Technology is advancing at a relentless pace. And this rapid pace of advancement is changing the way we do business.
Social media, for example, has evolved from platforms for keeping in touch with friends to powerful marketing tools. This development has forced businesses to adapt and learn new approaches to communicating with their customers.
Customer service, on the other hand, has been undergoing regular changes from its beginnings. For example, it is currently shifting more toward automation and chatbots.
In light of all of these technical developments, however, the human element is still indispensable in customer-business communication. This is particularly true when it comes to solving more complicated problems or creating a trustworthy relationship.
That’s where social media comes into the picture, once again. It has become another platform where employees can communicate directly with the audience and customer, and thus create a humanized approach, otherwise called human-centric.
If you want to humanize your relationship with customers using social media, the following tips will be helpful to you.
Social Media is a Two-way Street
Before social media was added to the toolbox, marketing was a targeted one-way message with the sole goal of making a sale. Today, things are very different
Customers expect you not only to post sales-focused content online. They want to be heard.
Netflix provides us with one of the great examples of such an approach to marketing. The streaming service excels at interacting with their social media audience.
There, you’ll find not only advertisements, but also quality customer support where they are responding to their audience’s questions, feedback, praises, and complaints.
It is a good guide to follow when creating your social media post. In fact, it should be even easier for you.
Why? Because unlike Netflix, you don’t have millions of followers (yet). You can devote time and attention to each comment and post specifically for the most personalized approach possible.
It Pays to Insert Some Personality
Let’s stay with Netflix for now.
A Twitter user tweeted the following sentence: “I’m trying to have a serious relationship with @netflix but she never tweets back”.
You know what happened next? Of course, Netflix tweeted back: “What are you watching boo?”
Another user posted: “Finally finished Mad Men on @netflix. Need some advice… Walking Dead or Breaking Bad next?”
Netflix replied: “Breaking Bad starts more like Mad Men and then it becomes more like Walking Dead. That’s your bridge!”
See how they are establishing healthy communication while still providing actual customer support? And to top it off, they are cleverly using the most inherently human quality – a sense of humor. Your customers will also appreciate a personal touch if you adopt it.
Don’t Forget: You are Talking to People (Not Their Wallets)
Customer support automation brings efficiency to this area. Unfortunately, but it can also deliver robotic messages that only work well when users need a quick and a simple solution to a problem that is uncomplicated.
Every form of communication with a customer, even the one via chatbots, should be personalized. The simplest of steps in personalizing your message is addressing the customer by name.
This is very easy to do when you are replying to comments on Facebook and other social media platforms. Meanwhile, don’t forget the importance of writing customer service emails that feel personal, but not too informal. Consistency across touchpoints will pay huge dividends as you grow your customer base over time.
Develop a Unique Online Persona
People communicate with other people. When they feel like they are writing to and getting replies from a stodgy company, they will not sense a meaningful connection with your business. Given how emotions play a major role in purchase decisions, focusing on building relationships with your customers will pay off in real profits.
Take Adidas for example. If you follow their social media channels, you will see them as an authoritative and motivating friend who always wants to get you to go jogging with him.
True to their own brand voice, Netflix is the funny guy who will try to make you laugh and relax (it actually motivates you to be lazy, but that’s the point).
Think about what your brand represent? What kind of audience are you addressing? What do you want to achieve? Are you just trying to sell, or do you want to send a deeper message as well?
Imagine your brand as a person with unique physical and mental traits. Make sure the world sees your social media accounts as a representation of that person – both when you are advertising something and when you are answering customers’ questions.
Get the Teams to Work Together
The new era of customer support marries digital marketing and customer service communications, which was never the case before. To be successful at combining the knowledge from these spheres, you need to make the two teams (marketers and customer support department) work together.
Here are several ways to do it:
- Use technology to ease communication. Many project organization tools available online can help employees from different departments keep track of each other’s work.
- Nothing beats face-to-face interaction, so make sure the workers from both departments have regular meetings.
- Insist on a multi-skill approach where every worker has an understanding of both social media and customer service.
- An integrated social media strategy will encompass both the strategy of customer service and digital marketing, which will help with keeping keep them aligned.
Social media marketing and customer service share many tools and goals. For most companies, it is risky to try to maintain independence between both customer facing functions in your own business.
The two gruopos need to function together and bring a human element to the communication with the users. Modern customers require timely and bespoke / tailored service when it comes to simple tasks, but they also need to know someone is listening to them. The only way to achieve that is to apply a human-centric approach to social media and customer service.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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