Two years ago, an innovative customer service strategy began to emerge at Thomson Reuters that would eventually evolve into the company’s Customer Experience Operations’ use of Twitter to find and respond to customer complaints.

The project began in 2010 with the Reference Attorney Summer Associate Blog, which was targeted toward summer associates at law firms.

“The summer associate blog was a trial – our way of putting our foot in the water,” says Brad Fisher, senior director of Technical Support & Client Services. “The blog ended up in the top 10 of the ABA’s most read blogs, and after that success, we decided to expand the scope beyond summer associates.”

The blog, renamed the West Reference Attorney Blog, continues to receive high traction today. After its success, the team turned to Twitter to better handle the customer service concerns voiced via Tweets.

“Our Social Media Advisory Board found that products like WestlawNext were mentioned more often on Twitter than any other social media platform,” says Reference Attorney Mike Carlson. “After coming up with guidelines for using the platform, our team started using the handle @WestlawRefAtty to help address our customers’ concerns.”

Since then, the Customer Experience Operations team at Thomson Reuters has been responding to questions, complaints, product praises, and pleas for technology help in 140 characters or less. Often, the team responds by sharing the appropriate 1-800 number with the goal of showing that someone is listening. When a Tweet needs to be escalated, they discern the Tweeter’s identity from his or her handle and look up their Thomson Reuters account to contact them personally about the issue.

“We’ve even had instances where someone tweets about deciding between our product and a competitor’s, or an existing customer tweets about reconsidering their renewal,” says Carlson. “When this happens, we’ve been able to share the information with our sales teams so that they can follow up.”

In 2013, the team is looking to expand the presence of their blog, develop thought leadership pieces, and use Twitter to share their blog’s content. Additionally, new platforms—such as LinkedIn—are being considered for how they might be used to connect with customers.

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