Twitter adds location sharing for businesses offering customer support over Direct Messages

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The Twitterverse is still reeling from Twitter’s revamp of @ replies, and scratching its head over how changing a default avatar has anything to do with addressing abuse, but the network is plodding on, today releasing a new feature aimed at its business users. The latest in a series of updates focused on helping businesses running customer service via Twitter, the new addition offers businesses an easier way to request and share locations with their customers — for example, to enable a store-locator function, or to customize responses based on where the customer lives.

The location-request option is something businesses can use over Direct Messages, by first asking the customer to share their location with a click of a button. The customer can choose whether or not they want to do so, and then can opt to share their precise location or pick a place-name from a provided list.

 

With the second method, the customer can reference a location even if they’re not physically there — which would be helpful in the case of making reservations or placing a to-go order at a restaurant, for instance.

TGI Fridays is one of the first to adopt the feature, and is using it for to-go orders, reservations and a nearby restaurant-finder feature. It’s working with Conversable to power some of the features, as well. Wingstop is a another business now using location sharing, for similar reasons.

However, there are other use cases where this could be practical, too. Often, a business needs to know where a customer reporting trouble is based, like for service outages, or to customize their support as needed to those in a certain city, region or other locale.

The feature is also available through Twitter’s Direct Messages API, currently in private beta, and is powered by Foursquare’s location data.

The change is one of several initiatives aimed at better supporting customer service via Twitter — an area where Twitter competes head-on with Facebook Pages, where support is offered over Messenger, in most cases. However, Twitter is known for being a place where people often air their concerns or complaints, often with the expectation that the brand or business will respond.

Other recent updates on this front have included Customer Feedback Cards, automated welcome messages and quick replies, the ability to add “support hours” to the business’s profile, larger DM (direct message) buttons and buttons that facilitate taking public conversations to private ones.