The Importance Of Online Engagement & Why You Should Talk To Your Customers

Did you know that almost a quarter of people in the UK have stopped using a business in the last year alone because of terrible customer service? Yep, the figures speak for themselves – your interactions (or lack of them) with your customers may actually be harming your ROI (that’s your return on investment!).

So, How Do You Avoid This?

Well, clearly, some of these stats will pertain to offline communication, but it’s a rookie error to assume that your online marketing efforts – specifically your social media strategies – don’t integrate cohesively.  In order to get the best reaction from your customers, you have to regularly join in the conversation with them, listen to them, and respond – even when it’s negative.

Everything from your initial post scheduling, to the actual interaction with customers should be on brand, so that you’re already immersing yourself in these conversations – in fact, you’re starting them. Don’t post too many promotional statuses and Tweets – you might think they add value, but a customer will simply scroll past. Ask questions, post related blogs and images, and just generally promote a positive impression of your business, whilst still getting across the values, ethos and quality of the work, products or services you offer.

It doesn’t stop there, however. You don’t just want to start the conversation – you’d never do that in real life! In reality, you have to carry on with it, and see it through. When times get tough, you have to respond to every email, every Tweet and every negative timeline post, because you’d never flat out ignore a customer if they approached you in a ‘real-life’ setting – it’s no different.

There are some fantastic companies who are doing this totally right. Having had negative experiences with ASOS, for example, their Social Media Representatives at ASOS Here To Help are a total saving grace! They respond in a way that is:

  • Efficient
  • Polite
  • Engaging
  • Colloquial
  • Informed
  • Apologetic

For me, these attributes are very important. They own the issues, and take full responsibility. When something isn’t their fault, they remain calm, and they still endeavour to resolve the issue in a timely manner. Of course, they will probably have their downsides. But the important thing is that they are recognising the importance of keeping on top of everything their customers are saying. It’s crucial to understand that not all businesses are the same – ASOS have their own niche. Finding yours and responding appropriately will be a lifesaver, but you must still keep in mind the key approaches. It’s basically exactly the same as you’d do in the ‘real world’ – you just go the extra mile!

Use tools like Tweetdeck to really listen in on key phrases relating to your brand or industry, and don’t be afraid to jump in and talk to people online. You can have separate column to almost ‘stalk’ these phrases, even when you’re not tagged! The customers may be surprised, but they’ll appreciate it, and your following will grow. Respond to good and bad interactions where possible, whilst always retaining professionalism.

What You’ll Gain

By listening to, getting involved with and understanding your customers’ needs, you’ll have a fuller picture of what is working, and what isn’t. Based on their recommendations and comments, you can actually tailor this to do business better. It’ll also make you look good. Leading the way in this manner makes you a shining example of a stellar business model that others will almost certainly want to emulate.

Of course, all of this adds up to a better reputation for new customers, and repeat customers, too, so that all important ROI goes up as well.