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Twitter Encourages More Businesses to Interact With Upset Customers

October 5, 2016, 4:00 PM UTC
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As many Twitter users know, there’s something therapeutic about posting an angry tweet about an airline’s absurdly delayed flight or disappointing customer service—especially if the company’s reps respond and offer help, or at least an apology.

After a study of user data proved this last year, Twitter released on Wednesday a new report on the effect of company interactions with customer tweets, this time taking a look at the quick-service restaurant and telecom industries, along with airlines.

Again, Twitter and its partner in the study, Applied Marketing Science, found that responding to customers on the service has a positive impact on their perception of companies, including a 3% to 20% increase in the amount they’re willing to spend on the same service in the future.

Moreover, the faster a company responds to a customer tweet, the more money the customer is willing to spend in the future. According to this latest study, a reply in under six minutes from an airline increased the customer’s willingness to pay almost $20 more for a ticket from that airline in the future, similar to its previous findings. In the case of the telco industry, customers are willing to pay more than $17 more per month for a phone play if they get a response within four minutes, though it drops to $3.50 more if it takes more than 20 minutes to get a reply.

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Responding to frustrated customers via tweets is also an effective way to make them happier, the study found. Of people who posted negative tweets about a company’s product or customer service, 69% said they would feel “more favorable” about the company if it responds to their concerns.

With Facebook’s aggressive efforts to turn Messenger, its mobile messaging app, into a hub for consumers to get in touch with businesses, it’s not surprise Twitter is touting its own merits when it comes to customer service. In February, Twitter added a couple of new features geared at making it easier for companies to manage customer comments on the platform. From a financial standpoint, it’s also useful for Twitter to remind companies that many of their customers spend time using the social media service, so while they’re fielding complaints and questions, they should also spend some money on advertising.