With the speed of our digital society it’s no longer enough to sign up for social media networks to build relationships with your customers. In fact having a consumer response strategy will help you build trust and maintain everlasting customer relationships. BlackEnterprise.com contributor S. Lynn Cooper provides your brand with four tactics to build relationships online with your customers:
Empathize with the consumer
How you respond to someone is just as important as when you respond. Refrain from responding to a consumer with the attitude that they are a problem. Instead, show them that you understand their concern and apologize, if necessary.
You should always make them feel appreciated. Take your online relationship with them offline by offering a direct point of contact via telephone. Consider using a Google Voice number that is dedicated to customer service that way no matter where you are the number can be forwarded to someone who will answer, as well as keep track of the calls received.
Also, consider empathizing with the customer when they share a good experience as well. Show your gratitude by publicly thanking them and, if warranted, spread their message to others within your network. This encourages others to share their experiences and thoughts with your brand.
To help develop beneficial relationships with your customers, show them that you are paying attention to what they are saying online, use the feedback to build your business and be ready to offer them a solution to their issue. Provide multiple places where you can facilitate conversations—try a forum on your corporate website, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Create community rules for these forums so that appropriate actions will be taken should rules be violated.
When your customers share experiences, they are not only imparting feedback for you to use to improve your brand, but they’re also educating other customers who may have similar questions. Organize and archive these conversations on your website to serve as a living FAQ.
Keep it going
Customers are the fuel that your business needs to continue. Without them you will be closing your doors very soon; thus, to create relationships, a lot of continual attention and effort must occur. Discuss amongst your leadership what course of action your business can take when it comes to maintaining customer relationships today—and where you would eventually like it to be. Create a solid strategy and stick to it.
Now it’s your turn. How have you used social media to support customers and create brand loyalty? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead .