Social Media Is For Positivity: Study on Answering Comments

Are you training your clients to be satisfied with your business’ social media resolutions?

You should actively avoid answering high-strung users trolling for a response. But when you do give an answer to a comment, compliment or complaint, these are the marks you should hit in your reply in order to ensure a happy client.

This analysis is from study from the University of Plymouth which concerned online patient feedback in a health setting, but it provides a valuable checklist for small personal brand accounts looking to grow their own PR management skills.

General: How To Respond To Clients

If you have a background in customer service, these guidelines are a great refresher. Here are some general notes based on the study and my own experience before we get into the checklist for a proper response.

  • If the process of giving feedback and receiving a response is satisfactory, then the client may end with a higher opinion of the organization.
  • Clients are more likely to be dissatisfied with a poor response than if they are openly told that the issue was caused due to human error.
  • You can only train clients to file their complaints privately (via email or DM) instead of publicly if your private resolutions are highly satisfactory. LL Bean’s legendary lifetime guarantees have been clipped, but they earned their reputation through word-of-mouth as customers spread the news that they’re a dream to work with.

Specific: How To Gently Respond to Clients

  • The response is best received when the responder identifies their name, position in the organization and includes a photo. This is already built into platforms like Instagram, where username_company responds to comments left on company‘s platform. Authenticity is a key concept on social media, despite its incongruous reliance on Photoshop and FaceTune. Showing a face, name and choosing “thank you” over the sarcastic “thanks” scores full points. In short form answers, like on Instagram or Twitter, I don’t think that “Thank you” is always necessary but it is imperative in email exchanges.
  • Responses don’t need to be immediate, but should be between 3-7 days unless the complaint was posted on the company’s social media. They won’t remember the names of the contact people, but they will remember what their title and picture was, e.g., “I emailed the customer service address on their website and some brunette girl with an organization email address got back to me after a week.”
  • An apology outranks a “Thank you” and will be well received if there is a long delay in a response, or if the client perceives a less-than-positive experience.
  • Clients are watching for automated or scripted responses like hawks. Having a scripted checklist is more personable.
  • Clients don’t always know who exactly they want to resolve their problem, so give them explicit options. If they didn’t receive their t-shirt, ask if they want to be refunded or to have one re-sent. If they’re looking to book a speaker, tell them that Julie is the booker and ask if they’d like her contact information or if they would like to be contacted back.

Shorter: How To Respond on Social Media

While this study was about patients and sensitive health issues, we can distill hitting these marks into a canned two sentence response for social media that drives concerns away from public platforms and into more effective private hands.

Hi HoneyBunny99, I’m a customer service rep with FunnyMoneyTshirts Inc and I see you haven’t received your order. Can you please DM me or email [email protected] Doc Com with your order # so I can resolve this for you? Thank you! -Margaret

Simple and clean.

Social Media Really Is Built For Positive Feedback

According to the 2015 Customer Service Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch,

“…consumers are predominantly using social media as a method to give positive feedback.”

In my experience, complaints are usually hosted away from the organization, person or platform. Of all the complaints about Facebook’s algorithms — even those that are posted on Facebook — almost nobody copies the email to Facebook’s customer service or tags in Mark Zuckerberg.

Don’t Sanitize Your Reviews

If there is overwhelmingly negative feedback left for all to see, it’s likely a symptom that complaints are not escalated to private spheres. Or, it’s a general burst of negativity over an announcement or similar that will fall away in a few days.

But it’s relatively common for American consumers to post about their emotionally-based shopping stories on social media:

“39% of Americans have shared their experiences or feelings about a commercial transaction on social media platforms.”

Making sure those comments skew positive (but not too positive, because consumers don’t trust reviews) is imperative:

“Fully 82% of U.S. adults say they at least sometimes read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time, including 40% who say they always or almost always do so.”

Why Is This So Important For Conservatives?

Online advertising is changing, as we conservatives swing to using social media to drive traffic to our websites, and rely on people expressly visiting our sites to see what’s new as Facebook and Twitter kill off our ability to spread news.  The tone of this article sprouts from a new paradigm I’m exploring, which is using Facebook groups and subreddits to drive traffic to Instagram, and from there drive traffic to official websites that offer contextual advertisements, calls to directly hire the editor or for a subscription service.

In general, I think many conservatives would benefit from converting their personal brands into a physical products beyond basic mugs and tops from Spreadshirt. Part of that process is the added expense of managing reputation. If you’re writing a business plan for an online business attached to the face of a set of online conservatives, including the costs for live chat and active customer service is imperative. As well, conservatives should manage expectations of squeaky-clean images thanks to the tireless lefties that attack, spread lies and use bots to agitate for attention.

Bonus: How Long Before Responding To Client?

The medical study lists three days as the “ideal” length of time to wait before responding to a client.

In 2018, an updated version of the Customer Service Benchmark report shows that the average response time for a customer service request is just over 12 hours if they even respond at all.

But, with the fast-paced world of social media where over 1/3rd of users expect a response within six hours, this expectation has led to decreased satisfaction. I would point to the fact that unless you live inside the world of online branding, it’s difficult to accept that a person or brand with a 50,000 follower Instagram or Twitter account wouldn’t be constantly refreshing their feeds looking to respond to comments.

If you organize your time so that you only spend a few hours every weeks checking and responding to complaints, I recommend quickly posting a noticeably canned response from a faceless account that acts like a bot if you want to teach clients to drive complaints elsewhere:

Hi! If you could please email CustomerService -at- MiniRightWingCompany with your order number the site owner will read and respond to your concern within five business days. Thank you. This is an automated response.

Make it easy for the client to make the next move. And if the complainant continues to escalate in the comment thread, you know they’re just looking to blow off steam and make you look bad because they’re ignoring the path to resolution in favor of a public tiff.

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