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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).

"Customer service on Twitter is not just another channel to add to the contact center. This is something bigger, something that could add value for the customer and save us money."
-Delfin Vassallo, Microsoft Lumia
Key Takeaways
  • Customer service on Twitter can be extended to anywhere you have customers, no matter what the country or language involved.
  • Customer service on Twitter costs less per interaction than traditional channels – even before factoring in reach.
  • Developing customer service content can help you solve questions before your customers can ask them.

Microsoft Lumia (formerly Nokia) provides customer service where it sells phones–all over the world.

Their story is an inspiring example of taking a small English-speaking Twitter team and scaling to a team of 145 working in 24 languages. All while maintaining high marks for response times and engagement across geographies.

Microsoft Lumia's journey with customer service on Twitter showcases what Twitter can do for global brands, as well as how to go from reacting to problems to anticipating needs.


In 2010, Lumia's social customer service team realized it was speaking the wrong language — literally. It provided customer service only in English, even though customers were asking questions in multiple languages. But scaling across countries and languages posed organizational challenges.

For one, at Lumia "social media" had always been the domain of marketing. "Yes, we were using the same channel, this thing called Twitter, but for fundamentally different purposes…but I thought, the customer doesn't know whether it's a community manager, a marketer, or whatever, they just want a unified experience," recalls Delfin Vassallo, the head of Microsoft Lumia's customer service.

Vassallo used data to show that his team was uniquely suited to delivering that experience. "Country by country, we went to the marketing teams and pulled up the Twitter timeline, showing them how we can resolve problems and how they wouldn't have to worry about it anymore." After getting buy-in from marketing, the team added new locations and languages, ultimately creating unique Twitter account for each language.


"The business case was the most important thing for leadership," recalls Vassallo. His team looked at cost differences for handling cases and found that, in 2012, the average case handled on Twitter cost them 50% less compared to traditional call centers.

Cost savings was only half the equation though; they also factor in the additional reach available through Twitter, thanks to its public nature. "One post can be seen by many; our answers provided help to many others beyond the person asking," says Vassallo. Nokia was also able to improve resolution, solving more than 95 percent of problems received on Twitter in channel, rarely having to ask anyone to call a 1-800 number or send an email.


The Lumia team initially found scaling issue resolution across geographies to be difficult. "In some countries maybe 1 in 10 Tweets is actionable, and in others it's much higher. It became difficult to filter out the noise," Vassallo recalls. Lumia solved the problem by adding content to address the most frequently asked questions, allowing the team to solve problems before they were asked.

The team produced product tutorial videos, blog posts and pictures to help customers. At one point, they were making nearly 100 videos per month. They quickly ramped up because the team was able to monitor the most frequent customer concerns and leverage existing content across geographies.

From 2013-14, Nokia increased the volume of customer service on Twitter by 230 percent while only increasing headcount by 15 percent. In 2015, they produce editorial calendars specifically for Twitter in 17 languages The content is not mere translations, but each piece of content is created specifically for that anguage and country's needs.

Where else can service scale like that?