Twitter will automate brands’ customer service DMs with welcome messages, quick replies

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Welcome! Have you been paying attention to the battle between Twitter and Facebook Messenger to serve as marketers’ favorite social customer service channels? If no, click here and here. If yes, scroll down.

To make messaging businesses through social networks feel less like navigating the DMV’s website, Facebook Messenger and Twitter have turned toward automated guides. In April Facebook Messenger introduced welcome messages that brands could use to tell people why they might want to privately message a brand and how; it also debuted chat bots that, in part, are meant to do for customer service what ATMs did for banking. Now it is Twitter’s turn.

Twitter is starting to roll out its own ways for brands to automatically greet people who direct message (DM) them and handle at least part of the conversation through a series of preset messages, but only when people start those conversations in the most updated version of Twitter’s apps.

Twitter's welcome messages and quick replies aim to automate brands' direct message conversations with customers.

Twitter’s welcome messages and quick replies aim to automate brands’ direct message conversations with customers.

Twitter’s welcome messages are very similar to Facebook Messenger’s, except in one potentially significant way. Brands will be able to create multiple, custom welcome greeting specific to different contexts in which someone might start a DM thread. These customizable greetings aren’t available when someone clicks the button on the brand’s Twitter profile to start a DM thread or sends the brand a message through Twitter’s DM composer. But they can be used for the deep links that brands can create and include in a tweet, on their own sites or in their apps that open up a DM thread when clicked.

These customizable, deep-linked welcome messages mean that brands can set greetings specific to the context in which a DM conversation was initiated. For example, an airline brand can set one welcome message to greet people who initiated a direct message thread from a flight-booking page on the brand’s site and a separate welcome message for people coming from a flight-status page.

While any brand will be able to set up a single, general welcome message, brands will have to work with a participating third-party marketing developer, like Spredfast, Sprinklr and Sprout Social, to create the customizable, deep-link versions. That requirement also applies to Twitter’s new quick replies feature.

Twitter’s quick replies are very much like customer service ATMs. The idea is that brands will map out a conversation flow ahead of time and create quick replies that will prompt people for the information a brand needs to follow that flow. These quick replies can present people with a list of options they can click or instructions on what keywords a brand needs to help them out. Like an ATM quick replies are supposed to handle the customer service requests that can be automated, but like the interactive voice response systems that handle customer service calls, they’re supposed to kick things over to an actual human when the automated messages can’t accommodate the customer.


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