Twitter says tweeting customer service pays

Twitter researcher says rapid responses to customers’ questions and complaints pays off in real dollars and months of goodwill.

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It’s easy to understand that customer service in social media, as in any other channel, is conceptually a good idea. Assigning an ROI to it, however, is another story. That’s what Wayne Huang, a researcher at Twitter, decided to tackle with what began as a pet project to examine that “electrifying moment of happiness” when a brand uses Twitter to respond to a customer, something the social media site is trying to increase.

“The majority of people are not getting any responses from brands,” said Huang. The goal of his research? “Prove out that customer service has actual value.”

Huang said he succeeded. His research showed a significant increase in customers’ “willingness to pay” after a brand responded on Twitter—goodwill that persisted months later.

“You’re just not expecting someone to reach out and help you on a public medium like this,” Huang said. “There’s definitely something that registers deep inside people’s emotions, and they remember it and are willing to pay more for it.”

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