting system has this option incorporated already.

Also if you have the opportunity check out their blog/website and leave a comment there where you thank them for the comments on your blog/website. And then tweet a link of their blog/website.

TIP: Familiarize yourself with Twitter Customer Support

Now it’s your turn;

Have you found creative ways to provide Customer Support with Twitter? Let us know what you do to make difference with your Customer Support on Twitter.

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About AdamWaid

Adam Waid is a revenue marketer. With over 10 years of industry experience Adam is a strategic thinker who has a passion for producing revenue-generating results through solutions-driven marketing. Director of Customer Success at Pardot a Salesforce Company, Adam is focused on customer adoption, building scalable processes and programs, and delivering increased customer satisfaction and retention. Adam has a passion for ensuring Salesforce customers achieve the highest revenue possible using marketing automation. Adam is extremely active in the Atlanta marketing community. He was named 2014 Atlanta Interactive Marketer of the Year by AIMA; chairs the Marketing Automation group within the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA); organizes quarterly marketing automation meet-ups, teaches Digital Marketing courses, has written over 60 marketing blogs, 5 digital marketing eBooks, and speaks regularly at industry events.

One response to ““Listen First” – What does that REALLY mean?”

  1. Kre Alkalyn Pro says :

    Cool, there is actually some great ideas on here some of my subscribers may find this relevant, I will send them a link, many thanks.

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