Twitter introduces customer service bots

Twitter launches customer service bots in direct messages.

There are many brands and accounts on Twitter that pride themselves in great customer service on the social network. This is usually because they invest time and money in staff and equipment that can enable them to provide such a service; examples of this include KLM and train networks.

Now, in theory at least, it will be easier for smaller companies to provide a similar level of service as those larger brands with Twitter’s new tool.

So, how does it work?

As a twitter user, you can set up an automated welcome message that greets the customer before they’ve even started typing. The customer can then select different categories of queries that have automated responses; or request to speak directly to an agent.



Think automated telephone systems without the painful dictation (“AGENT…” “Putting you through to…payments”) or dreadful hold music.

Sounds good, so what’s the catch?

Aha – you did ask. You need to open your DMs to everybody (not just mutual follower/followees), which means if you are a brand likely to get bombarded with irrelevant messages, tread carefully and ask the following questions:

  • Does the level of genuine queries warrant a system like this?
  • Do I get a lot of the same queries that have the same answer?
  • Would a system like this contribute to my overall customer service level?

So should my organisation sign up?

If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, then exploring this tool further is worth it. We would still recommend a third party customer service system like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, in addition to this to help you filter through the noise and answer questions as efficiently as possible.

It is also worth keeping in mind that Twitter isn’t revolutionising social customer service automation as Facebook launched a very similar tool for their Messenger app earlier this year. At least this way customers and brands that lean towards either Facebook or Twitter have a level playing field in which to implement good customer service.

Ultimately its good to see Twitter recognising this growing area and trying to do something for help, but more fundamentally there are still too many people and brands using social media without defining why they are there or thinking about how they’re going to measure success.

Don’t forget the big picture

My advice is to sit down and challenge yourself or your organisation’s presence on social and get all existentialist and ask the big questions.

  • Why am I here?
  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • How am I going to measure success?

Thanks for reading



Twitter Verification For Everyone

Twitter verification for the masses! 

The gap between the privileged few, and the majority of lowly users is fading – no more will there be an ‘us and them’ atmosphere; freedom and equality is coming to the masses!

For many, getting a verified Twitter account can make a significant validation of a brand’s reputation. Unlike Facebook verified pages (which is linked to a bit of code that you place into your website); Twitter’s verified accounts were at the discretion of Twitter themselves.

Verified accounts can be vital for companies, as it gives a piece of mind to a customer; as Twitter’s registration process is so open, it is very easy for brands and companies to be mimicked. I know of an international company that had ‘local branch’ accounts opened by unhappy employees, leading to unhappy customers when the ‘branded’ accounts posted incredibly inappropriate content.

Now, Twitter has opened up verification to all kinds of accounts it means not only public figures and big brands can benefit from the better reputation those little ticks can mean. All you have to do is fill in a fairly simple form explaining why you think you should be verified.

As someone who has suffered at the hands of Twitter’s treatment of smaller brands (trying to get a handle from an inactive account for a company that owned the copyright…), I really hope this new freedom for accounts means companies of all sizes can boost their marketing credentials.

And although it isn’t quite the laissez-faire process of verification of Facebook, the opening of Twitter’s verification process to everyone adds to the signs that Twitter is trying hard to appeal to large and small companies (other factors hinting to this include the algorithmic feeds, new analytics, and easier ad management platforms).

In addition to this, the announcement of Twitter’s Engage app – an app to help the management of accounts, including more in-depth insights – it is clear Twitter’s investment in the ‘little man’, investment in appealing to the masses (i.e. small businesses), is a demonstration of how the platform can help all businesses return on investment, big or small.

If this isn’t the start of an egalitarian Twitter, I’m pretty sure the revolution will be Twitterised…



The Facebook website and mobile apps went offline for 40 minutes on Monday afternoon, the second short outage in a week and the third in three weeks, blaming, engineers tinkering, which was the reported cause for the previous outages.

Now what is a minor annoyance or disruption for the ordinary user, or benefit if it gives you the chance to have a cuppa and catch up on work, has real-world consequences for organisations.  Starting with Facebook themselves, their share price took a 4% hit (£56 a share) or 1% for every ten minutes. Then there are the cascading consequences for other apps and websites that use Facebook as their primary login method or are built on Facebook’s structure. Tinder, the popular dating app, is the highest profile example. There are also the hundreds of thousands of Facebook advertisers whose campaigns may have been postponed or lost as a result of the unscheduled stoppage – Facebook has to take their concerns seriously and make amends in short order.

Other social networks, primarily Twitter, had a lot of fun at their expense, providing an outlet for frustration and also underlining their own robust systems but the little blue bird and others are just as susceptible to a malfunctioning algorithm or even something as minimal as a 0 retyped as an O.  Computers are unlike people in that there is no shade of grey regarding their operating parameters. A program either runs or it doesn’t – there is no nearly right here.

Such rare events also illustrate the danger of building a business model or primary presence on a platform that is ultimately out of your control – both proprietary and technically.  If you have a website, it is very unlikely that the internet will go down as there are a myriad of redundancies and work round’s to avoid it. A single site or platform is much narrower and easier to disable no matter how popular or famous.

Facebook has a lot of engineers and data scientists who can solve and fix issues and game plan for likely future offline incidents. In honour of #FacebookDown, maybe you should game plan your own social survival strategy if your main showroom simply vanishes into thin air…