Facebook & Twitter: When Digital Customer Service Experience Collides

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facebook-vs-twitterWhat do the airline, telecom and finance industries have in common? They’re the most social media-responsive businesses today. Stats from these industries show Twitter has long enjoyed dominance as the customer service communications channel of choice. But cracks in that picture have started to emerge as Twitter’s place is fast being usurped by Facebook.

No, Facebook is unlikely to buy Twitter as recent rumors have suggested. But as we’ll see, the most active businesses in social don’t think Facebook needs Twitter to be the customer communications channel of choice.

Shubhodeep Pal, VP for Products and Operations at Simliflying.com says that the days of Twitter’s dominance as the social customer service channel of choice may be numbered.

The secret to Twitter’s success as a service channel has long been its unique capabilities: Real-time, tracking-enabled, one-on-one customer communications. Communications are public facing but can be switched to private messaging at any time. This is what has made Twitter a mainstay of the call-center toolbox for any brand.

But perhaps Twitter has stood still for too long.

There have always been downsides to Twitter and its biggest downside is the anonymous nature of its accounts making it a magnet for trolls. Twitter’s long-time rival in social media takes the opposite approach; Facebook requires a level of transparency from its users.

But Facebook’s real advantage is sheer numbers. Twitter’s monthly active user-base is an impressive 302-million. But the Facebook has swelled to over 1.44-billion users per-month.

The Facebook Messenger mobile app, which only launched in March 2015, has already acquired over 700-million active users.

So, the message is clear; if you want to reach your audience, no matter what the demographic, Facebook is where they play — or watch cat videos.

Twitter for Service in Decline

Recent research shows that the overall willingness of brands to engage its customers over Twitter is eroding.

In Q1 2015 airlines responded to 85.5{37abcf34a54b93343e5398ae04805616021ee806af480764212b11c4286aaf7a} of its queries over Facebook while the telecom industry saw an 87.8{37abcf34a54b93343e5398ae04805616021ee806af480764212b11c4286aaf7a} response rate over Facebook. Twitter on the other hand only had a 46.5{37abcf34a54b93343e5398ae04805616021ee806af480764212b11c4286aaf7a} response rate from the telecom industry and a 45.4{37abcf34a54b93343e5398ae04805616021ee806af480764212b11c4286aaf7a} response rate from the airline industry.

Remember, these are the top-two social media service industries today and if they’re seeing a trend you can bet it’s serious.

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Even though the total number of queries via Twitter is higher than queries over Facebook, the response rates suggest that something is systemically broken with Twitter as a customer contact tool.

Hail to The Facebook, Baby!

While Facebook has been innovating and growing as a customer contact and marketing channel, Twitter has been lagging. High profile acquisitions like Instagram and WhatsApp have solidified Facebook’s position as an out-of-the-box community. But the worst for Twitter is yet to come.

Facebook is about to launch its nuclear option — Facebook Messenger for Business.

Through Messenger, businesses will soon get one-on-one communications with followers that includes contextual, rich content pulled directly from their own website.

Armed with the upcoming Messenger Payments and Messenger for Business will be a complete one-stop marketplace within Facebook.

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The writing on the wall is clear: Unless Twitter can evolve its business-case as a communications channel; the only walls with writing on them will soon be Facebook’s.

Bad Facebook puns aside… it will be interesting to see what the customer response percentages chart looks like in another six-months — if we can add a column for text messaging.

Text messaging has emerged as a powerful customer contact tool with huge upsides to call center operations and truly devastating mobile-user penetration that includes… well — all of them! Open and engagement rates for text messaging hovers at close to 100{37abcf34a54b93343e5398ae04805616021ee806af480764212b11c4286aaf7a} while response times average around 90-seconds in any market studies we’ve seen.

To be sure, Twitter has a long way to fall and it’s probably in no danger of being ignored in the customer contact industry anytime soon. But when it comes to a fickle public and its preferences online, lot can happen in six months.

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About the Author: Wayde Robson