Twitter is a powerful support tool: it gives your customers an easy way to get product support through a platform they’re already using. Additionally, it saves your support team time too: no longer do one-line support responses require a full-fledged support ticket.

However, it’s important to remember that Twitter support is a representation of your brand. If you respond quickly with helpful information, you’ll impress new customers and keep existing customers happy. Do the opposite, and you may lose loyal customers to the competition.

The following five tips are designed to keep your brand image favorable and your customers happy when your team provides customer support over Twitter. Let's jump in.

1. Avoid Automated Responses

Rule #1 of Twitter customer service: don’t use automated responses. Depending on how they’re set up, automated responses leave much room for error and can sound impersonal. The last thing your brand wants is to turn a compliment into a support request.

2. Keep It Personal, Always

Make your Twitter support messages personable. A few ways of doing this are addressing customers by name (when applicable), ending tweets with the initials of the support specialist that assisted, and responding to compliments with a thank you note or even a quirky confirmation gif.

Doing these things reassure your customers that they’re talking to a real person and will help you build a solid customer-brand relationship.

3. Be Timely

Your brand should only offer Twitter support if it has the means to respond within the hour (during business hours). Taking any longer than this can lead your customers to feel ignored and seek other solutions—especially if their support request is urgent.

Responding quickly can your increase sales, too. In fact, a 2016 study from Twitter found that customers are willing to pay a $20 premium on airline tickets issued by airlines who've quickly responded to their twitter support requests in the past. The study also found that customers who receive a response from a brand's twitter account are much more likely to share the experience and even recommend the brand to others.

Twitter Study Results 2016

4. Know When to Take the Conversation to a DM

Keep your customer’s private information private. Ensure that all requests for order numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, and other identifying information is carried out over private direct message. The last thing your brand wants is to aid in a stolen identity.

5. Monitor Your Brand

Don’t wait for support requests to come to you. Monitor your brand and proactively respond to questions, concerns, and feedback that come up. To do this, use social media monitoring software to actively monitor @mentions, hashtags, and all other mentions of your company name. For bonus points, monitor common misspellings of your brand name too.