[Interview] Xbox: What you can learn from the most responsive brand on Twitter
What’s green, white, and read all over? Xbox’s Twitter support feed of course! And you don’t even need to insert a coin for them to help you. The gaming company has a lot to teach us about customer support and community building on social media. Xbox, part of the $142 billion company Microsoft, have over 12 back-up support accounts on Twitter and post an average of about 4,000 Tweets a day (with a high-score of well over 5,000 Tweets in just one day). Xbox’s ‘Elite Tweet Fleet’ truly became the Player 1 of customer service when they received the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Responsive Brand On Twitter’.
Xbox know that without looking after their customers, the Master Chief becomes a major chump. But how exactly do they respond to 5,000 customer support Tweets in an average time of 2 minutes and 42 seconds? We’ve spoken exclusively to Microsoft to see what the record breakers value the most when it comes to customer support on social media. Press start to find out more about their strategy:
The importance of ‘next level’ support
The first customer support account was set up by Xbox in mid-2009 and has Tweeted over 1.6 million times, coming from 29 different members of their support staff. Talk about multiplayer! On a daily basis the Xbox accounts deal with thousands of customers who can be vocal both for and against the company, and who need technical help on a major purchase. It’s an intimidating challenge, but it’s also one that any growing brand may have to think about as more of their audience become social.
Multiplayer… ahem, account strategy
One Twitter account Tweeting about all things Xbox, ie. support, new releases, software updates, could get frustrating for their Twitter followers, so they’ve done the smart thing in employing a multi account strategy. They have official profiles for specific countries all over the world, as well as Xbox Live, developers’ programmes and many more. This streamlines the information for anyone wishing to know about specific aspects of their newest console, the Xbox One.
“We felt that having a designated support handle would provide the appropriate awareness and platform to help our community quickly and efficiently. Our support handles are setup and intended to provide quick answers to the community, leveraging self-help content to guide or educate our community with anything Xbox related.” - James Degnan, Support Manager for the @XboxSupport Twitter Account
Just like a fleeting group of deathmatch buddies, these accounts have to work alongside each other to get the win. Degnan continued to explain how their support profiles communicated with their main Twitter profile:
“Our friends @Xbox do a great job of informing our community with announcements and promotional initiatives. Like us, they keep a close ear to the ground. Sometimes you’ll see @Xbox referring a community member to @XboxSupport, if that person may need some personalized, 1:1 support via Twitter”
Dodging negative splash damage
Gamers are not shy on the Internet and social media is no exception to the rule. They have no qualms about boisterously voicing their opinion, good or bad. Whether it’s a grievance with the color of their character’s nails, or a loving ode to nuances within the combat targeting system, you’ll hear about it. With Xbox One customers spending hundreds of dollars on their new purchase, the volume is only going to increase. Degnan tells us how they deal with someone being negative towards them on social:
“If a community member is being negative, we’ll do everything we can to gain understanding and turn their experiences around. We’ll always try to alleviate a root cause of any concerns. We do our best to guide the conversation, and stay on Xbox related support topics.”
Recharge the energy bar during a launch
Over the last year, launching the Xbox One has been a primary focus of all Xbox Twitter teams. The support team had to be on hand to deal with a flood of people who had all invested significant funds into the purchase of Xbox products.
“It was really important for us to show our community that we’re listening, and react quickly to any scenarios or questions that feel unanswered from a public standpoint. From prediction to reaction, we helped make our community’s voices heard.”
But Xbox also picked up big PR points when they saw some Tweeters who were waiting in a queue to pick up their brand new console on the launch night. Xbox One was on course to sell over a million copies in the first 24 hours and rake in approximately half a billion dollars. What could they spend that on? Well, there’s only one option: PIZZA!
They arranged for three pizzas to be delivered to their loyal customers who had braved the cold and asked for some food on Twitter. Was it the social team co-ordinating with their fans to feed them, or is the Xbox One really smart and generous enough to order pizza for people via its voice activation controls? We’ll never know (it was the former).
Listening mode: Keep fans happy
The Xbox One faced a backlash from some fans when it was first announced due to a number of features not pleasing some of their core audience. Was it game over? Nope, they still had a life left. After reviewing what their users wanted, they changed tack and were open about it. They acknowledged that they cared about the opinion of their loyal community and would act upon their feedback to give them what they valued. You can’t ask for more than that! Their willingness to listen to their audience and act accordingly - in this case, the complete change of tactics - was an excellent example of how to turn negative feedback into positive social media.
BONUS: Reward avid fans
Xbox frequently thank those who Tweet positive messages to them, regular interactions with Tweeters form a solid base to their social strategy. But to really get the best achievements, they went above and beyond the call of duty for some. A selection of fans who Tweeted about looking forward to the Xbox One had images made specifically for them with personal replies in them. This highly personal response yet simple response shows customers they're listening and that they care, and bonus they received many retweets.
- Followers and fans expect a quick response on social media, don’t leave them hanging.
- If you’re finding you’re Tweeting a lot about one particular product or sub-brand, it may be time to set up a separate support accounts.
- When handling with complaints, get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible and don’t get drawn into arguments.
- Go out of your way to surprise devoted fans with rewards.
- Deal with backlash by being honest about mistakes and show how you’re responding.
By demonstrating a sincere devotion to their customers across multiple profiles, Xbox weathered a storm of negative publicity and came out with a passionate community who were looking forward to investing in the company for years to come. Years of being there for your customers when they need you is a cornerstone in building trust.
Want to learn more from leading industry professionals? Check out our social media interviews to hear exclusive insights from marketers at brands such as NASA, O2, FIFA, The United Nations, River Island, and more.