Human connection on social mediaIn the social media age, businesses have no excuse for tardy customer service. Customers know this too, expecting brands to be available at all times of the day, regardless of whether or not they have the resources to be “always on”.

Not only do they demand an instant response, the reply needs to emanate human interaction and be personalised to their experience.

While this might sound budget sapping, customer service via social media might allow you to claw back resources from your call centre, making it a very cost-effective option indeed.

There’s nothing stopping any business from utilising social media for the purpose of customer service, but that doesn’t guarantee contented customers.

Twitter, which probably has the edge over Facebook as a business platform for customer service, suggests success or failure is largely dependent on the tone a brand chooses to adopt.

An impersonal air won’t suffice

Many marketers feel that business-like interactions with customers on social media only serve to further antagonise the already irritated. In an interview with Marketing Land, Twitter research manager Meghann Elrhoul confirms as much.

“Customers are really looking for a humanised connection,” he explained. “They want to feel that they are talking to a real person and having that personalisation helps add that component.”

Elrhoul’s comments follow a comprehensive study from his employer which suggests that even firms operating in more serious industries would be wise to ensure they are connecting with their customers on a human level.

Of the 14,000 people – who have sought to engage with brands’ customer service Twitter accounts – questioned by the social media giant, 77% said they were likely to recommend a firm if they created personal interactions.

By comparison, when brands took a more detached tone, 66% said they were unlikely to give them their seal of approval. Customers were also 19% more likely to settle a dispute and 22% more likely to come away from an interaction suitably satisfied.

Elrhoul also explained that with Twitter interactions taking place for everybody to see, it’s not only existing customers who will form their views on a brand based on their Twitter activity, but potential new prospects too.

“They see that brands are doing it and doing it right, so they know they’ll get the response they are looking for,” he said of new customers.

While Twitter’s ‘Customer Service Playbook’ makes no mention of content marketing, content marketers could learn plenty from the conclusions it draws; especially the finding that new customers might assess a brand’s timeline before deciding whether to interact with them.

I guess the question is: should content be tailored to appeal to new customers, or should existing customers remain the core focus of your content marketing strategy?

Ben Hollom

August 21, 2015