As the social media phenomenon continues to guide and enrich web engagement strategies, more and more companies are responding with holistic touch points for their customers. Twitter's rendition, called the Twitter Business Center, allows businesses to interact with their customers even if they're not following them.
Features Coming Soon...
Don't get too excited just yet--Twitter's business center is still in beta. Presently only a few chosen companies are able to enjoy the new features, which include:
Contributors Tab: The Contributors tab will streamline the tweeting process by enabling multiple users to access the account and tweet on the company's behalf.
Verified Business Accounts: Previously only available to individuals, Verified Twitter accounts aim to assist in building trust between businesses and their customers. Now consumers won't have to wonder whether the company they're interacting with on Twitter is really the company, or just someone pretending to be affiliated with them.
DM Customers You’re Not Following: This is the biggie, especially for businesses with a large audience on the micro-blogging platform. Without requiring followership in order to communicate privately, Twitter is expanding the number of opportunities for interaction. Customers will be able to build a rapport with the brands they care about, and businesses can conduct customer service without it being in the full view of the public.
The feature is optional, of course, so if for any reason you'd rather not have customers contacting you directly, you don't have to.
The Age of Engagement
Social media analyst Jeremiah Owyang recently talked about the importance of direct communication in the context of how social media is changing customer behavior. Citing an incident that involved popular blogger Heather Armstrong of dooce.com as well as the Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines debacle, Owyang explained how Twitter specifically is contributing to what looks like a power shift.
"If customers are talking to the entire market, you must have a holistic approach," he said. "Customers expect a holistic touch point, and they deserve it."
Owyang went on to point out that this isn't just about technologies or business processes anymore. "It's fundamentally how to and where to re-engage with customers in both social channels and the traditional world," he said.
Considering the amount of customer service that goes down on Twitter, it looks like the platform's business center is going to go over fairly well. You can check if you've been graced with the beta by going into your settings. If the 'Business' tab is there, then have at it. If not, hold tight. Twitter hasn't released specific details, but the company says they'll be rolling out the beta for more users in the near future.