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The Spectacular Twitter Experiment


The Debenhams New Season Spectacular is kicking off on Wednesday 9 September and as usual we’re expecting a lot of people in our stores hunting for offers.

In expectation of a surge in traffic flowing through our doors, we’ve been looking at new ways to continue offering top-notch customer service during this busy period. Our solution is the Twitter Assistants experiment.

A Twitter Assistant in action

A Twitter Assistant in action

This Wednesday, 9 September, for one day only, six members of Debenhams staff in the Oxford Street store will become Twitter Assistants – answering and responding to customer requests via the social network. There’ll be one Assistant on each floor of the building, answering queries from anyone using the service on their mobile whilst browsing in-store or those sitting at work itching to join the fun.

As it’s an experiment we’re not sure what questions will be asked or how people will engage with our Twitter Assistants but we’re really looking forward to finding out!

A Twitter Assistants response

A Twitter Assistant's response

To take part:

Customers simply need to send a message to @debenhamsretail, including the phrase #debenhams within the message. We’ll then do our best to make sure you receive an answer as soon as possible.

Drop us a tweet on Wednesday, we‘re looking forward to talking to you.

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  • http://www.oursocialtimes.com Luke Brynley-Jones

    Well, how did it go? Be great to hear how many Tweets you received/replied to and whether it worked for Debenhams.

  • Editor

    Thanks for the comment.

    The Twitter hashtag averaged just over 10 enquiries every hour, and the feedback from our followers and the community as a whole was really positive. Not all of the responses were serious, but we were prepared for that – it’s part of the nature of Twitter.

    Customers have asked if we can incorporate Twitter into more stores and keep it as part of the online customer experience, so people are definitely open to more Twitter related activity.

    Importantly, we also now have a benchmark and some really valuable feedback for planning our next phase. Watch this space…

  • http://ian.mayman.me/ Ian Mayman

    I just heard about this experiment via a blog post linked from Twitter. I wonder if Luke got your reply as there appears to not be an option of being notified of follow-up comments.

    I think it is fantastic, although I am surprised to find these assistant were on the shop floor. We don’t need to see them in person to send or receive replies, but if it raises the profile of the service then it’s a good idea.

    Of course eye contact is important, and not easily done if an assistant is on their phone apparently texting their friends, as it may have appeared to some people.

    BTW, I think this WordPress blog using a free theme could be better, at least add a custom avatar for the Editor, that only takes seconds. I think my comment should have an avatar courtesy of Gravatar.