The Recommendation Age – The Law of Responsiveness

| November 14, 2014

Social MediaBob Hutchins, President of Buzzplant and the Keynote Speaker at the Christian Professional Network Conference in October, 2014, has Five Laws for Success in The Recommendation Age of Business. The first three laws concern Consumer Confidence, Authenticity, and Transparency. This article concerns Law #4 – the Law of Responsiveness.

When I’m asked what I like most about marketing, I can fire off a lot of answers. But one of the things I love most about this business is the challenge of maximizing my client’s resources. How can I make the biggest splash using the limited dollars that have been allocated for a project?
I could spend days talking about the “dollars-to-splash” ratio, but there’s one particular “big splash” strategy that is especially deserving of mention: social media responsiveness.

Brands that put their money where their mouth is by being alert and ready for online conversation see a huge payoff. The payoff is a snowball effect of spreading consumer recommendations that millions of dollars spent on Super Bowl commercials and other media ads will never reach.

My Personal Anecdote About Social Media Responsiveness
A few years ago, I found myself scrabbling to get between two terminals in Dallas/Fort Worth’s massive airport. Poking a little fun at the size of the facility and myself, I fired off a quick tweet: Forgot how big DFW airport is. I guess I won’t need my evening run tonight. I was surprised to read a response from the DFW business office just a minute later: We like to keep our customers healthy (smiley face). Next time you can use train [such and such] between terminals A and B.

It was just a brief exchange, but it meant a lot to me. It brightened my day, relieved some stress, and hacked away at that feeling of anonymity in a big place away from home. It took very little effort on the airport staff’s part. But now, whenever I think of DFW or social media customer service, that little anecdote pops to mind. To point out the obvious, you’re reading a satisfied customer testimonial for DFW right this very minute!

The Four Rules of Social Media Responsiveness
We all have to make budget cuts – I get it. But if at all possible, please don’t cut the budget that allows your team to respond to customers on social media. In today’s Recommendation Age, consumers expect you to be responsive. In fact, 42% of consumers expect a response on social media in 60 minutes or less. Companies who can’t meet those expectations will get left behind.
Rule 1: Be attentive.
First things first. Pay attention. KLM does a fantastic job with this on their Facebook page. Happy and disgruntled consumers alike receive responses within minutes – if not seconds – of posting.

Rule 2: Keep it simple and real.
For small- to mid-sized businesses, having a round-the-clock staffer hanging out on Facebook and Twitter just isn’t feasible. You can make up for a slightly delayed response time by having a social media customer service person that’s authentic. Be straightforward, honest, cheerful, and helpful. Instead of typing a customer a curt, impersonal response like, “Well did you read the directions?” try something like, “Hmmm! I’m not sure why that happened. Maybe we should start at the beginning. Do you have the directions handy?”

Rule 3: Remember that trolls and haters feed off fear.
When a troll shows up, it’s okay to offer a cool, professional, and impersonal response – if you offer any response at all. Trolls only want to drag you into the ring for a fight. Any reasonable customer who comes across the scathing, spiteful review will understand why you chose to stay out of the ring.

Rule 4: Make your CRM system user-friendly.
Lastly, if you’re using a separate customer service workforce, make sure your customer relations management (CRM) system is user-friendly. If you want your team to attract new customers and retain existing ones, you need to give them tools that are natural extensions of human thought. This will make being responsive on social media easier and more effective.

Category: Management

About the Author ()

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Email | Website | Bob Hutchins (Franklin, TN) runs Buzzplant (, A 12+ year old Internet marketing agency targeting the faith/family market. His team was an integral part of the online campaign for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, Soul Surfer, and many other movies, books, music releases, and events. His client/partner roster includes Time-Life, Sony Pictures, General Motors, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Warner Brothers, Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan. He is co-founder of The Faith-Based Marketing Association and Ground Force Network, and has been featured on Fox News, MSNBC, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Fortune Magazine, MarketingVOX, American City Business Journals, Dallas Morning News, and on various television/radio media. He is also the co-author of Faith Based Marketing, published by John Wiley and Sons, and his second book- The Recommendation Age. He also teaches Social Media Marketing to MBA students at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.