After 10 years of radio silence, Apple Inc. has finally joined the hundreds of millions of users on Twitter. No, that’s not the sound of Steve Job’s rolling in his grave. It’s the sound of hundreds of helpful tweets flying out to customers in search of product support every hour. Apple’s new account is an attempt to bring tech support to the social sphere. And with over 9,000 customer replies in the first few days, it seems to be picking up steam.
Despite an otherwise limited social presence, Twitter offers a great opportunity for Apple to expand customer service using the Direct Message feature introduced last year. In fact, almost every issue that can’t be resolved in 140 characters will be moved to the DM realm for further troubleshooting.
Most experts speculate the decision came down after the undeniable success of other large brands using Twitter for customer service– think Amazon, Zappos, JetBlue and the like. Pair that with Apple’s massive market presence and limited brick and mortar Genius Bar locations and it’s a no-brainer. The move does open Apple up to the potential of bad publicity, but as most of the trail blazers have proven, when you’re offering help, the majority of your incoming tweets will be sincere.