Originally designed as a platform for sharing status updates with friends, Twitter has evolved into something much more in just a few short years. Companies, for instance, have started using the social network to interact with customers and to promote their brand, and many have set up accounts solely for dealing with customer service issues. When used correctly, Twitter can be a great tool for answering customers’ questions and solving problems, and a number of businesses have found ways to use the platform successfully.

But given the time and manpower needed to maintain a Twitter presence, is it worth it? According to one survey, 86 percent of users who complain about a company on the social network would like or love to get a reply from the company, and 75 percent of those who do hear back are satisfied with the response. If a customer feels like a company is actually listening, that can help boost brand loyalty and elevate the brand’s overall image. In short, using Twitter to deliver customer service can improve your reputation, help you retain customers, and find you new ones.

Below are a few examples of companies who take advantage of Twitter’s customer service capabilities and how they do it well:

Xbox puts multiple employees to work at once in order to help more customers.

Xbox (@XboxSupport)

Over at Xbox’s customer support feed, several employees use the company’s account at once so that they can answer more customer questions in a short span of time. To avoid confusion, each employee identifies him- or herself by placing his or her initials at the end of each tweet. Since the Twitter account is staffed by multiple people, customer service reps are able to work one-on-one with customers to resolve problems over (sometimes fairly in-depth) online conversations.

Takeaway: Engage your customers. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation back and forth to solve a problem. Dedicating time to these issues demonstrates your investment in the people who use your products.

UPS answers questions through Twitter but also offers other ways to communicate, such as email.

UPS (@UPSHelp)

UPS’s customer support account handles questions of tracking numbers, delivery dates, lost packages, and all things shipping. Rather than ask customers to give out their tracking numbers or contact information on a public forum, UPS answers many questions by using the direct message (DM) feature and provides an email address just for Twitter users, twitter@ups.com.

Takeaway: Offer support beyond just a tweet. Providing a phone number, email address, or a direct message shows that you genuinely want to help however you can. It can also make finding a solution faster—which is good for both you and the customer.

Zappos sprinkles humor into its customer service.

Zappos (@Zappos_Service)

Online shoe and apparel store Zappos uses Twitter to address customers’ questions about shoe styles, online orders, and the like. But even as they answer questions, the employees behind the account also use it to further express Zappo’s fun and wacky corporate culture. The customer service reps crack jokes, offer opinions on what shoes customers should pick, and of course help when issues arise.

Takeaway: Expand your brand image into Twitter. Use the platform not just as a customer service outlet, but also as a way to show consumers the human side of your company. A positive attitude, happy demeanor, and sense of humor can all go a long way in connecting with your customers on a personal level.

About the author

Kelsey Skager

Kelsey is a master of promotional products with over five years of marketing and industry experience. She is proud to have been featured on ABC 7 Chicago News and NPR.