- Twitter rolled out a new feature yesterday that allows businesses to request and share location information with customers in direct messages, the company announced in a blog post.
- The tool aims to improve customer service functions for businesses, but Twitter users have control over who can see their location. After a business requests location information, Twitter users can choose to ignore the request, share their precise location or even pick a place name from a list regardless of whether they are actually at that specific location.
- As an example of how the service can be leveraged, the Twitter blog post highlighted the ability for TGI Fridays to reach out to potential customers who can then quickly find a local restaurant and place an order or reservation entirely through Direct Messages.
Even as Twitter has become less attractive as a platform for advertising and other marketing efforts, it's remained the social media stalwart for customer service interactions. Consumers still turn to Twitter to lob complaints, comments and questions at brands, and Twitter is recognizing its strengths in this area by building out location sharing capabilities.
As marketers look to catch mobile customers during particular moments, location tracking and sharing is key, potentially encouraging those customers to actually make the trip to brick-and-mortar stores or restaurants nearby. These capabilities ultimately help tie together digital and physical efforts, which often proves elusive for marketers.
These improvements serve as a boon to all marketers but can benefit smaller local businesses, in particular. The ability for Twitter users to opt-in to the feature skirts the potential privacy intrusion issues that often crop-up around location-based marketing tools.
Last September, Twitter released a number of customer service capabilities, including providing businesses with a dedicated Customer Support settings page and allowing users to direct message brand accounts instead of tweeting complaints publicly. In February, the platform also rolled out Custom Profiles so consumers could tell when a brand interaction switched from an automated chatbot to an actual person.
A Twitter joint study with Applied Marketing Science from last fall found brands that leverage Twitter for customer service saw a 20% lift in customer spending.