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What if… Twitter was your HR Helpdesk?

I have a confession to make – at the start of my Social HR Summer I asked you to think out of the box. Using Twitter as your HR Helpdesk is not so outlandish as it seems. I have experimented with Twitter for regular employee questions. Why? Because it is quick and easy to set up a private Twitter account, have your employees follow it and start sharing messages. This was before we had a corporate chat solution, which has now replaced Twitter.

What I learned using Twitter for Helpdesk, is that it is easy to send out general messages and announcements, where responses come in fairly quickly. You have to be short and to the point, which is not always easy, but you can include a link to a longer text. Being online means being accessible, so you will have to brace yourself to handle (some) complaints, but if you respond to these swiftly and solve issues, this only adds to the experience. Employees realize that sometimes things go wrong, and HR people make mistakes too – it’s how you deal with those that makes all the difference. Private questions can be handled through DM. And another inclusive option – you can share pictures of happenings and events, so employees in other locations are aware of what’s going on and can comment on photos.

If you doubt this could work, have a look at one of the best Twitter Helpdesk accounts: @klm – the Online Helpdesk of KLM Airlines. If you ever want to know how customer (or employee) service is done right, follow what they do online. No matter the comment, complaint, question or suggestion – they will take care of it within an hour. I’ve used it myself and I can vouch for the service¬† (even if I don’t always like the outcome). Read more about their social media strategy here.

Captureklm

Twitter offers analytics, which gives you some insights, but if you are serious about running an HR Helpdesk on Twitter, you will need other tools to manage SLAs, like the KLM example pictured above, that shows the waiting time. These add-ons usually are not free. And your users need a (private) Twitter account to interact with you – which might be a bottleneck as not everyone is on Twitter.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for a speedy HR Helpdesk solution, that lets you communicate with employees in a modern, fast and easy way, you might want to give Twitter a go! It’s especially good for small and medium businesses, who might not have access to a full HR solution. Best of all it’s free so you can easily set up some accounts to experiment with a few team members.

Dumbest idea you’ve ever read? Social HR thinking? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and get ready for the next installment of my Social HR Summer.

  3 comments for “What if… Twitter was your HR Helpdesk?

  1. Gert-Jan Koops
    June 25, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    Hi Anita,

    Actually a very nice idea. My personal experiences with companies that are using Twitter as a helpdesk are excellent.. Fast and to the point replies, much better than responses via mail (=receiving standardized texts that do not answer my questions) or phone (spending useless time listening to elevator music or whales). The only important point is that people need to decide what type of questions they ask via Tweet (=publicly visible for everyone) or via Direct Message. I think a lot of people on Twitter are not aware of what kind of personal details they are sharing with the world.

    /Gert-Jan

    • June 25, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Hi Gert-Jan – absolutely true – if you follow the @klm stream, this is where they constantly ask users to switch to DM when providing personal details. But the fact that they have to remind users signals that privacy is not top of mind for many people on social media.

  2. July 2, 2015 at 5:47 PM

    The Spanish town of Jun takes the crown as they run their complete public services on Twitter to improve civic engagement. Read all about it: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/02/twitter-jun-spain-bureaucracy-local-government

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