social media how toDo you use Twitter to stay connected with your customers?

Have you integrated Twitter into your customer service strategy?

Would you like to know which companies are doing this best?

Why Twitter Customer Service?

Gone are the days when people would call up a company and complain.

Now, people are more likely to head to their smartphones or computers to tell the world how terrible a product or service is.

That’s why customer service is becoming increasingly important on social media platforms like Twitter.

A study done by Simply Measured showed that 99% of brands are on Twitter, and 30% of them have a dedicated customer service handle. The average response time was 5.1 hours with 10% of companies answering within an hour, and 93% of companies answering within 48 hours.

Here are 4 companies with exceptional customer service on Twitter and key takeaways to help you improve how your customers perceive your company on Twitter.

#1: JetBlue Excels in Responsiveness

Airline delays are one of the most common causes of customer frustration. Not only do delays happen often, but also people are pretty vocal about their feelings when their flight is delayed.

Acknowledging this, @JetBlue ensures they’re responsive to their customers because they understand it’s important for continued customer loyalty. Not only do they engage with happy customers, but they also respond to and help frustrated customers as quickly as possible.

jetblue tweet

JetBlue assisting a frustrated customer.

Sure, a lot of airlines do this now. What makes JetBlue stand out from its competitors?

JetBlue is known to be extremely responsive to customers mentioning their brand. Whether they send a public @reply or a private DM to answer a question, they are quick to interact. As seen in the picture above, they reached out to their frustrated customer within the hour.

Key takeaway: Respond quickly.

Twitter is a channel where customers expect quick responses. As a result, you’ll likely want to respond to mentions and inquiries quickly. Many companies dedicate full-time employees to the task of responding to customers and potential customers on Twitter. Make sure you have a social media plan in place to satisfy customers.

You might also want to consider having a plan in place for crises or when the volume of inquiries on Twitter are higher than expected. For example, in JetBlue’s case, bad weather may require that others from the company step in and help with the demand.

#2: Nike’s Separate Handle

@NikeSupport is a prime example of customer service done well. They constantly respond to followers on Twitter, whether it’s about their apparel, Fuel Band or other products. Every few minutes, you can watch them respond to someone new.

What makes this remarkable? Nike is a huge company. They have many different types of sports equipment and lines of apparel that make up their brand. While Nike manages a number of Twitter handles to accommodate followers interested in specific sports or store locations, @NikeSupport is dedicated solely to responding to customers who need help.

As you can see from the images below, Nike Support has tweeted over 160K times, whereas the Nike handle has only tweeted around 11K times.

nike twitter

Nike Twitter handle.

nike support

Nike Support Twitter handle.

Key takeaway: Make it easy.

While creating your social media strategy, think about your customers and how you can make getting help easy for them. Remember, in addition to losing a customer through poor customer service, you can also lose customers when you make things too complicated.

By having a single Twitter handle dedicated to answering all customer service questions, you make the lives of your customers much easier. It’s all about customer delight!

#3: Seamless Around-the-Clock Customer Service

It is no longer a 9-5 world—especially when it comes to social media—and some companies need to be available at all hours.

Seamless is an online food ordering service that serves customers in several time zones across the United States and in London. There’s always someone ordering food and eating, right?

In addition to engaging customers through trivia questions with prizes of free food, they also provide customer service around the clock.

seamless tweet twitter customer service

Seamless responds to an issue at 10:50 AM.

seamless tweet twitter customer service

Seamless responds to an issue at 4:46 PM.

Key takeaway: Manage your presence.

Consider your business model. Are there specific times of the day or night you need to be available? Should you be available at all hours? If you set automatic tweets throughout the night, do you also need to respond to replies and questions? You want to carefully consider the hours you are present on Twitter and be there when you’re needed. Global companies need to satisfy customers who are in the same city as the headquarters, as well as customers who are halfway across the globe.

#4: Comcast’s Quality Assistance

While speed of response is important, many companies underestimate the importance of quality assistance. A quick response that isn’t helpful can be as good as no response at all. In the case of Comcast, their customers are looking for specific help to fix their problems. If their wireless Internet isn’t working, they want to know how to fix it. If their television connection is out, they want to know how to repair whatever is broken.

To provide each customer with a timely and helpful response, Comcast’s Twitter account is managed by a team of people who can quickly offer technical support and troubleshooting tactics for a variety of issues.

comcastcares twitter customer service

@ComcastCares responds to issue.

Key takeaway: Provide appropriate knowledge.

If your customers are likely to contact you with technical issues, it may make sense to staff your Twitter team with knowledgeable personnel who can answer technical questions quickly and accurately.

Give careful consideration to who is answering the questions your customers are asking on Twitter.

Integrate Customer Service Into Your Company’s Social Accounts

These examples show how to use Twitter to cultivate loyalty by providing timely and helpful responses to customers.

Adopt similar tactics to improve your customers’ experience of your company on Twitter. Consider dedicating one person, even part time, to addressing customers’ questions on Twitter. Track the outcome to see whether you should expand the program.

What do you think? Do you provide customer service on Twitter? What results have you seen? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 480,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • karyn

    Good article except for handling product order customer service. I had one person put up a url of a product she purchased, exposing it to EVERYONE. Thankfully she typo’d it so it wasn’t a good link BUT… Some customer service issues simply cannot be handled via social media.

  • Jayne

    Question – some of the big folks have a separate support account from their main account but the article suggests making the experience more convenient by creating a single Twitter account dedicated to all customer service questions – would you still also recommend a main branded twitter account in addition to a customer service account the way Nike is doing it?

  • Rachel Sprung

    I think some of the bigger companies like Nike need to have separate accounts because they have so many different products that it can get overwhelming. However, for most businesses, I would recommend keeping it all in one Twitter account.

  • Hello Rachel, this is a great article. You have provided some good
    examples of exceptional customer service. I agree that responding
    quickly and with useful advice is a very important aspect of any
    successful company nowadays, because a lot people are on Twitter, and
    they feel comfortable communicating via this social network.

  • I think using social media for customer service is smart and has to happen now days. People are going to use social media against you so we need to be on top of it and respond quickly to questions and criticism. If you don’t, then it will hurt you in the long run.

  • Nice post, Rachel. These are great examples of exactly why brands must be listening on Twitter for customer-service related issues, as well as questions or comments in general. The advice about “a quick response that isn’t helpful is just as good as no response at all,” is a case by case basis, in my opinion. I think it’s very beneficial to let a customer know you’re working on an issue/have seen their tweet rather than saying nothing. However, tenured social media management teams should have standards in place so they can get the customer the best answer initially AND quickly.

  • Abram Herman

    I couldn’t help but laugh at Comcast being used as an exampled of GOOD customer service, after being stuck with them for the last 6 years. 😛

    Maybe that tweet was the exception.

  • Marie Angell

    I concur with Abram about the poor quality of Comcast support, Twitter or otherwise. A couple of years ago, Comcast was pretty responsive on Twitter. Nowadays, nada nada. I have asked legitimate questions via Twitter–no response. I have complained bitterly and often about Comcast on Twitter–no response.

    Where I live, Comcast bought out Time-Warner (which was a huge suckfest). They immediately began improving customer service in general, although it was never wholly satisfactory. Once settled in, however, the service began to slip and now it is generally awful. Usually the employees of Comcast are trying, but the company just doesn’t provide them the wherewithal to get the job done.

    I cannot wait to be able to cut the cable. The day is soon upon us!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I haven’t had the opportunity to provide customer service on Twitter, but I welcome the opportunity.

    Some companies are good at providing customer service on Twitter, while others drop the ball. If you’re going to provide customer on Twitter, you better show up and check your account. Don’t ignore your customers and don’t wait to answer them. Saying “I don’t know,” doesn’t cut it.

  • Rachel – great examples! This is definitely an interesting topic to explore and it seems more and more companies are taking advantage of the instant support they are able to offer via platforms like Twitter. Thanks for this post!

  • Aine Bermingham

    Some great examples

    I would agree with your reply to previous comment Rachel – what is
    appropriate for a large organisation such as Nike isn’t necessarily right for a
    small business. It would be good to see an article on how social media should
    be treated differently for larger vs smaller companies – perhaps SM Examiner
    have one?

    I provide social media customer service training, and find
    that the challenge in larger organisations can be a lack of empowering the
    front line staff – guaranteed to cause delays and further customer frustration.
    Making sure you have the right people, who are knowledgeable about your product
    / service and social media literate is key in my book – and you must trust them
    to do their job!

  • igor Griffiths

    Some great examples and its certainly a more convenient way for all concerned to manage issues. Of course before you start down this road, you need to ensure that you are able to stick with it otherwise you will only create your own PR disaster

  • This is awesome, Rachel ! Thanks for the easy tips!

  • imolinp

    A couple years back I spotted TOMS shoes utlizing Twitter for customer service and thought it brilliant. Its cool that its become such common practice. Im embarking on an ecommerce project very soon and excited to adopt these strategies. Great article!

  • Awesome article Rachel and wonderful examples. Loved the post! However Twitter is an instant response medium and customers expect extremely quick responses. Dedicating a single person for Twitter may not be feasible for many companies. Just a thought!

  • Jane Douglas-Jones

    Hi Rachel, thanks for this post – I really enjoyed it! Love the potential of Twitter to go above and beyond in terms of customer service.

  • John

    This is awesome! I love when companies really focus on their customer services! I just had a good experience with samsung yesterday! It’s great when customer care really follows up with you and makes sure you are sorted! I got help at

  • Sam Page

    It is pleasing to see that we already follow the practices outlined here on behalf of our clients. We believe that our clients’ timelines should always reflect a positive messages and therefore, where companies are running single accounts and a customer does complain, (as they will because invariably broadcasting complaints via social media is seen as the quickest route to a response), we ask that customer to DM us and take the complaint out of public view. We also give a personal email address at the company for the person handling the complaint too, so that the customer feels they have personal contact with the company rather than just talking to a nameless inbox. Where you can, manage expectations on response times too. The article rightly says if you tweet all hours of the day and night be prepared to expect customers to tweet you too! A great example of how this can be managed is employed by my local water board who tweet daily to introduce who is on duty that day and what time they will be on-line answering queries until.

  • Jessica

    I run a Twitter account for a large city and it shocks me the kinds of things people will think to ask us on social media! Everything from downed trees to graffiti complaints to road construction. But I think that especially with city government, they figure they’ll get a faster answer from Twitter than from trying to call a department. And generally, they’re right!

  • Carol

    I like the specific examples and exchanges that you’ve provided. I think companies are struggling with leveraging social media as an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service. You provide a learning opportunity with your post. Thanks!

  • To be honest, never thought I’d see Comcast mentioned positively in an article. Nice to see they do something well (my experience with them hasn’t been all that positive). I too have had a great Twitter customer experience with a company…Feedly. There was an evening a few months ago where Feedly’s mobile app was down. I tweeted something about it and they responded in less than an hour and fixed the problem shortly thereafter. Made me even a bigger fan of Feedly.

    Great article. The more we all recognize companies for good customer service (via Social media or not) the more they’ll be apt to provide it.

  • Kristy C

    Another example of customer service done well via Twitter is VerzionSupport. They support its FiOS arm and have always been very responsive compared to their phone or online chat counterparts.

  • Pingback: Twitter Customer Service: Follow These Examples()

  • Carolin Geissler

    I think this is a good example of ‘knowing when to take it to DM’. I think customer support on Twitter is a good idea, but it’s also very hard to give technical support because it can be so elaborate. Or because personal info must be shared that shouldn’t be public.

  • Dana

    Great article! For a local find, I like Headquarters Beercade – they often re-tweet their fans, answer any and all questions immediately, and if you tell them you are celebrating something they will offer you a free draft!

  • ElieTouchette

    This was awesome not only for the info but as proof for non twitter believers! Thank you

  • Will Osborne

    I do apologize if we have missed you on twitter. I’d be happy to help resolve anything i can for you. Feel free to email me: or send me a tweet @comcastwill

  • Marie Angell

    I generally do not fault the employees of Comcast, although I have encountered some incompetence. The greater fault lies with Comcast itself. The website is obscurely written and often out of date and pricing is simply impossible to determine without phone calls and repeated swap-meet style negotiation. (I have found the online chat feature to be nearly 100% unreliable, btw.)

    One must take care not to single out Comcast as the only culprit, however, since all cable companies seem to have the same modus operandi. This is understandable based on cable’s economic and regulatory model, which in large part protects their markets regardless of quality. Although there is some competition, in many places, such as where I live, there is, for all practical purposes, no viable alternative but to turn to cable for internet service.

  • Nice Post Rachel, Superb article!!. A great stuff with best examples for exceptional customer service on Twitter. Many people now a days like to spend most of their time on social networking and like to communicate on social networking only and it is quite good for a business organizations to have quick response with useful advices. Thank you for the post.

  • Pingback: Social Customer Service | Tops Tips for Happy Customers()

  • Pingback: Social Media Strategy Tips: Be Attentive Louisville Innovative()

  • Pingback: Here Is How Social Media Can Improve Customer Service |

  • Pingback: Twitter’s Top 5 Uses For Businesses | Joel Harrison - Marketing Nerd()

  • Michael Bian

    Customer service handles company issues in stores..

  • Pingback: 6 Ways Your Small Business Can Improve Operational Efficiency()

  • Pingback: An Exceptional Example of Social Media Use | lindseylhommedieu()

  • Pingback: The Best And Worst Of Real-Time Marketing: 4 Lessons For Marketers « Building Social Bridges()

  • RTG

    Well pretty much you’ve either got Comcast or Time-Warner no matter where you are the company may be a sub-company of one of the 2. RARELY are you going to find a cable company in the US that’s not owned by one of them. Also Verizon you might count but that’s obviously a whole different argument since they are a cell phone company for the most part but are slowly getting into the internet providing business.

  • Pingback: The Other Half Of Social Media - Social Media Monitoring()

  • I was liking this…until you mentioned Comcast who are known everywhere for being the WORST in customer service.