Despite Twitter's public struggle to retain monthly active users, the microblogging social network is an undeniable force in the business world.
More and more, interactions between a business and a consumer are shifting online. And more than anywhere else, they're shifting to Twitter.
By its very nature, Twitter has become a public platform for customer service. In fact, the company recently revealed that customer service interactions have nearly tripled over the last two years. But those interactions were not always smooth -- at least until now.
Twitter on Thursday introduced two new features aimed squarely at improving the customer service experience on the platform. First, Twitter is making it easier for businesses to start a private conversation with a customer via direct messages.
A business can now embed a link in their tweets that automatically displays a "send a private message" button, allowing the customer to send the business a direct message without the need to establish a following relationship first.
For businesses, this feature is obviously a way to take potentially embarrassing or awkward complaint situations out of the public eye. Twitter notes a more positive benefit, however, and says the tool will also help bolster the overall business/consumer relationship.
"These businesses generate impressive results -- not only are their customers more satisfied, but they also see a cost per resolution that is one-sixth the cost of a call center interaction. And this leads to increased brand loyalty and sales," Twitter product manager Ian Cairns wrote in a blog post.
But the feature is also useful on the customer side, as some resolution scenarios could require the sharing of personal information.
The second customer service feature is a feedback tool which allows businesses to privately survey a customer after a service interaction. To make the feedback results more quantifiable, Twitter has made the tool compatible with Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) formats.
Twitter is integrating the new features with existing customer service tools through partnerships with Conversocial, Hootsuite, Lithium, Salesforce, Spredfast, Sprinklr and Sprout Social. The direct message deep linking feature is available to all businesses today, while the customer feedback feature is set to roll out over the next few weeks.
In a separate blog post, Salesforce Service Cloud SVP Mike Milburn said the new features will be integrated with the Salesforce Customer Success Platform sometime over the next few months.
"Twitter is rapidly becoming a preferred channel for customer service," Milburn said. "With today's announcement, Twitter and Salesforce will provide powerful new tools for customers to engage directly with brands and resolve customer service issues faster and more efficiently."