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Customer Service On Twitter

Read more about Twitter’s success stories by the Twitter for customer service team. You can also find out how your brand can best prepare for successful customer service on Twitter by downloading a free copy of the Twitter for Customer Service Playbook. It’s full of real world examples from companies like Hilton (@HiltonSuggests), Best Buy (@BestBuySupport), Comcast (@ComcastCares), Spotify (@SpotifyCares), T-Mobile (@TMobileHelp) and Microsoft (@LumiaHelp).

"Customers come to Twitter willing to have a conversation, instead of being pissed off!"
-Bill Gerth, Comcast
Key Takeaways
  • Structure your team to enable a seamless customer experience. Comcast developed an innovative 3-tier structure to handle Tweets across service lines.
  • Measurement is critical to success. Comcast is refining its metrics and incorporating its data into internal systems to create a better understanding of its customers.
  • Comcast is moving towards preemptive issue resolution, intending to introduce "wellness checks" that address customer issues before they happen.

It's no secret that Comcast receives a high volume of customer service requests, sometimes from very upset customers. What most people don't realize is that Comcast is making enormous strides in improving the customer experience through customer service. Twitter is an important part of that. On Twitter, service is more transparent, more available, more consistent and more customer-centric. Over its journey, Comcast has overcome challenges by creating a unique team structure, understanding the right metrics and innovating new ways to track resolution. And this is only the beginning. It is continuously experimenting, refining metrics and innovating ways to improve the customer experience.

TESTING THE WATERS

Comcast has always known Twitter is important; it began monitoring Tweet volumes and customer behavior more than seven years ago. It launched @ComcastCares and began responding to customer needs. The benefits were clear and compelling–Twitter created a new way to have meaningful interactions with customers and was a departure from the usual impersonal and robotic customer service.

"Our core objective is providing a consistent, solid experience. Whether you're happy or sad. One hundred thousand followers or 10. We want a consistent experience for everyone."

-Bill Gerth,
Comcast

Feeling their way along, the team quickly added value by generating insights that they distributed to relevant groups, helping make the case for expansion.

TAKING THE CUSTOMER'S POINT OF VIEW

Customers expect consistency. While a simple observation, any large organization with multiple product lines understands how difficult it is to address. The Comcast digital care team is tackling this head on, overcoming internal barriers and silos and structuring its team to deliver a better customer experience. It designed a team with three tiers of specialists, augmented with analyst support.

WHAT CUSTOMER SERVICE ON TWITTER LOOKS LIKE AT COMCAST

"If someone calls, they have a clear objective. Less so when they Tweet – they can be ranting, needing service, or grabbing a beer at the Xfinity center. Triaging has been a real challenge, but we feel like we have our arms wrapped around it now."

-Bill Gerth,
Comcast
  • Tier 1: These agents are the central Tweet intake for the entire company and are responsible for triaging, tagging and assigning Tweets to the right groups and people. Triage was previously automatic, but the team discovered that manual triage is more effective.
  • Tier 2: Aligned by expertise, these agents are responsible for particular service lines or products. For example, a specific agent would handle the "cable" tag if that's her background.
  • Tier 3: The super agents of the group handle Comcast's most difficult service challenges. They know all lines of business, understand Twitter and have at least three years' experience. They're the ones who decide if a Tweet should be escalated, making them key to Comcast's 99 percent in-channel resolution.
  • Additional support: Consists of supervisors and analysts. Their job is to measure day-to-day team metrics and goals. They also develop training materials and plan for upcoming features or trials.

The new structure has been a success. Before implementation, Comcast's escalation rate was 30 percent. Now it's down to 1 percent.

MEASURING FOR A UNIFIED CUSTOMER VIEW

Comcast is continually refining what it measures and has improved its ability to quantify the how well is service efforts are working. It is even gathering information that can be integrated with internal systems to analyze along with internal data.

Comcast has built this capacity over time. Its initial scorecard was simple: followers and responses. Since then, it has evolved considerably to include metrics like percentage of conversations taken private, perception changes and sentiment analysis. The team also measures internal operations, analyzing discussions, resolution rates, response speed, channel efficiency and productivity by agent.

Comcast also tracks issue resolution in an innovative way. The triage team (Tier 1) assigns tags to Tweets to identify line of business, issue type and sentiment. The Tweet is routed to an agent who addresses the issue with the customer. The agent self-identifies resolution (which is audited by a quality assurance team), then closes the Tweet with a specific tag and identifies the resolution type.

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

Comcast, which recently tripled the size of its Twitter customer service team, aims to further reduce response times and reach more customers. It also plans to use Twitter for "wellness checks" that will attempt to turn neutral conversations into positive interactions.

The team hopes to include full account checks for customers after the customer provides their identity. This in-the-moment check would include looking for expiring promotions, obsolete equipment and eligibility for upgrades and more, allowing them to head off future customer service interactions.

Twitter's unique attributes are enabling Comcast to provide a consistent customer service experience. Meanwhile, the company is continuing to test new ideas as it looks for ways to preemptively address future service issues and identify opportunities to improve service on other channels.