Millions of people send Tweets to marketers due to a variety of customer service issues. But, the marketers that respond and acknowledge customer service-related Tweets from customers place themselves in line to receive a lift in brand loyalty, according to a new study released by Twitter.

“Businesses create a massive opportunity for themselves when they acknowledge customer service-related Tweets from consumers,” the study, written by Twitter Research Manager Wayne Huang, says. “When a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend 3%–20% more on an average priced item from that business in the future. If you need to discuss a private topic with a person who mentions your business in a Tweet, reply with a Direct Message deep link so you can invite customers into private, 1:1 conversations.”

Requests for customer service emerged as an early behavior on Twitter, Huang said, and Tweets have become a mainstream method for reaching out to businesses.

“To understand the impact of these customer service interactions on customer relationships, we designed a research study in partnership with Applied Marketing Science to figure out the potential revenue benefit to businesses who help their customers via Twitter,” the study says.

Late last year, Twitter focused on the U.S. airline industry, which found that customers who received replies from an airline demonstrated stronger satisfaction and recommendation ratings—and were also willing to pay a significantly higher price for a future ticket.

More recently, Twitter expanded the project to replicate this research with the U.S. quick service restaurant (QSR) and telecom industries.

“We found that, similar to the airline industry, customers who received replies were more satisfied with their experience, more willing to recommend the business, and willing to pay more money for that business’s products in the future—especially if the consumer received a response quickly,” the study notes. “Responding also increases word-of-mouth activity, likeliness to recommend, and customer satisfaction.”
In the study, Huang point to these key statistics:

Customers are 44% more likely to share their experiences—both online as well as offline—after receiving a response from a business on Twitter

What’s more, they are 30% more likely to recommend the business, and respond an entire point higher (2.66 vs 3.66) on customer satisfaction surveys

While any response is better than none, it pays to reply rapidly

When an airline responded to a customer’s Tweet in less than six minutes, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future

Similarly, in the telco industry, customers are willing to pay $17 more per month for a phone plan if they receive a reply within four minutes, but are only willing to pay only $3.52 more if they have to wait over 20 minutes

Responding to negative Tweets can create major positive impacts, the study says.

Nearly 70% of people who Tweeted negatively say they feel more favorable when a business replies to their concerns. And among telco customers, conversations that started with a negative Tweet resulted in higher brand favorability as well as 3X higher willingness to pay for their monthly wireless plan.

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