Twitter is a killer business application

We’ve noted before how the rise of Twitter as a business communications platform is very significant, but it’s not clear to me how long it will take for businesses to understand the huge, free, explosive power Twitter offers to them.

It is clear that many businesses simply don’t understand how simply it can be to change a bit in order to effectively use the internet to improve efficiency and cut costs.      We still see, for example, online chat systems that almost routinely default to “please call customer service”.     A personally frustrating example of a ridiculous online system  was the email response from my health insurer – Lifewise.     I’d asked a simple question by email, and recieved a reply using a “secure” encrypted email system.   So secure in fact I could not open the mail.    The instructions did offer a fix – I could forward the mail to another address and then would get back a decrypted reply.    This failed a few times but then seemed to work, so finally I had my answer which was …. wait for it …..

Please call customer service

Although it’s possible Lifewise handles most of these issues without the call, I have my doubts as this lines up with the challenges we’ve all seen as businesses struggle to integrate legacy systems with online environments.     Call centers are the staple info resource for many large businesses, but instead of simply routing people to those legacy phone systems they should, for example, set up Twitter account for each phone operator, allowing them to communicate with literally dozens of clients in the time it takes to handle a single call.    Many questions are generic and security is not needed, but the general phone path is to ask for account information first.     If, for example, all inquiries that did not need to be secure were routed to a Twitter operator, that person could shoot out canned answers and canned links  faster than you can hit the Ctl key.

Twitter is not the *only* solution to an integrated customer service strategy, but it was the missing “hyper efficient” communications  link and I’m anxious to see more businesses start to use it that way.

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