By Sam Oakley, Social Media Executive
A recent Mashable post on social media community management sparked an email debate that spanned all three of our Quirk offices. The original article listed key areas for a successful online brand presence, however the most interesting for us was point 7:
“Walking the walk is crucial to the success of your customer experience management campaign and, ultimately, your bottom line. Over time, companies that have the same issues over and over again will not only have bad social scores but will show customers they are incapable of improving. You don’t want to be written off as a lost cause.”
This sparked a discussion about the use of set FAQs and answers, which despite being an efficient means of responding to customer queries can often negate individual considerations from the process of interacting with users. When face-to-face, we tailor our tone, language and vocabulary depending on the individual we’re conversing with – the same should be applied to social media.
Catherine Scott (Social Media Manager, Cape Town):
“Though it is essential for us to have process and FAQ documents in place to make our community management work efficient, we must never forget that customers are expecting a genuine interaction with the brand when they engage in the social space. Responses that are too clinical or too obviously scripted will not endear the brand to a customer.”
Sometimes clients believe that simply opening a social media channel to listen and respond to users with stock answers will somehow absolve them of having inadequate products and services. As an agency, we must have the bravery to tell the client to fix the real issues. Opening social channels in situations like this just exacerbates the inherent problems.
Liam Gibbs (Head of Engage , Cape Town):
“Social media is like a magnifying glass:
- If you’re good – it can make you look really good
- If you’re average – not much will happen despite your spend / effort
- If you’re shit – expect it to be magnified and you will look really shit”
There are numerous examples of businesses interjecting in discussions with disgruntled consumers to good effect. Dominos Pizza are a great example of a business acknowledging customer criticism on social media channels and responding in a sympathetic way, which demonstrates their empathy for consumers.
The lessons that can be garnered from years of observing brands on social media have a clear theme: show you’re making an effort to be personal and treat users as an individual. Kraft have gone to extreme lengths to individually thank fans for interacting with their page, but not all businesses need exert such effort, simply recognising that each user is different and that a single, generic template for responses is, quite frankly, insulting to the consumer.
“Likeapella. A special thanks to our Facebook fans.” By KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese.