This is something that gets brought up again and again, usually due to the fact that 'Twitter-phob's' can't see how this is possible. Consider this, you have an online company, you are very keen in providing customer service, and your customers are online, are people going to ring you up if they have a problem or a question? Most wouldn't bother. This is mostly due to the irritating and time consuming process of automated answering machines, or the possibility that you will be passed from person to person without actually getting the response or answer you wanted. A personal example of this which I can share with you would be that of BT. I had been chasing them for over 6 months with many long, pointless and time consuming exercises of trying to claim back overcharges which I shouldn't have paid. I had to send in my bank statement 3 times, and had to write letters into the customer service (who I thought I was speaking to when I called them). I had had no resolution to the problem until one day by chance I stumbled across BT on Twitter;
I sent them a quick Tweet of 140 characters and within minutes was asked for my account number so that they could look into the problem. They came back to me quickly with the answer that they would refund the money, and to my surprise within days I received a letter to confirm that I had been credited with my money back!
This is the beauty of using Twitter for customer service, its fast, easy, and real time. The company offering the customer service doesn't have to waste valuable time reading long and detailed letters, emails, and responses from disgruntled customers, they can have a short 140 character message with some details, and can respond quickly. This ease and speed is the best way to handle customer service, it will give the company the opportunity to have more time to fix the problem at hand without trying to ether calm down the customer, or losing the will to live reading many long emails from unhappy customers.
Another company who I have come across recently who use Twitter well for their customer service is ASOS. They have many different avenues to contact the team at ASOS and being an online company they understand that having a presence on social networks and social media platforms has great opportunities to follow, understand and initiate conversations with past, present and future customers. You cannot underestimate communication with your customers, so making it easy for them to get in touch with you, or for you to read and see their conversations about you with the possibility to intercept and help can only be offered in the capacity of online communication on social networks and social media.
Any company who has an interest in online reputation management should not be ignoring the communicative power of online social networks such as Twitter. If you do you run the risk of one of your competitors jumping in there before you and earning the respect and knowledge which comes with being a part of this current and future worldwide communication opportunity.