Agents use the @AskCiti Twitter handle to send a link via Twitter direct message to the customer to start a live chat. The customer clicks that link and has to accept the application as they would with any other Twitter application, such as TweetDeck. Once that is done, they are brought to a secure chat within Citi's website and can start discussing whatever issue they have with the agent.
Because phishing attacks can be disguised and take on a copycat identity, banks need to be transparent with customers about where they are redirecting them. Eliason knew people would be hesitant about clicking on a link on Twitter that is somehow attached to their bank information. "We had to be cautious in how we implemented [LivePerson]," Eliason says. So he created a unique URL ending for Citi, Citi.us, in hopes the customer would know it was ok to proceed. Then he made it a standard to have all chats that initiate on Twitter be redirected back to the Citi site and continued only after the customer has securely logged into their Citi account.
Adoption was initially slow when it was first rolled out in December 2011 and usage reached its peak in mid-April and did well with customers after a few bug fixes. Citi says it speaks with about 160 customers each week in conversations that originated on Twitter. Eliason says that although the number of customer interactions is about the same as before the LivePerson integration, more interactions are being resolved. "The interactions were more phone tag. We're getting in touch with the customer the way they want. It's something that's easier and fits the customer's style."
Eliason says he would like to expand the service to other social media sites and is looking to find out whether implementing a survey component will be a good addition to the Twitter integration. "When it comes to customer service, [companies] measure the wrong things. The return we are looking for is really raising [customer service] scores," he says.
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