Create Loyal Customers Through Meaningful Social Engagement

No matter the product, service, or industry, there’s one thing all brands can agree on: loyal customers are the best kind of customers.

These days, it is estimated that new customer acquisition can cost at least 5 times more than keeping an existing customer. Retaining customers through excellent customer rapport and timely service can broaden brand loyalty. Adapt these concepts to social media, and there’s an opportunity to broaden loyalty from a single customer exchange to a community of loyal customers, and potentially their subsequent networks.

Through social, business can establish a dependable reputation, deliver positive support experiences, and foster emotional connections, all of which have been shown to drive customer loyalty to a brand.

Be Dependable

Where once social media support was “nice to have,” now it’s an expectation. Customers expect a response on social media, and they expect it quickly. Research shows that almost half (42%) of customers expect a response within an hour; 32% expect a response within just 30 minutes.

If you think just responding during business hours is enough, think again. Your customers want consistency around the clock, with over half (57%) expecting the same fast response times on nights and weekends. This may seem like a lot to deliver, but it’s worth it when you see customers coming back.

As we covered in a recent article, the less effort customers have to make to get their issue resolved, the happier they will be. By maintaining a presence on the social channels where your customers are most active, they have easy access to reach you whenever they need, and your consistent dependability will help to drive that coveted loyalty.

Deliver Positive Support Experiences

Numerous studies have concluded the direct effect support experiences can have on a consumer’s feelings towards a brand. In a recent survey by our partners at Zendesk, 52% of respondents said they would stop buying from a company following a bad customer support experience; 42% said they would actually purchase more following a good experience. This is true not only for traditional support channels like email and phone, but also for social media.

Another study found that 55% of customers who call out brands on social media hope to gain an apology or solution to their issue. Considering the public nature of these complaints, it’s not enough to simply redirect angry tweeters to your email or phone support. In fact, the same study showed that a bad response was actually more detrimental than sending no response at all. 50% of respondents said they would boycott a brand after receiving a poor response to their post on social media; 26% said they would unfollow the brand’s social pages for the same reason. Upon receiving a good response? 37% were likely to purchase from that brand again, and a whopping 45% said they were likely to to post about the interaction.

Foster Emotional Connections

Your fans will quickly tire of canned responses like, “Thanks for sharing!” or “We’ll pass along your feedback.” Customers want to feel acknowledged, and that they’re dealing with a human who can help.

Additionally, not all comments you receive on social will be questions or issues, and those customers will benefit from acknowledgement or engagement as well.

Consider building social customer support programs that assure the community you real, you are listening, and you care. For example:

  • Thank customers (genuinely and specifically) for sharing feedback and concerns
  • Respond to reviews, both positive and negative
  • Recognize and acknowledge return visitors and community regulars
  • Compliment shared photos of your products or experiences (better yet, ask permission to share the best ones)
  • Identify community members who regularly help or engage positively with others (especially new members); if you can, reach out and surprise them with a small gift for being so helpful.

Customers want to feel connected to your brand and the people behind it. Robots (or responses that make you sound like one) will make even an avid purchaser question your commitment to them as a customer. Instead, reply in ways that show you share the same interests and passions.

At ModSquad, when we staff a video game project, we make sure the Mods are gamers themselves; for apparel clients, we aim to staff the project with Mods interested in fashion. This type of product and industry knowledge makes for much more engaging responses that affirm to the customer the people behind the brand are just like them.

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Talk Back

Audrey
Posted on February 20, 2018

A smiling voice goes a long way in customer service!

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