As customer interactions have increasingly shifted online, it’s become essential for brands to interact with their customers on a more personal, informal level to provide the exceptional experiences which will keep them coming back.

However, this is far easier said than done. The competition is fierce and every company, from retail to automotive, is vying for the attention of these tech savvy consumers who can be dismissive or critical of half-hearted, impersonal attempts to join the conversation on social media.

The key to achieving genuine engagement is to listen to what consumers need and reach out proactively in a relevant and meaningful way. People don’t want to feel like they are speaking to a robot, or receiving a generic, scripted message which they can see has been sent to numerous other users on Twitter or Instagram – they want personalised interaction.

Our latest Omnichannel Monitor study revealed that 60 percent of the 1,000 individuals surveyed said they much prefer to have human contact when interacting with a business. It is a challenge to replicate this on a large scale, but by investing in employees with the right skills and also technology, brands can consistently deliver tailored, authentic experiences across their social media channels.

An example of a brand which has boosted its customer satisfaction by adopting this approach is a Spanish telecom provider which launched in 2014. The business wanted to establish itself as an exciting, cost-effective operator for young digital natives. It identified that delivering memorable customer experiences on social media would be crucial if it was to create brand awareness and advocates in such a highly competitive market.

To do this, we helped the business build a team of skilled community managers that could engage and resonate with its target audience in a personable way. The team monitors for posts on Twitter and Facebook and quickly reaches out to consumers proactively, providing offers and support using personal, informal language that demonstrates proximity, creativity and confidence.

This frequently prompts customers to proactively share about the quality of service they receive from the brand, which has helped to build awareness.

In addition to engaging with customer queries and mentions, community managers proactively tap into current topics and trends and engage with key influences to boost brand awareness and organic reach on the company’s social media channels. For example, the team gave a song by Spanish songwriter, Carlos Sadness a fresh twist using its own with unique content and branding and built it into conversations about his upcoming concerts.

This achieved 21,000 organic impacts and 4,500 interactions, which is comparable with a £4,500 ad campaign.

As a result of this approach, the operator has gained over 270,000 clients in Spain in just three years and increased its Twitter followers and Facebook fans by 94 per cent and 159 per cent respectively. On top of this, the business now has organic Twitter and Facebook engagement rates of 3.5 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively, which are significantly higher than the industry average.

The brand’s success highlights some of the fundamental principles of how to achieve strong social media communications. Developing a team with the right skills is central to achieving this success. The team of community managers were selected and trained to ensure they could cultivate and embody the human face of the brand on social media.

The recruitment strategy was also tailored to capture people that were creative, proactive, personable and culturally aware, with excellent written communication skills, and a background in social media or online marketing.

It was also key to create a governance structure that was fast and flexible, firstly to make sure quick decisions could be made on responses to difficult enquiries, but more importantly to ensure that community managers had the authority and trust to engage with customers on any topic.

Once the right team had been assembled, we equipped them with monitoring technology that could capture and analyse consumer behaviours and the content, tone, language and engagement of each post.

With this insight, community managers are able to optimise their interactions with customers to ensure they create positive sentiment. It was also important that the search terms used to monitor social media were constantly reviewed and updated, so they can could continually identify relevant activity to interact with.

Most importantly, the operator’s success shows that delivering personable experiences can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction, which in turn can deliver improvements in loyalty. Clearly social media is a key avenue to achieving this, but brands should not limit this human, personable approach to social media – it should be integrated across all of their customer service operations.

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