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How to respond to customers on social media.

This article introduces learners to some ways for responding to customers on social media. Let's explore them.

The overall objective with customer service is to repeatedly show the world what kind of company you are, and what kind of people work for you.

The objective of customer service

In marketing more broadly, consumers connect with brands on an emotional level, much as we do with people. According to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customers feel they are being treated.

The rise of social media and corporate transparency has lifted the veil on how companies are run. Because of this, the general public now demands far more in terms of ethics and ethos from businesses.

A speech bubble with the word ‘Ethics’

Interacting with your customers and prospects in social media plays perfectly into this modern development, allowing you to display the human side of your business.

Certainly, it requires all staff to be trained and briefed accordingly, communicating the brand’s values consistently over time. And, critically, never out of step.

Let’s have a look at how to respond to customers through social media.

1. Developing a customer service brief

A brief to social media managers or customer service staff involved in this work needs to include:

2. Tone of voice

It refers to some general guidelines on how the band sounds on social. This is not necessarily the same as the wider brand tone and is probably more conversational. Buffer’s Voice & Tone guide is an especially useful example of this. Follow the link at the bottom of this step to read more.

3. Language

It provides more clarity on the kind of words the brand uses to communicate. Do we say “great” or “cool”? “Thanks” or “Cheers”?

4. Complaint responses

What’s the structure of a complaint response? For experienced brands (mostly utilities and transport), this tends to be:

1. Friendly, personal greeting – Hi John

2. A full and sincere apology, with genuine empathy – we’re so sorry to hear about your issue and the trouble it’s been causing your family

3. Commitment to resolve, with realistic expectations – we’ll get this sorted for you as soon as we can 4. Personal staff sign-off – Thanks, Joanna

5. Dos and don’ts

A convenient and memorable way to communicate your parameters for social interactions, a concise list of practical examples will demonstrate to staff exactly how to respond to customers online.

6. Scenarios and examples

As above, make the brand tone real by showing it in use, in context. Take a variety of real situations and show how they were dealt with.

Be sure to clarify the need for all responses to be personal and bespoke, to some extent. Canned responses straight from the playbook can frustrate and annoy customers.

If you’d like to learn more about running a social media campaign, check out the full online course from The Institute of Data and Marketing, below.

This article is from the free online

Running a Social Media Campaign: Customers, Influencer Engagement, Analytics

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