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Apple enters the customer service Twittersphere

3rd Mar 2016
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Apple has taken the plunge into the fickle world of social customer service, by setting up a 24 hour support handle on Twitter.

@AppleSupport will provide round-the-clock assistance to its customers via the social network, offering “tips, tricks and helpful information when you need it most”.   

The announcement is a coup for Twitter given the recent pressure placed on its CEO, Jack Dorsey to position the company as more of an attractive proposition for brands. And whilst much of this pressure relates to advertising revenues and plateauing user numbers, having the world’s biggest technology company more actively engaging with customers via the platform will only be seen as a positive.

Dorsey himself openly welcomed the brand onto the network, whilst highlighting the perceived benefits of using Twitter as a customer service channel:

Despite these benefits, data from Social Bakers last year stated that brands answered fewer than 30% of seven million questions asked of them on Twitter in the second quarter of 2015. In this respect, Apple’s use of the platform for support will be intriguing, given the varied approach of other big brands and the regularity at which customer service Tweets are picked apart and amplified by Twitter users.  

So far, @AppleSupport has been inundated with queries, with most being met with a guarded approach and DM requests from the tech giant’s Genius support team:

For so long heralded as the brand leader, Apple’s approach to customer service has been called into question in some quarters, in recent times.

In last year’s Q2 StellaService report, for instance, Apple was criticised for its approach to phone, email and live chat problem resolution.

The amount of time customers had to wait to chat to an Apple rep increased from 34 seconds to 63 seconds over the course of April-June 2015; 20 seconds slower than the sector average.

With expectations higher on Twitter, any dip below industry averages is likely to be scrutinised even further.

Average response times on Twitter dropped from 8 hours 37 minutes in 2014 to 5 hours 27 minutes in 2015, but consumer expectations are for this to drop further still.

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