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Why Your Customers Deserve Personalized Responses on Social Media Customers are satisfied knowing that someone is listening to them, and, there, social media can be better than phone calls and email.

By Firas Kittaneh Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Consumers, increasingly, are using social media to connect with companies; and this has led to a growing preference among users who would rather contact customer support representatives through social media versus over the phone.

Related: The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience

Social media, in fact, represents an important opportunity for brands to engage with their customers on a deeper level and provide an outstanding user experience by delivering personalized social responses. Here are several reasons why a social media strategy is a smart move.

Customers are satisfied just knowing that someone is listening to them.

One of the most frequent impediments customer service leaders report in regards to implementing personalized responses on social media is just plain worry.

Specifically they worry that if they engage closely with too many customers who are looking for a refund, they will end up bleeding revenue uncontrollably. And, yes, some dissatisfied customers will certainly take to Facebook and Twitter because they believe they deserve financial remuneration or think they can get some sort of reward just by sharing their discontent publicly.

However, the vast majority of customers with valid complaints are simply searching for evidence that someone within your organization is actively listening and responding to user concerns.

Social media creates endless opportunities to personally acknowledge and address customer issues quickly. The key to succeeding with this strategy is to always keep your promises; if you tell a customer you're going to follow up on an issue later, you absolutely have to do that.

Failing to respond after indicating you will do so is more harmful than ignoring the customer's post in the first place.

Responding on social media is an act of empathy on your part.

The best customer service responses through social media indicate that first, the brand is listening intently, and, second, responding.

Listening breeds empathy; and consistently showing empathy for your customers' distress is one of the most important factors in delivering an exceptional customer experience. This is especially true after there has been a service breakdown somewhere along the journey.

Even at that point, it's still possible to show your clientele that you are dedicated to ensuring they find value in their relationship with your company; the practice of social listening is helping numerous companies respond empathetically to their customers and maintain value-added relationships that otherwise would have dissolved.

Related: This Multi-Millionaire Founder Drove an Uber to Learn About Customer Service

Using social media, you can quickly resolve customer onboarding issues.

Many times, customers will reach out to a brand using their preferred social channel for a quick answer to a product-related question.

Organizations can use the immediacy of social media to solve onboarding problems for their customers efficiently, and unlike a person-to-person phone call, these public social posts will be available to help other customers encountering the same problem.

Customers turn to social platforms for answers to be sure that you are equipped to provide a quick response, even if it's only to apologize and tell them you need additional time to investigate the issue. Most research indicates that the majority of people who reach out to a brand on Twitter expect an answer within the hour.

Automated replies indicate to customers that they aren't worthy of your time.

Misguided customer service professionals may believe that setting up automated social media replies is a clever way to have their cake and eat it too. They think they can save the company time and money by freeing representatives to focus on tasks other than personal replies, while at the same time placating the customer with a response.

The problem is, contemporary customers are too savvy to be fooled into thinking that an automated reply was actually written for them; and the lack of a personalized response only sends the message that your company has more important things to worry about than their satisfaction.

Social media responses can be integrated with CRM systems.

When it comes to repeat customers, social media interactions offer an extended opportunity to create a memorable experience. Any time you correspond with a customer, using your social channels, this information can be transferred into your CRM solution for future reference.

This includes logging the issue, the complaint and maybe even praise from the customer, along with a summary of what actions were taken to rectify the situation, the amount of time it took to complete the interaction and any final comments the user logged.

Customer service, marketing and sales reps will then have access to this information upon their next interaction with this particular client, allowing them to deliver an even more personalized experience.

Going above and beyond creates customer evangelists.

A few years ago, Twitter user Peter Shankman tweeted at Morton's Steakhouse asking if the famed restaurant's staff could meet him at Newark Airport with a porterhouse steak when his plane landed.

Of course the tweet was tongue-in-cheek, and it's doubtful he would have been disappointed with Morton's if things couldn't be worked out. But when a Morton's server greeted him with a steak in hand, that surprise represented the ultimate personalized social media response.

Related: See You at the Top: A Guide to Winning at Customer Service

Not every company has the resources to attempt something like this, especially on any regular basis. But when you are able to do something out of the ordinary for your best customers, that something special creates an valuable bond. And it makes for a great customer service story.

Firas Kittaneh

Serial Entrepreneur • CEO at Amerisleep • CEO at OCLU

Firas Kittaneh is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of amerisleep. Most recently, he launched OCLU to improve how we record our most memorable moments.

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