Imagine this scenario - I’m out to eat at a nice restaurant. The food is delicious. I see the chef passing by my table and compliment him on the wonderful work. He continues by me at a hurried pace without even making eye contact.
Or perhaps this - I go to the front desk of the hotel I’m staying at and advise them that the A/C in my room isn’t working and it’s 100 degrees. Without response, they continue shuffling through papers or some similar distraction.
These things just don’t happen in real life. So why do they happen in digital everyday?
A recent Sprinklr report suggests that 80% of brands think they provide superior customer service while only 8% of their paying customers agree. That’s an enormous disconnect and unfortunately one that I see firsthand each and every day.
It’s difficult to understand exactly why it’s so complex for companies to move from broadcast to engagement. It may be the ‘public’ nature of social. After all, we’re generally good with such interactions when they’re in person, on the phone or through email.
Perhaps it’s a question of accountability. We’re so wired to approval laden processes such as press releases (which by the way, no one reads) that we’re uncomfortable representing the brand at an individual level.
Regardless of the why, we’re missing opportunities to embrace the simplest forms of engagement right now.
Here are some easy steps to get started:
First off – Stop talking about yourself and start listening a bit. My colleagues are tired of hearing me say this, but we do have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Everything should start with listening. Everything.
And while you’re at it, look beyond the @ mentions of your brand. Consumers may be talking about you instead of at you. That's a subtle nuance that dramatically influences how you tune your ears.
There’s an important sub-lesson here to understand how consumers express themselves about your products or services. Think 'iPhone 6' versus 'Phablet'. If you’re not in tune with their language, you’re going to miss the gold.
Now let’s move on to some rather simple engagement… How about issuing a ‘thank you’ when someone says something nice? That could be as simple as ‘Thanks for stopping by. We’re glad to hear you enjoyed your stay with us."
It's not rocket science, but it sends a very strong message to the consumer -They're important to you.
When we thank someone in person, we establish an emotional connection. The same carries through to digital. And studies show that consumers will spend more money with a company they feel an emotional connection with.
Dealing with the negative is a bit more complex than the positive so I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, start to tone your engagement muscles by simply saying thanks.
You’ll be surprised at just how much the basic etiquette of in-person interaction carry into the digital world – And how much your audience appreciates you being… Human.