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Navigating Twitter’s DM Change

Khoros Staff
Khoros Staff

Gartner’s Jenny Sussin posted an article on LinkedIn last week regarding the impact of Twitter’s change in DM (direct message) character-limit policy (essentially, there is no longer a limit.) This is a huge change, and one you need to consider.



Navigating Twitter’s DM Change.jpg

Twitter as a customer care channel is well-established, though the fact is that most posts directly to brand handles still go unanswered. Combine that with added fact that almost three-quarters of consumers who post a complaint or specific request expect a reply within an hour (and about a third will only give you 30 minutes) and you see where this is heading: Twitter, hand-held, everywhere, and asynchronous is poised to take over as a primary initiation channel for customer engagement. The switch in DM policy, simply put, means that your customers can let you know they need something, and you can now use DMs to address it in one or maybe two exchanges.


There are significant process and policy considerations that grow out of this change:


  1. Provide swift and helpful customer care. Customers raising issues expect real answers from real people who can really help them. You social customer care needs to be charged with and prepared for prompt response and with solutions.
  2. Be available, 24/7. If your product can be used 24 hours per day (Hint: if Amazon can sell it, the answer to the next question is automatically “yes”) and if your product can be purchased 24 hours a day, then you need to offer social channel support to match. If not, then you are ceding two-thirds of the buying moments (the 16 hours per day your team is offline…) to your competition.
  3. Involve your entire organization. Most businesses have effectively created a thin perimeter defense around the organization vis-a-vis customer care and phones teams: customers have access to agents, and agents have access to scripts—and little else. The deeper product knowledge—the real answers—are locked away. The big exception to this is, of course, community and peer-support, but even there the community is often separated from your internal subject matter experts.


So, what should you do?


  1. Get engagement right. Build and train a social customer team that can address questions timely and then provide real information: take advantage of the fact that Twitter is asynchronous to encourage to go and get the right information—data sheets, links to accepted solutions in your peer forums, and similar—and deliver that to customers. Lithium Social Web combined with Experts capability literally connects your customers with the knowledge available in your community. Add Social Response Certification and train your entire team to create and publish Exert content, content your agents can help deliver.
  2. Operate 24x7. Most social customer care teams are small: 20, 30, 50, 100 agents. Your monthly phone center turn-over is probably higher than that! It’s therefore unrealistic to think you can staff 24x7 with that team and not experience high-value employee burn-out. You need instead to reach into your organization; connect your employees, connect your community super users, and tap your phone centers to address the simple issues that arrive on social channels while routing the rest to a scalable, skeletal off-hours team. Ask your account executive about Lithium’s “Scalable Response” product to help you do this.
  3. Provide real answers. To provide better answers, connect your agents with your internal subject matter experts. The amount of information effectively locked away in your employee’s heads is staggering: enable agents to access the full knowledge store inside your firm and to use that information to craft to superior responses. Implement our “Expert Guidance” product and set up to deliver excellent customer experiences.


Twitter’s change in DM policy is significant indeed: start now to ramp your social customer team in both effectiveness (SLA governed responses, measured productivity, etc.) and solution accuracy (getting the correct to the customer the first time.) Add Lithium Social Wed’s “Experts” tools: Scalable, Expert Guidance,” and “Social Response Certification” to your engagement platform. Not only will you accelerate your shift toward lower-cost, higher scale channels (can you spell R-O-I?) but you’ll also drive improvement in NPS/CSAT that will ensure that your social recommendations grow over time. It’s all about winning in a connected world, and Twitter and Lithium just gave you great new tools to do it.

Tags (1)
Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

Thank you @DaveEv for another great post.


What do you think @cindycapo@wittier@mjdwarner@chaebae

Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

 I believe twitter is an excellent in-road and triage tool, but depending on your product or service, it is may not be the final answer. The expectation for response via social is high and twitter is no exception; first response within one hour.  Depending on the problem, be ready to take the conversation to another channel: email, private chat, or phone call: the issue my be too difficult to solve in public.  You want other customers to see you are listening and responding to customers, but don't feel the pressure to handle the entire process in the open.

If you are not using twitter for customer service, you best be utilizing it for social listening about your brand.  What good and bad is being said about you?



Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

I concur with you @Toby. Nowadays client expectations in the different social networks are at an all time high. Disregarding its importance will only hurt your brand.

Honored Contributor Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

Sounds like Twitter DM is getting more and more like a chat capability.

Respected Contributor
Respected Contributor

Great Post @DaveEv many thanks, I definitely like the new Twitter DM inbox without character limits.


it is much easier to communicate, without confusion and misunderstanding.. 



Respected Contributor
Respected Contributor


Thank you @edaccessible I really like the new unlimited character limit DM. It makes it so much easier


to communicate..


check it out @wittier @chaebae  @mjdwarner