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3 Ways To Think About Intention in Social Media Care

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Brooke Lynch

social media, Twitter, CX, Customer Care

Twitter is a powerful tool for customers; they use it to tweet their favorite celebrities, share thoughts about their day, and ask for help from their most-used brands. Whether it’s to rave or complain about a company, users adapted the platform as a support channel to share their experiences and publicly interact. 

When identifying the main reasons why Twitter has become such a popular service tool, most point to its ease of use and the convenient capability of meeting customers on a platform they already engage on. Since individuals are spending their day browsing social platforms, it becomes the simplest way to reach these demographics. Additionally, many position social channels as a reflection of their digital savviness and youthful disposition to attract this active following. 

However, these views focus more on overall brand and service goals and less on customers’ true intentions on the platform. When considering best practices for social channels it’s important to first evaluate customer intent. Social channels are an interesting outlet for brand communication; while some definitely use it as a convenience option, others see value in its public nature. At the end of the day customers who do tweet are sharing this feedback/conversation with friends and followers when they could have privately contacted the company’s support team. 

Therefore, in looking at some of Twitter’s self-identified best practices for brand communication and support we can identify the intention behind customers’ use of social support to improve the effectiveness of care. 


Take Ownership of Mistakes

In Twitter’s Customer Care Report, it notes that brands deliver economic value to their customers when they take ownership of an issue. This makes sense; if something goes wrong or a customer is seeking assistance, they want the brand to accommodate their complaints and take fault when necessary.

When we think about the intention behind tweets, this becomes even more of an asset. Customers take to Twitter for a reason; they’re usually publicly voicing their concerns to flag criticism or flaws for other users. Because of this, they’re seeking a sense of accountability in the brand’s response. If they wanted a problem fixed quickly, they may just give the support team a call -- but tweeting the brand is a much more vocal stance. While it may not be true in every case, it can be incredibly helpful to maintain a sense of ownership and accountability when responding to social inquiries to alleviate concerns.

When customers tweet at your brand, they are presenting the issue to their followers and potentially the world if it gains enough traction, so striking the right tone is critical. Sensing when customers are seeking something beyond a resolution, like an apology or just simple recognition, is key in utilizing social channels. Additionally, this tone is important when factoring in audience perception. Because social media interactions are not exclusive to the organization and customer at hand, there is a certain pressure to react in a way that pleases both the individual and the greater public. To complicate this, these opinions may not always align. For example, if a customer is complaining about a controversial topic, it’s probably not the best idea to apologize or agree just to please one person. Therefore, it’s important to consider the broader audience perception in shaping social responses. By preemptively understanding every potential reaction to a core issue, companies can better navigate and form complex responses.


Go The Extra Mile And Exceed Expectations

Sometimes when customers tweet a brand, they may not expect a response at all. Customers who actively use the platform may just habitually tweet general grievances to vent with no real expectation of resolution. For example, a customer may complain on Twitter about their less than stellar experience with a certain airline a week after their trip. The customer already arrived at their destination and the level of urgency is low, but the impact can be high. In cases like these, brands that go above and beyond to find a solution, offer compensation, or improve the situation can really have a positive effect on social customers.

While brands should always go the extra mile, doing this on social really pays off. It gives customers that were not seeking a direct conversation with your brand a new sense of connection. It’s also a great way to illustrate the extent to which your company values its customers and intends to improve their experiences. 

Additionally, if the customer ends up sharing your response or celebrating your support efforts, it can mend some of the backlash and emphasize the humanness of the mistake. Proving that customer feedback, good or bad, truly matters to your organization, and rewarding your customers for giving it, can be an exceptional way to build meaningful relationships.


Make it Feel Personal

Continuing with the more human aspect of social care, Twitter notes that brands that personalize public outreach benefit by delivering a more authentic and individual experience. If customers feel they are tweeting into a void, they definitely won’t continue interacting with your brand on that platform nor will they think to share their praises. 

Customers that utilize Twitter and other social channels for support are actually, in a way, sharing their personal identity with the company. They’re giving the agent insight into their own life by engaging on a personal profile, because of this they expect a human response back. If they wanted to utilize a self-service mechanism or speak to an agent they would have-- therefore, taking advantage of the more personal nature of social can be a key in forging long-term relationships with customers. 

Successful companies do this by signing tweets, including their agents’ names in every response, and crafting individual and unique replies to actually single customers out. By initiating a more personal tone, customers feel welcome to share their concerns or (hopefully) kudos.