This study draws from the Montclare SaaS 250 to find the top 20 SaaS companies and their Twitter support feeds. The aim is to find out the uses and effectiveness of Twitter as a support channel for enterprise SaaS.
How the top 20
do Twitter support
An analysis of 12,844 tweets
Summary of the study
Since Twitter is often used as a way for users to vent frustrations (in the worst cases,
88% of a company’s incoming tweets are negative), Twitter support accounts seem to be
there for two reasons: to provide a support platform for heavy Twitter users,
and for damage control.
By using text analysis, this study will find out the effectiveness and usage of Twitter
as a customer support channel for enterprise-scale SaaS companies.
Key findings on the usage of Twitter support
• Tweets from users directed at support accounts are generally negative/neutral in sentiment,
but a higher percentage of negative tweets from users often correlates to a more active
• Objective (e.g. problem-solving) responses make up 15% of tweets to users.
• Negative (e.g. apologetic, damage control) responses make up 15% of tweets to users.
• Positive (e.g. thankful, helpful) responses make up 23% of tweets to users.
• Neutral (e.g. requests for more information) make up 62% of tweets to users.
• The most apologetic company is LinkedIn, which also receives the most negative
incoming communication and ends up providing the lowest amount of objective
assistance out of all analyzed companies.
• The least apologetic company is Dropbox, which only apologized 1.8% of the time despite
receiving the 2nd highest amount of negative tweets and tweeting more subjective
(less helpful) messages to users.
• The most helpful company is Constant Contact, which provides the highest percentage
of objective (problem-solving) tweets.
• The least helpful company is LinkedIn, which tweets both the 2nd highest percentage
of negative-subjective (damage control) tweets and the lowest percentage
of objective (problem-solving) tweets.
65%of the top 20 SaaS companies use
Twitter as a support channel.
The prevalence of Twitter support and the
Twitter activity of top SaaS companies
• 13 out of the top 20 SaaS companies use Twitter as a support channel.
• If a company offers support on Twitter, they’ve been active for around 5 years.
• During these 5 years, the average SaaS company analyzed tweeted 36,463 times to
• As a general rule, pure support accounts don’t follow many users. The average is 3,826.
• Support accounts have an average of 18,290 followers.
• On average, support accounts tweet 16 times per day. The two most active accounts —
LinkedIn and Adobe — tweet 59 and 65 times per day respectively.
Sentiment analysis on tweets from users
For this study, I analyzed both incoming and outgoing tweets, meaning the data set includes tweets at
the company, and tweets from the company. I found that the sentiment of incoming tweets was,
What’s the purpose of Twitter for support for users?
What can we theorize the purpose of Twitter as a support channel is?
1. A way to support users who prefer Twitter over email or researching the company’s usual
2. A way to have a dedicated account to respond to tweets from users that require support, and
direct those users away from the main account
3. A method of damage control when dealing with frustrated users
Essentially, the high percentage of negative and neutral incoming tweets says that users use Twitter
support to complain, and to ask questions.
Sentiment analysis on tweets from companies
When companies tweet, the sentiments are much more complex. Overall, companies will be
less likely to use negative sentiments than users.
The meaning of sentiment in tweets from companies
● Outgoing tweets with negative sentiment are apologies and requests to take the conversation to direct messages
or email. They are mostly responses to frustrated customers.
● The more negative sentiment responses a company makes, the more ‘damage control’ they’re doing.
● Outgoing tweets with positive sentiment are thankful. They are mostly ˘responses to acknowledge that a
customer’s problem has been solved.
● The more positive sentiment responses a company makes, the more likely they are to be solving user’s problems
directly on Twitter instead of pushing the user to direct messages/email.
● Outgoing tweets with neutral sentiment are often requests. They are usually direct responses to a customer
initially reporting an issue.
● Neutral sentiment is often indicative of a request for more information, but without an apology or thanks.
The meaning of subjectivity in tweets from companies
As well as sentiment, we also looked at subjectivity and objectivity.
We found that tweets with objective content were usually solutions to problems users
Subjective tweets were usually an apology, acknowledgement, request for more
information, or the company thanking the user.
Since the data’s available and offers a deeper insight into the way SaaS companies support
users through Twitter, it’s helpful to check tweets against combinations of subjectivity and
Subjective-positive tweets are acknowledgements of a resolved issue
From the data set we analyzed, we concluded that it is fair to draw a correlation between the
amount of subjective/positive tweets and the success rate of that company’s support efforts over
Twitter. That’s because they’re usually indicative of the company rounding up the conversation and
expressing their happiness to help.
Subjective-negative tweets are delivering bad news, or quelling an angry user
Tweets with a subjective/negative score are mostly indicative of a customer-company
interaction that didn’t go well. Either the company is trying to quell an angry customer,
or telling them that there isn’t a solution to their problem.
Objective tweets are purely problem-solving
Objective language indicates the company is sharing facts and instructions with the user.
A high ratio of objective:subjective tweets to users usually shows the company is good
at solving problems without taking the issue to direct messages or email.
Constant Contact, ServiceNow, and Salesforce are the best problem-solvers over Twitter.
Which companies receive the angriest tweets? How does this affect their response?
You’ll see that the companies which receive the most negative feedback from users are:
• DocuSign (88% negative incoming)
• LinkedIn (58% negative incoming)
• Marketo (53% negative incoming)
Incidentally, these companies also score highly when measured against the amount of
subjective-negative tweets tweeted:
• DocuSign (20% negative-subjective outgoing)
• LinkedIn (21% negative-subjective outgoing)
• Marketo (18% negative-subjective outgoing)
The most and least apologetic companies
Two out of three of the top three companies by apology are also the companies which receive
the most negative tweets: LinkedIn and Marketo. It’s safe to assume their high percentage
of apologies is directly related to the amount of things they should be apologizing for.
It’s obvious that the most effective problem solvers — the ones that tweet more objectively —
offer solutions to users on Twitter, not over direct messages or email.
They are also the least likely to get negative tweets from users overall.
From this, you could conclude that users go to Twitter because it’s their preferred method of
communication, and if companies are able to solve issues on Twitter instead of pushing the
user to emails or direct messages, users are happier and the sentiment of incoming tweets
is also impacted positively.
The best and worst companies
at Twitter support
We found the key indicators of helpful and empathetic support over Twitter are a high percentage of objective
tweets, a high percentage of subjective-positive tweets, and a low percentage of subjective-negative.
Worst: DocuSign, LinkedIn, Marketo
DocuSign, LinkedIn, and Marketo are the three biggest recipients of negative tweets from users. They are also
amongst the top ranked for subjective-negative (damage control, apologetic) tweets. LinkedIn’s assistance over
Twitter (objective tweet percentage) is the lowest of all companies analyzed, and Marketo also ranks poorly.
Best: ServiceNow and Constant Contact
As the two companies with the highest percentages of objective tweets, it’s safe to say that ServiceNow and
Constant Contact are the most helpful companies over Twitter. This is supported by the fact that they receive the
2nd and 3rd lowest amounts of negative tweets from users.