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Twitter Direct Messages Are Suddenly Attractive To Businesses

Published by richard on November 2nd, 2016

Since its inception, Twitter’s Direct Message feature hasn’t been hugely helpful for businesses looking to offer support to customers. Although many businesses did their best to offer private message support through the platform’s chat feature, it wasn’t well suited for the task.

The problem was that, much like public tweets, any single message was limited to 140 characters.

And whilst such a low character count had become Twitter’s best-known and widely accepted norm, it didn’t do businesses any favours when dealing with customer support requests.

Businesses would either have to limit the information they were providing and consider pointing customers in the direction of an alternative support method or send multiple messages to get each point across. Both of these solutions were anything but efficient.

But there’s now lots to be positive about.

In the past year, Twitter has made a number of changes to Direct Messages which make it a much stronger tool for interacting with customers.

Character Count

This is the big one (literally). As of last year, Direct Messages can now be as big as 10,000 characters in length. That’s huge news for businesses who aim to offer the best level of support to their customers, no matter where that support request happens to occur. According to one statistic, the average character count of an email is 3,150. That means that Direct Messages can now be used on the same level as email, giving brands the opportunity to be as detailed as they like in their responses.

Direct Messages Always Open

Another recent addition to Direct Messaging is the ability for accounts to allow all users to send messages. Previously, Twitter would limit the ability for users to message privately based on whether or not they were followed by the account they’re trying to communicate with.

As well as the obvious time and effort this saves on the part of both the business and their customers, there’s also a much more important upside to this feature: unhappy customers no longer need to vent about the problems they have experienced publicly.

Historically, a user would have to publicly tweet the business with an indication that they have a problem or need assistance before the businesses would follow the user and allow for a Direct Message thread to begin. Now, everything can happen behind closed doors, improving the overall public image of businesses who decide to enable the feature.

Read Reports and Typing Indicator

It’s a feature that has been available on Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and iMessage for years, but until recently, Twitter Direct Messages didn’t have read reports or a typing indicator.

Whilst it might not be the most important feature for businesses on the platform, it’s helpful when resources are limited and a support-giver needs to know where to direct their attention. If there are three active support requests, two are unread and the third is read and shows the customer as typing, the employee’s attention can focus on that one customer and provide the best possible support.

Call To Action Tweets

Keeping customers happy is difficult when all they want to do is get their problem solved. Luckily, one of the latest additions to Twitter Direct Messages helps with just this.

Now, with the help of a single URL, businesses can invite customers to start a Direct Message conversation with them directly from a tweet. Once an account has changed its privacy settings to receive messages from all users (as discussed above), the use of the feature adds a large ‘send a private message’ button to any tweet you like.

Twitter outlines more on how to use the tool over on their Twitter for Business FAQs.

Provides Support Icon

The final new feature that helps businesses make the most of Direct Messages is the ‘provides support’ icon, that can be added to any business Twitter account.

At the click of a button, you can add to your profile an indicator that lets users know that they’re reaching out to the correct account for support.

The tool is particularly useful for brands who have several Twitter accounts, including one set up specifically to deal with customer issues, and want to make sure that those looking for support are directing their communications towards the right one.

The icon can be turned on in settings and removed at any time.

Businesses of all sizes can use Twitter DMs to connect with their customers during their time of need.

The Final Word

Twitter isn’t perfect, but it’s still used by millions of people every day. Businesses who neglect their customer-base on the platform will feel the effects. That’s why it’s important to do as much as possible to give all customers on all platforms the best possible experience, when it comes to interacting with, asking for support from and praising your business.

Whilst alternatives such as email and Facebook Messenger may feel more purpose-built for customer support interactions, there’s nothing more satisfying for a customer than having their issue resolved on the platform of their choice.

The recent improvements in Direct Messages make Twitter a better place than ever for both listening and responding to customer feedback, concerns and complaints. It’s time to take it seriously.