On the day of Twitter’s big test for its future as a live video network, Twitter is also introducingchanges to improve one of the microblogging site’s oldest use cases: Customer support.
Businesses on Twitter can now access several new features to publicly reveal how they interact with customers on the site. Starting Thursday, businesses can choose to display response time and hours of availability on their profiles. The direct message button has also been enlarged.
Companies can select a “provides support” indicator that appears when Twitter users are searching for a business’s account. That distinguishes which Twitter handles companies use for their own promotions compared to the ones that are dedicated to service.
For instance, T-Mobile has @TMobile and @TMobileHelp.
These updates are the latest in a series of changes Twitter has made in the last year to prove its commitment to businesses and follow through on a public promise made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
“We’ve always seen a huge appetite for customer service, whether that be praising brands or complaining about a particular service, where a brand can actually turn around a conversation completely,” Dorsey said on an earnings call in October of last year. “We think there’s a lot of potential to make this a whole lot easier.”
Ease of use is crucial given the increasing competition from Facebook. Indeed, Facebook introduced response time and hours to Facebook Pages in June of last year.
A 2015 report from social media analysis firm Socialbakers found that Facebook has Twitter beat for response time. Four out of five of the millions of questions posed to U.S. companies on Twitter go unanswered, meaning 20 percent receive responses, while businesses on Facebook respond to at least 60 percent.
With adding chat bots and artificial intelligence to Messenger, Facebook also has worked to eliminate the day-to-day burden of a company, of any size, to manage customer service online.
Still, more than 80 percent of social customer service requests happen on Twitter, according to a report from customer engagement platform Conversocial.
“There’s been excitement around Messenger this year, but for big brands in the U.S., it’s still all about Twitter,” Joshua March, CEO of Conversocial, told Mashable.
While Twitter has struggled to significantly grow its user base, customer service interactions Twitter have grown by 2.5 times over the last two years.
Twitter has worked to shift more of those conversations from public to private messaging. The site introduced a direct messages option in tweets earlier this year.
According to Twitter, users who receive a direct message link from a business send a message back 30 percent more often than those who are asked to message via text.