If you are successful in establishing Twitter as a channel to interact with your customers... for customer support, service, general inquiries, whatever... if it really works and customers start to view Twitter as a regular channel to contact you on... how do you scale your support of Twitter?
That's one of the questions that has intrigued me ever since I started using Twitter back in late 2006 and have watched the adoption by companies and organizations. Typically Twitter usage at companies starts out with a couple of people... if it's successful, though, what do you do when those people go home at night? Have them keep checking? Wait to respond until the next day? What if they want to go on vacation?
If you are Comcast, you might hire a whole team of people (they did). This piece earlier this month talked about how Staples has grown their "Twitter reps" to 20.
If you have a large call center, odds are that there are modules now that let you connect Twitter directly into your contact center software. Ditto your CRM software... SalesForce.com has a component you can add, as do many of the other solutions out there.
Given that I work for Voxeo and we provide a platform to help companies connect their customers to information as quickly as possible, I've been interested to see how we could connect Twitter into what we call "Unified Self-Service" ... essentially the idea that you can have one application interacting with customers across multiple channels.
Back in March, we add Twitter support to our Tropo.com cloud communications service and I have been writing a series of blog posts about using Twitter and Tropo. As part of that, I am starting a series around how to use a Tropo application to help you scale your use of Twitter. Part 1 is now up:
I discuss there how you can add an automated agent to a Twitter account and set it up to be active during certain times. Next up I'm planning to write a bit about how you could write an app to augment a human responding to tweets. Stay tuned...
P.S. And naturally if you want to try this out yourself you can head on over to Tropo.com and set yourself up with a free developer account... copy/paste the code from my blog post and you're off and running...