Twitter Helps You Go Private With Customer Service


By: Phil Paschke

Around this time last year I posted about Embracing the Online Anger, and one of the topics I’ve been meaning to explore further was how to handle customer service issues on Twitter. The recent good news on that front is that Twitter itself has made it easier to transition a customer to using Direct Messages (DMs) to interact with you, rather than corresponding via a public conversation.

There are a few good reasons to go private:

  • personal information from the patron may be required to resolve the issue
  • direct messages have a much higher character limit
  • dirty laundry isn’t aired in public

Also, can we agree that it just doesn’t cut it anymore to tell the patron to call your box office for assistance? If a patron initiates contact via Twitter, you should have a process in place to resolve their issue as best you can within their preferred method of contact.

So, what is this new functionality?

According to Twitter’s blog post on February 18th, “a business can now add a deep link to their Tweets that automatically displays a call to action button, which allows the customer to send the business a Direct Message, quickly and easily.”

You’ll need to do these three steps before implementing:


1) Make sure you can receive DMs from everyone

This setting is found under Settings > Security and Privacy, near the bottom of the page.

turn on direct messages from everyone



2) Find your Twitter Numeric User ID

This is not your user name, but a unique number assigned to your account. This isn’t as obvious to find as you might think; I found the easiest way to get this information was via



3) Create the deep link

The link you paste into your tweet should look like this:{your account’s numeric user ID}

(Note: your numeric ID replaces everything after =, including the curly brackets)

Now your customer can easily click on the special call to action that is created to continue the conversation.

send private messag

You can find the official resource for this functionality on Twitter’s help site.


And now a question for readers:

Does your organization give any customer service reps access to your Twitter account, or is it solely handled within the marketing and communications department? Let us know in the comments!

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Phil Paschke
Philip has had a fascination with all things tech ever since his parents brought home a Commodore 64 and he learned to type Load “*”,8,1. Combining his love of gadgets with a passion for music, he completed a B.Mus in Theory and Composition, while working part-time at the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra & Winspear Centre box office. After thirteen years with the organization progressing through titles like New Media Specialist and Communications Manager, he recently relocated to Wagga Wagga, Australia (really) for a down-under adventure. Whichever hemisphere he's in, Philip makes time for fine food, peaty scotch, and staying up way too late playing Sim City.
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