Twitter is adding in-app customer service features for brands

As customers increasingly turn to social media to interact with companies, the new features are “another way to be where our customers are”

Twitter icon on a smartphone screen

Twitter is ramping up its customer service features for businesses with the launch of improved messaging and discovery tools.

Users of the social media service will now be able to access customer support via direct message conversations with companies without having to follow their accounts.

The direct message, or DM, button will also be featured more prominently on participating companies’ pages, allowing users to more quickly access support, Twitter says.

Launch partners include Apple, Sprint, T-Mobile, United Airlines and, in Canada, Rogers. (Rogers Communications owns Canadian Business.)

“Customer service is a primary use of Twitter for many Canadians and we’re pleased to partner with Rogers to introduce these business support features to their customers,” said Twitter Canada managing director Rory Capern in a statement.

“As a key partner of Twitter in this country, we look forward to working closely with the Rogers team as they expand and enhance their online customer service experience.”

Participating business pages will also inform users of response wait times, as well as what hours of the day customer service staff are responsive:

@RogersHelps profile screen with new Twitter customer service features

Rogers also officially launched customer support through Facebook Messenger back in December. The company is redirecting resources away from traditional support methods to accommodate the growing number of customers who are initiating contact through social media channels.

“It’s another way to be where our customers are,” said chief customer officer Deepak Khandelwal in an interview.

Customer satisfaction results have risen 65% since the Facebook launch, he added, and are contributing to declining case numbers for Rogers with the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.

One of the advantages for customers resolving issues through Facebook or Twitter, Khandelwal said, is that they can continue their conversations over a period of time. Once they’ve been initially authenticated, customers can take breaks to work or go for lunch, for example, then resume the conversation later in the day.

“When customers interact with us through the mechanism of their choice, it’s incredible how much they like it and the scores they give us on their satisfaction [reflect that],” he said.

Khandelwal also said Rogers’ support staff are trained to treat all customers equally, regardless of how many followers they may have. An “influencer” with 50,000 Twitter followers, for example, will get the same priority as one with 30, at least as far as the customer service department is concerned.

An influencer who is publicly complaining about the company’s service on Twitter is more a matter for Rogers’ public relations department, he added.

Participating companies don’t have to pay for the additional features, a Twitter spokesperson said.

“It’s more something we offer to partners we have relationships with as a more customized experience. In a sense, similar to how verified accounts have access to some different features.”