When it comes to customer service on social, it can be difficult to find the right tone of voice for your brand. But nailing your social customer service voice is part of what creates a positive customer experience.
Is your brand fun or serious? Are you team emoji or text only? Will your CMGR sign their initials, names, or nothing at all?
While these questions might seem trivial, the answers will build consistency in your brand message and help set your brand apart from the rest.
What’s Your Vibe?
We’re all familiar with Wendy’s social strategy. They are experts at serving up savage, though “punny” burns that show they are fun and sassy without crossing the line. They have certainly nailed their social customer service voice!
Now let’s be clear, not everyone can be Wendy’s. As the article linked above says, they have a very specific audience, and when it comes down to it, they’re only selling food.
That being said, they are the perfect example of a brand who has found their voice. Does your brand want to be sassy? Or are you more conservative? Do you want to be seen as fun? Or is sharing information more important to you?
One of our clients describes their social customer service voice as “Fun – but not Wendy’s. Conservative – but not stuffy.” Even that short description is helpful in guiding our team in how to reply to their audience.
There’s no wrong answer. The important thing is that your entire team is on the same page, from community managers to upper management.
How Animated Can Your Team Be?
There are many ways to bring life to your replies from your punctuation choices to emojis and GIFs. Here at B Squared, if we can work a trending GIF into a reply, we’re going to do it! At the same time, we manage social for clients who would never use them.
On the other hand, even some of our more conservative clients are open to using emojis when appropriate. A winky face, a cup of coffee or high five emoji can do wonders in making your brand feel accessible and fun without diminishing your authority.
Whether you’re team emoji or not, it’s once again important to make sure everyone is on the same page. Consistency is key when it comes to your brand’s social customer service voice!
What About Sign-Offs?
You’ve probably seen a lot of variation in how brands sign-off on social. Some choose to skip them entirely while others ask CMGRs to sign-off with their first names. Our suggestion to most clients is to at the very least leave their initials.
The overall point of signing off with your name or initials is to show the customer that a real person is listening to them. As the capabilities of AI continue to grow, letting your audience know that your brand is taking the time to genuinely engage with them can go a long way in building brand trust. As you should be well aware of by now, it’s important to stay human, and sign-offs are an easy way to add a personal element to the conversation.
Our favorite example of this comes from a post from a Skyscanner user that went viral a few years ago. While using the service, the user was given the option to take a 47-year layover in Bangkok. Skyscanner’s community management team’s reply went viral:
Skyscanner’s brand voice is demonstrated in many parts of this response, but let’s focus on the sign-off. Notice that the community manager Jen closed with her name – along with acknowledgment that she’d be looking into the glitch (see, it’s not ALL fun and games!)
In this case, the use of her first name made Jen’s response even more effective. I’m not sure it would have packed the same punch if she hadn’t signed-off or only used her initials.
This case is another where there is no right or wrong answer, it’s about what works for your brand. If you’re not sure which approach feels right, initials are a great place to start, as they add a human aspect that is often lost in online customer support processes.
We vs. I
Recently, while developing a brand voice for a client, the conversation about using “we” versus “I” came up. It was pointed out that although it may feel right to use “I” when you will be signing off your name or initials, it can make it seem like the community manager has a separate stance from the company.
For example, replying to a complaint with “We know that’s really frustrating,” instead of “I know that’s really frustrating” helps present a united front. You can even use both alongside each other such as in this example:
“That’s not what we like to hear. I’d like to help if I can. Would you send us a private message so we can try to improve your experience?”
The above demonstrates that your brand as a whole agrees that the situation is not one they’d like their customers to experience, while also making it clear an individual is on the other end.
The Situational Sorry
Some of our clients require that we apologize right out of the gate when a customer makes a complaint. Others like to keep apologies for certain situations, these have come to be known as a “Situational Sorry” at B Squared.
As we mentioned in our blog post about customer de-escalation, offering an apology can be key in diffusing a tense situation. If a message comes in where a customer is clearly very upset, a situational sorry may be in order just to help calm them down.
In other cases, the problem being experienced could be due to user error. Your brand may not want to offer an apology in that case and instead may go with:
“Hi Jack, it sounds like you might benefit from this How-To video [insert link]. If you continue to have trouble please private message us so we can assist you further!”
While you’re not offering a “sorry,” you are still being helpful to the customer.
If you do decide to employ a situational sorry strategy, make sure to create a document your community management team can access and edit where you collect examples of when to respond with an apology and when to skip it.
Go Forth & Develop Your Voice!
Start developing your social customer service voice with the prompts above and you’ll be off to a great start in improving your brand’s customer experience.
Remember, it’s not about right and wrong and more about consistency and authenticity! Create an iron-clad vision for what your brand is and then decide what that means about how you’d like your community management team to respond. Having variation in replies, listening to the customers’ tone, and building a rapport will keep the human element in your brand without sacrificing structure. And don’t forget, there are plenty of examples of brands killing it that can lend you some inspiration.
How do you define your brand’s customer service voice? Tell us in the comments!
Leah K. Williams
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