Twitter has unveiled features that make it easier for companies to use the social media platform for customer support services.
The new features, announced Thursday, allow business accounts to indicate that they provide support. Twitter adds that information to suggestions when people search for a business, mention a business in a tweet or search for it in direct messages. Once this option is enabled through a new customer support settings page, the words “provides support” will become visible on the company’s profile.
Opting for this feature also activates the account’s ability to receive direct messages from anyone — even those who are not following it. Moreover, even the direct message button has been enlarged to make it more prominent.
“This release builds on previously released Direct Message links and Customer Feedback cards to help businesses provide better service on Twitter. Each has shown great success,” Twitter said in a blog post Thursday. “Early use has also shown that customers who are sent a Direct Message link follow through to actually send a message roughly 30 percent more often than those who are asked to send a message via text only.”
This is not the first time Twitter has sought to shift the interaction between customers and companies to a private channel rather than a public tweet. In February, the company rolled out a feature that allowed businesses to add a deep link to their Tweets that automatically displays a “send a private message” link which allows the customer to send a direct message to companies.
“Direct Messages are a great way for customers to have a private conversation with a business. Customer service conversations often start in Tweets, but then need to transition to a private channel when personal information is required,” Twitter said in a blog post at the time. “We’re making that transition as easy as a single click.”
Another new feature unveiled Thursday allows business to choose to display the hours their support service is most active at, which would provide customers some idea of when their grievances would be addressed.
The new features may help Twitter compete with Facebook, at least insofar as online customer service for businesses is concerned. According to a 2015 report by the social media analytics company Socialbakers, U.S. companies reply to only 20 percent of questions posed to them by customers via Twitter, but they respond to at least 60 percent of queries posted via Facebook.