One Simple Way to Retain Subscribers and Keep Them Happy

Patrik Lehti
Sep 10, 2018 3:05:00 PM

What is the one simple thing that can:

The answer: Social media comment management.

Actively responding and replying to customer feedback on social media can make all the difference between:

  • Whether customers perceive your brand positively or negatively,
  • Whether they stay or rush to click that 'Cancel subscription' button, and
  • Whether you need to keep finding new subscribers to increase profits or your existing subscribers are generating the majority of profits. 

For subscription brands, customer retention and satisfaction should be the number one priority, because this entire business model is built on stable, recurring income generated by monthly or annual subscriptions. 

If customers are unhappy, that's a problem.

If customers are not sticking with your company, that's also a problem. 

The Importance of Managing Customer Comments on Social Media 

Nowhere are customers more vocal about how they feel towards a brand than on social media. Customers today treat social media as a preferred channel for support (to avoid jumping through hoops of automated IVR call routing or filling out a form to open a support ticket), with 18% of those who contact a brand using social media expecting a reply in less than one hour, according to Statista

Additionally, the average response time for a brand to reply on social media to a user is 10 hours, while the average user will only wait 4 hours, as a recent 2018 study by Sprout Social found.

In case you're still not convinced, here are a few more statistics compiled by Invesp

  • It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is a mere 5-20%.
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
  • And most surprising of all - 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition while just 18% say they have a greater focus on retention. (Talk about an opportunity to stand out from the competition!)

If you are a growing start-up, it is only natural to focus on growing your subscriber base as big as possible. However, when planning for the long run, it's so important to get customer retention right.

What if you are already doing a great job managing customer engagement on organic social? That's excellent! However, the comments that most often get overlooked by brands are those made on unlisted ads that don't appear on your brand's Page. Inquiries made on ads receive much higher reach and visibility compared to the organic side, reaching tens of thousands of users, compared to organic posts that are only seen by those who visit the page. 

It is just as important, if not more, to carefully pay attention to these comments. 

How to Effectively Handle Customer Comments

We recommend a three-step approach to effective comment management - the three Rs: Recognize, React, Respond.

1. Recognize

Before you can respond to customer comments, you need to be able to first detect and recognize these comments when they are posted on your social properties. 

What kinds of harmful comments should you be recognizing and identifying? In our experience working with large advertisers to help them manage brand engagement on social media, we recommend paying close attention to the following categories of comments:

  • Customer inquiries / complaints - Most of these comments require responses, and responding promptly can help drive a sale or stem frustrated customer backlashes.
  • Positive customer feedback - On the flip side of customer complaints, you may also receive glowing customer reviews praising your product or service. Responding to these comments could make the difference between a happy customer - and a loyal customer for life. 
  • Spam and scams - These include links to fraudulent websites, click-bait article links, and other content that distract from your brand message and could be potentially very harmful to your customers if they click on them.
  • Hate speech and other offensive content - Trolls are an unavoidable part of social media, but as a Page moderator, it is important to attend to these comments to keep the experience clean and positive for customers interacting with the brand. When users see a brand ignoring or leaving vulgar, discriminatory comments up, it could lead to negative associations or the brand being perceived as "not caring". 
  • Competitor promotions - Due to the decrease in organic social reach, unrelated businesses and influencers may try to ride on the huge reach that your ads have and promote their own content instead. While this is not critically damaging to brand reputation, these links lead people away from the content you are spending money to promote and decreases the ad's effectiveness and return on ad spend. 

2. React

The next step is to react to these comments you have identified.

Harmful comments (spam, hate speech, competitor promotions) - We recommend that these be hidden instead of deleted, as experience shows that when users are aware that their comments have been deleted, they get even more angry and tend to respond by posting a flood of fresh comments. Not great for brand appearances.

Hiding a comment means that it stays visible to the person who posted it and Page managers (Admins, Editors, and Moderators), but cannot be viewed by others looking at the Page. 

Positive customer feedback - These comments should be Liked to show appreciation and to let customers and fans know you've taken the time to read their comment.  

Customer inquiries and complaints - These should be escalated to the right team members so they can be handled in a courteous, professional, and prompt way. 

3. Respond

The final step in effectively engaging with customers on social media is to respond to comments that need to be responded to. 

Positive customer feedback - Thank the customer for their feedback. In your response, you could even point them to more content / product recommendations that they might be interested in. For highly engaged fans, you might even want to consider inviting them to an invite-only community group linked to your Page for them to interact with other like-minded fans and your business. 

Customer inquiries and complaints - In our experience, we have found that prompt and courteous responses go a long way in diffusing angry comments. Often, the user responds back in a calmer tone thanking the brand for the reply. 

Following a few simple steps when replying to customer inquiries and complaints can go a long way in keeping customers happy and also contributing to a positive brand image when others notice the brand engaging on social media. Here is a simple outline you can use to respond to such comments:

  • Thank the customer for their question or complaint. ("Hi Marty, thanks for taking the time to let us know about this." "Hi Jane, thanks for your question!")
  • Acknowledge the situation. ("I'm sorry to hear your delivery has been delayed." "We understand there is a lot of anticipation about when the products will be released in Europe.")
  • Tell them what actions they can take next to get what they are looking for. ("Could you privately send us your order number so we can investigate further?" "Sign up for our mailing list to be the first in the know when our products are available at a store near you!")

By following these three simple steps - Recognize, React, and Respond - you'll be on your way to driving increased customer retention and happiness. 

Want to learn more about how BrandBastion helps brands manage their social media engagement? 

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