Is Twitter trying to be the most important customer service channel?

Twitter recently announced that the long-rumored feature of being able to send people private messages, direct messages, without them following one another is finally rolling out.

As you probably know, historically in order to send somebody a direct message in private on Twitter both parties had to follow one another. Now, however, Twitter is saying that if you set your account accordingly to be able to accept direct messages from people who you do not follow, you can get those messages.

Now this, of course, if you set your account that way, opens up a tremendous amount of potential spam.

I don’t necessarily want a lot of direct messages from people that I don’t follow, that could be quite bogus actually.

However, I believe the play here is to set Twitter up as an even more important part of the business-to-customer customer service infrastructure.

See, it’s a challenge when somebody complains to a company on Twitter and that company has to say, “Thanks very much, Mr. Customer. Please follow us, and we’ll be able to send you a direct message to get your account information, etc.,” because as you know the behavior of following somebody or something on Twitter is essentially an expression of support.

So in a customer service context, we’re like, “Look, I’m upset. I hate these guys. I don’t want to follow them and sort of vote for them.”

So this will alleviate some of that psychological barrier and allow businesses to conduct their customer service business in private as opposed to in public.

Now, of course, the parallel construct here is that Twitter, as always, is trying to mimic Facebook almost feature for feature. Facebook has had Facebook Messenger for a while, which allows businesses to interact with customers in private. Twitter is just meeting them on that playing field.

But the research for my new book, “Hug Your Hater,” shows that Twitter is an important part of the customer service infrastructure going forward.

And today I’ll tell you more about that in a little bit. Very interesting to see them potentially embracing that role as a customer service vehicle.

I want to ask you this if you’ve got a chance to comment on YouTube or Facebook or Google+ or anywhere else you see this video: How often do you use Twitter for customer service as opposed to Facebook?

Our research shows that Facebook is actually used far more than Twitter, but I think that’s not necessarily true for the digital cognoscenti or the kind of folks who are watching Jay Today.

So let me know. Leave a comment. Would you rather use Facebook to complain about a company or Twitter?

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