Good Social Customer Conversations: Start by Listening

Whatever the customer says, never hit delete," said Mark Mitchell, the social media director for My Social Agency. "A negative situation can be turned into a much more powerful positive outcome by listening to customer concerns and addressing and resolving [them] live on the page." Handling customer complaints well, in other words, can actually transform complaining customers into loyal ones.

Social media sites are all about having conversations, and that's true for businesses as well as individuals. The trick for businesses is knowing how and when to engage in these conversations -- and how to keep up with them.
Like any conversation, listening is important, and it's one way that businesses can begin to engage their customers.
"A good overall strategy for any business online, especially when it comes to social media sites, is to begin with listening," Roy Morejon, president of Command Partners, told CRM Buyer. "I've seen it many times where companies use social media as just another place to push their agenda."

Not Just a Brand

The unique thing about social media is that it gives people an opportunity to engage with companies on a personal level.
"People want to talk to people, not a brand," social media consultant Deborah Smith told CRM Buyer.

Putting Out Fires

Sometimes, social media conversations turn to customer complaints and problems, which can be tricky to handle. Businesses must have a strategy in place so they know how to respond to them effectively.
"Each customer complaint is different, including the social media channel it's on, so your actions will vary," said Morejon. "Many times a response isn't needed, [and] other times it's best to take it offline. When it is appropriate to respond to the complaint, make sure you empower them to become a 'brand cheerleader.'"


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