Moving the Customer Service Conversation “Off Twitter”

Twitter for Customer Service

Customers Tweeting for Service

With an increasing number of consumers and business clients posting customer service issues, asking questions and even generally venting about vendors on Twitter, there’s a greater need to move certain conversations off of Twitter.  A conversation needs to be moved off of Twitter when:

  • Private data such as an order number or a membership number needs to be relayed
  • Personal information such as health-related issues need to be communicated
  • It would be too frustrating to the customer to try to resolve the issue with a serial exchange of messages that are under 140 characters

The default approach is, to quote Phil Collins, “I will follow you will you follow me” — and then you can DM me.  Here’s a sampling of some of the ways that customer support is handled when the conversation has to be moved off Twitter:

Hi, sorry you’ve not had the collection made yet. Can you follow us+ DM your order number. I will follow it up for you.

We are sorry to hear that. Please DM us with your customer and order number so we can look over your account.

Hello Daniel, I would b more than happy 2 check ur order status. Please follow us & DM order #, dealer info or VIN. Thx. ^JA

This approach can sometimes result in an exchange such as:

you need to follow us so we can DM

you need to follow us so I can reply to your DM! ^D

Hey Chris, you’ll need to follow us in order to respond to your DM.

The conversation may simply end when, for example, the customer doesn’t follow the vendor — this can leave both the customer and the support tech or service rep frustrated.

An Innovative Approach to Handling Customer Tweets

Zendesk has come up with an alternative to this scenario, which is to move the conversation from a tweet to a ticket, or to a “twicket” as Zendesk has branded it.  While this can be an effective way of moving a conversation off Twitter, the integration of these two technologies has a few inherent challenges — partially since online support ticketing is an email-centric technology and since Twitter’s platform excludes exposure of email addresses via the UI or the API.

To make up for the inability to trigger an email thread (unless the person who submits the twicket provides their email address within Zendesk’s app), Zendesk pushes the communication thread back into the Twitter stream.  They have done a thorough job of documenting the known caveats associated with the integration.

MediaFunnel has developed a preliminary integration with Zendesk. This integration can kick off a tweet within MediaFunnel that directs a Twitter user, via a URL within an @reply, to OAuth into newly created Zendesk ticket.  To create the ticket, a MediaFunnel user can click a Zendesk icon within a mention or Brand Monitor tweet and then submit the form below, after making any changes to the fields that will be passed into the Zendesk ticket.

Create Zendesk Ticket from MediaFunnel

However, until a future release of the Zendesk API that allows for passing Twitter parameters into the Zendesk ticket, this integration will not include the automatic tweet threading, which is part of Zendesk’s native twicketing workflow.

This means that, for now, Ticket updates cannot be automatically pushed back into the Twitter stream.  So, if you try out the Zendesk integration within MediaFunnel, please keep this in mind.


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