In April 2015, Twitter announced changes to the requirements for sending and responding to private Direct Messages (DM), in a move that could position Twitter as a more attractive option for private interactions between users - especially those between customers and brands.
Based on research derived from monitoring leading airlines, retail banks and mobile phone carriers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand, telecommunication agents were most likely to misunderstand the previous and current default “follow requirements” for a fluid DM exchange.
The end of “you’re not following me?”
From November 25 to December 31, 2014, over 1,400 tweets were sent to customer service agents at airlines, telecom and retail banks. In these cases, the customer was forced to educate the agent on how DMs work, and of the 1,400, a staggering 72% were to telecommunication brands.
@ATTCares cant DM you because you dont follow me— Cortney Langdon (@Cortney92421250) December 6, 2014
Despite the obvious benefits, the adoption of this new feature has been slow in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, whereas Social First U.S. and Canadian companies are leading the way, helping ensure a great customer experience.
Summary of Twitter’s DM changes
While Facebook is leading the way with their Private Message experience and continued rollout of Messenger for Business, Twitter’s changes to DMs effectively make interacting with brands as fluid as on Facebook, if brands choose to opt-in.
The key changes are -
- An opt-in setting allowing any Twitter user to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even if the brand isn’t following that customer already.
- Ability for brands to respond to such Direct Messages, once the setting is enabled, even if that customer isn’t following the brand’s account.
For those who have held a Twitter account since 2013, you may remember that Twitter already tried something similar, but their efforts had minimal impact as at the time they didn’t make any changes to the ability to respond to received DMs.
The time to opt-in is now
From a brand point of view, getting started is easy. Simply follow the instructions provided by Twitter to adjust the setting on your brand’s Twitter account (under "to receive Direct Messages from anyone" in their help center article).
Internally, ensure that your agents are retrained on the implication of these changes and the need to adjust their approach when asking a customer to DM them (i.e. not asking or waiting for a follow) to guarantee great customer service.
Currently, even in cases where a brand has enabled this feature agents are still requesting a follow, increasing resolution times for customers unnecessarily.
@fate_is_key Hi Susan. I can look into this for you. Please follow back and DM us your phone number. Thanks! ^ch— RogersHelps (@RogersHelps) May 20, 2015
For more information on best practices for social service agents, check out Conversocial's resources section including the recently released guide on
"How to Recruit and Train the Perfect Social Customer Service Team".
Follow me on Twitter (@Spark911uk) for further social #custserv insights.
Overview of telecom adoption (top 3 in each market)