Companies are rushing to Twitter to increase their brand presence, but the really savvy ones are using it for more creative reasons. One of the best ways businesses are using Twitter is for customer service. They are engaging with customers who have questions, complaints and comments, all in 140-characters or less. However, customer service on Twitter is not as simple as setting up an account, planting a rep in front of a computer and reaping the rewards of a robust social media presence. We take a look at the Bank of America customer service Twitter account for our take on the pros and cons of customer service on Twitter.
What is it?
The @BofA_Help Twitter account is a customer service account run by six Bank of America customer service reps. It is a Verified account, meaning that it is officially affiliated with Bank of America.
The customer service team responds to customers during set hours: 8-8 EST Monday to Friday and 9-1 EST on Saturdays.
The account is extremely active, with messages to specific customers being tweeted every few minutes. Each message is signed with the initials of the rep who penned it, which provides accountability and a face for the customer to interact with.
The help offered via tweets appears to be personally directed towards individual users. The most common types of messages are those which move the conversation to DM or phone.
The Bank of America customer service account illuminates a lot of the good that can come from starting your own customer service Twitter account.
First, your customers will feel taken care of in a personal way. Leaving a message for @BofA_Help and seeing a response a few minutes later is a gratifying feeling. This will lead to increased customer loyalty, as well as positive commendations through word-of-mouth and social media.
Second, having a customer service account can improve your brand’s visibility and credibility. If your customers have Twitter – in addition to email, phone and a website – through which they can reach you, your brand will benefit from the increased exposure.
Third, the Bank of America Twitter account illustrates going above-and-beyond in terms of online customer service. Not only do they respond to questions directed at the @BofA_Help account, but they also respond to general complaints and frustration not directed at the account. This shows initiative and a willingness to reach out, and likely soothes many customers who feel lost in the lurch.
While the Bank of America Twitter account does many things right, it offers up a few lessons for what not to do as well.
If you can’t manage your customer service Twitter account during set hours and answer all requests in a timely manner, customers will likely get frustrated and your account might become more of a liability than a benefit.
Twitter customer service can also have unintended consequences. Sometimes, it encourages public whining, or the “squeaky wheel” syndrome, in which those who complain loudest get the help first (or at all).
And finally, the Bank of America account does not really make any solutions or help public – they mostly direct individual customers to DM, which we can assume will eventually direct them to an answer on a website or a toll free number to call. This isn’t really useful if you’re a customer who just wants to search for answers, rather than ask a question.