How to use Twitter as Supporter Services channel

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Key Insights

  1. Set up a different account to deal with customer enquiries
  2. Use native Twitter features to make it easy for stakeholders to get the answers they are looking for
  3. Twitter offers a fantastic opportunity for your club to engage with stakeholders and ensure they always have access to the most up to date information

In a previous Hub article, we looked at British Airways and how they deal with customer issues via their Twitter channel. We looked at the way they de-escalate, how they move conversations that need more work to resolve away from public threads, and also how they use other social channels to signpost to Twitter, as well as other customer service channels such as specific call handlers.

This article, produced in association with social media marketing and communications experts in football The Online Rule, looks in more detail at how a club might introduce such a channel and some ideas on how it might operate.

The first thing worth pointing out is that having a channel that doesn’t deal with Marcomms – ticketing, sales, information (essentially, broadcasting rather than dialogue) should be standard for most clubs. Yet very few clubs  operate such a club specific channel, or run a similar one via their Supporter Liaison Officer. According to the Index, only Aston Villa, Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Reading and West Ham United had Help channels (Hull City and Wolverhampton Wanderers had non-functioning ones at the time, though Wolves now use theirs), whilst 18 clubs had similar SLO channels (though only 13 actually used them for dialogue/queries, not listening/dialogue).  Clubs not using these are a missed opportunity, and provides a point for the fielding of various issues that fans might have, meaning that the main club channel can remain focused on critical Marcomms output.

As a more general supporter services/fan experience tool, a Help channel on Twitter offers a fantastic opportunity for your club to engage with fans and ensure they always have access to the most up to date information.

This might even extend to fans of visiting teams, as some will be visiting for the first time, and having a space for them to ask about the issues of visiting would enhance their experience too (we would also advise clubs travelling away to ensure that their SLO and supporter-services team liaise properly with the away team to disseminate any relevant information).

An example structure of a supporter services account
Twitter offers several features that can provide structure to a profile.

First, create a bio that outlines the purpose of the account. It can be useful to set hours when fans can expect a response, so that you don’t come in for criticism for not replying at 2am.

Moments
Moments‘ (below) are ways of creating a collection of tweets. Separate Moments could be created for each upcoming match, with relevant tweets answering frequently asked questions collected in each one.

Lists
Lists are collections of accounts. People can subscribe to a list and view tweets just from the accounts that have been added. This could be useful to create a list of official club accounts that fans can follow to be kept up to date with news about fixtures or the matchday experience, so that they know they’re getting updated from an official source.

Other features
You have the option of adding a link to your profile. This doesn’t have to be a website – it could be a Moment or a List that is of interest to a lot of the people who visit your account.

Finally, you can pin a tweet to the top of an account. This can be changed and updated regularly, for example to provide a link to a Moment that contains FAQs for an upcoming game. This way, when people visit your profile they will see information about the main reason they’re likely visiting.

Some of these ideas can can help you maintain a degree of structure to your supporter services page.

Netiquette when using your supporter services account
It goes without saying that the account should be monitored regularly, and responses to questions should be timely.

It is also good practice with supporter/customer service to have a ‘holding response’ ready, so that people know their question has been seen and will be answered. If you don’t have information to hand or know it could be a day or so before you can reply properly, inform people of this to set expectations around response times.

If you need more personal information from someone before you can give an accurate answer, direct them to the direct message feature. To make this easier, you can include a link in the tweet that the recipient can click on to open a message immediately. To do this, share the following link: https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id=X Replace X with your account’s user ID (accessible via settings, your Twitter data, account). This will generate a button like the below.

An added tip for supporter services is to include the name or initials of the person responding. This shows that people are talking to a real person, and gives you a point of reference if there are any issues.

Dedicated supporter service/help channels allow you to give access to Twitter to your customer service team, so that the club’s main account doesn’t get used for these kinds of enquiries, keeps your main timeline clean, removes negative experiences it, allowing focus on the valuable Marcomms output that such a channel needs.

These feeds can help greatly enhance your practical Fan Engagement and the matchday experience for supporters, and show that your club cares about its fans.

Don’t forget to join the Fan Engagement Network. It’s easy: http://faninsights.co.uk/network/join

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