When it comes to managing a brand’s online presence, there is no question that responding to comments and reviews is an important element, no matter the platform or industry. This includes replying to comments on social media, customer review sites (such as Yelp), and your blog, if you have one. When done well, social interaction with your brand can go a long way towards managing and developing valuable customer relationships.
When you receive a question or comment, it might not always be immediately clear why or how you should respond to it — especially if the commenter is upset or degrading your brand. Remember the following goals as you look to craft your response:
- Build rapport with your audience. Whether it’s through humor or empathy, try to find common ground among even the worst comments.
- Reply quickly to comments. Response time goes a long way in providing top-notch customer service.
- Stand out from the competition. This is your chance to make a good impression, so be sure to set yourself apart from other brands in your response.
- Be consistent. You’re likely to have a wide variety of comments to manage and you may have a team helping you manage them. Whatever the case, be sure your style of response is consistent throughout to maintain your brand’s image.
- Manage customer feedback. Before responding, take an outside-in approach and ask yourself if your response would satisfy the commenter. Is there more information you could share? Could you be more clear? How would your response resonate with other viewers of your page?
Depending on which platforms you have a presence on, you may receive a large amount of comments and find it difficult to keep up. However, you should respond to as many comments as possible, with as quick a response time as possible. Doing so will help you grow your community and build relationships with current and prospective clients. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about what people like or dislike about your products or services, ask questions, and find areas where you can improve your product, service, communication, and more! When determining how to respond to comments, it might be helpful to categorize and base your response on the following types of comments:
- Positive feedback. Hopefully, you’ll earn compliments from customers on customer reviews which you should respond to. A short response will go a long way. Customers appreciate when businesses take the time to engage. Compliments on your social media posts and photos will also warrant a “thank you” or “glad you liked it” as well. That being said, personalize your response whenever possible, as customers like to feel personally addressed.
- Response to questions. Asking customers questions about your products and services can be an effective way to gauge sentiment. Even if the response isn’t always positive, it’s important to let your customers know that you appreciate their feedback. Take this opportunity to respond with a personalized message thanking them for their comment, or even engaging them in a deeper discussion privately. Such interactions will lead to trust and loyalty as you show that you are a brand that listens and cares.
- Questions and customer service issues. Questions may appear in the form of social media comments, direct messages, brand mentions, or even through customer reviews. As questions and customer service issues can often represent tangible customer problems and concerns, effective responses can be seen as a form of customer relations management. As a result, when possible, make answering these messages your priority. It’s likely that if one customer has an issue, others will too, and will appreciate your effort to answer. If a question cannot be satisfied with a sentence of two, involves sensitive information, or the conversation may reflect poorly on your brand, take the conversation “offline” by sending a direct message (DM) or email the customer to de-escalate the issue. By doing so, you can avoid potentially damaging situations and hopefully keep the customer as well.
Taking the time to respond to customer comments online is essential, and once you have the basics down, can be a simple way to increase customer engagement. For further assistance with social media interactions, our team at Pulse is happy to help. Contact us today to set up a free 30-minute consultation at (207) 947-9333.