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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).

"Twitter enabled Hilton to fulfill its mission to fill the world with enlightened hospitality…everything we do should live and breathe hospitality."

-Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, Hilton Hotels
Key Takeaways
  • It's easy to make the case for your organization to invest in customer service on Twitter by showing what your customers are already saying about you.
  • Customers value authenticity, and you can almost always leave them satisfied by being authentic.
  • Your organizational choices depend on your strategy; Hilton has seperate reactive and proactive teams. Its reactive team is centralized, while its proactive team is decentralized to provide localized tips to travelers.

For almost 100 years, Conrad Hilton's mission to provide every customer with unrivaled hospitality has driven Hilton Hotels' focus on customer care. Now, Twitter is enabling Hilton to extend this hospitality not only to customers, but to all travelers, no matter where they've made reservations. Hilton has taken proactive service to a new level with its innovative @HiltonSuggests Twitter account. That's where the hotel chain reaches out and responds to travelers with restaurant recommendations, sightseeing options, and other travel advice in 120 cities worldwide. If those travelers don't already have a relationship with Hilton, they do once they get one of its welcoming and informative Tweets.

Twitter is critical to Hilton's ability to deliver exceptional service to its customers. Its journey–from an initial focus on responding quickly to customer issues to proactive recommendations is a lesson in how to get started, be authentic on Twitter, and go "above and beyond" by solving problems and answering questions before they arise.

"I JUST SHOWED MY DIRECTOR THE LIVE FEED, AND THERE WERE ALL THESE NEGATIVE COMMENTS, AND THAT'S HOW WE GOT STARTED"

By the time Hilton began to experiment on Twitter, its customers were already deep in conversation about the brand–and it was clear they expected Hilton to chime in. When the Director of Care saw these unaddressed Tweets, there was an immediate urge to engage with customers and solve their problems. They knew the changing landscape required a bigger presence on Twitter. As a first step, the Hilton team focused on issue resolution. They set up @HiltonHelps and responded only to negative comments. The effort required few process changes; in most cases, Hilton simply transferred its existing customer-service processes to Twitter. Getting started was easy, too. The entrepreneurship made it a fun time to be at Hilton. The best customer service agents were put on Twitter, and they quickly became 'the cool team' to be a part of.

But the team quickly realized that the opportunity to resolve customer-service requests in the hospitality industry is smaller than in other industries, like telco and airlines. Hilton took this learning, along with the realization that reaching new customers via Twitter scaled effectively and efficiently, and began to focus on proactively "surprising and delighting" travelers.

"WE HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REACH PEOPLE ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME, BUT IT HAD TO BE AUTHENTIC"

The Twitter customer service team was centralized and aligned under Care Operations, which was the most effective choice for simply resolving issues. Once Hilton began proactive outreach, however, it needed a new strategy: Hilton elected to create a separate, decentralized team, which is now distributed across 120 cities. These advocates can respond to Tweets from any visitors to their city. Their goal: to create authentic, curated experiences, no Hilton reservation required!

Proactive service turned out to have some unexpected benefits. "We knew it would be a good service to help travelers, but what we never envisioned was the engagement and motivation it would generate for each team member …that was the biggest surprise." That engagement is critical to the team's success; teammates take pride in knowing their city and being authentic in their quest to delight customers. At the same time Hilton sees them improve their performance in their core tasks, even if those are not service related.

"TO CONTINUE IMPROVING, WE HAD TO MAKE SURE OUR GOALS AND MEASUREMENT MATCHED OUR STRATEGY"

Naturally, Hilton measures the amount of time it takes its Twitter service team to respond to customers. They can respond in 20-30 minutes, whether the request is at 2pm or 2am.

Hilton also sets metrics for proactive service. 50-60 percent of their outreach elicits a response from the user. Of those conversations with random travelers, 50-60 percent respond with some sign of appreciation, usually an enthusiastic, thankful Tweet. Success is how you define it; for Hilton, creating positive experiences for travelers fits its corporate ethos.

Hilton is rapidly building a reputation as a leader in proactive customer service on Twitter.