Unlimited Direct Message characters should trigger a rethink for Twitter customer service

Twitter’s latest change to Direct Messages (removing the 140 character limit) may seem like a simple enhancement, but it should be triggering a number of important considerations for how brands use the platform for customer service.

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Here are 3 things worth thinking about:

1. Dealing with a customer solely on Twitter just became a whole lot more interesting

I believe an important principle of social media care is to deal with the customer, whenever feasible, on the platform they raised their query on. Taking away the character limit obviously makes it far easier to send longer responses (1/2)…

… (2/2) which previously had to be split across multiple tweets.

Operationally this should be another entry on the “PROs list” for setting up your customer service function to deal with queries Twitter, rather than pushing them away to another medium like email.

2. Time to get creative

As an extension of the point above, this announcement from Twitter should open up a whole new opportunity for customer service teams to get creative. The words “customer service” and “creative” probably aren’t used that frequently, even in a social media context. A little extra space will enable teams to include, for example, more imagery and to
Play
Around
With
The
Format of their tweets. It’s all good stuff to stand out from the crowd.

3. The temptation to write War & Peace

We all know that the less words you have to communicate something, the more thought you have to put into it – and in the world of 140-characters every word needs careful consideration.

With this limit gone, the temptation will be for customer service responses to gradually increase in length and change in tone. Sure, a 280 or even 560 character response is fine. But will we start to see longer form responses with unnecessary, jargon-heavy copy, which don’t cut to the chase. More importantly, will we see brands simply re-using their “email template” approach, losing their personable, concise tone.

The change doesn’t kick in until July, so we’ll see what happens.

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