What Do You Say?

Remember when your mom used to say that to you as your prompt to say “Thank You”?  Well, it was one of my mother’s favorite lines.  Maybe it just seemed like that because she had to say it so often.  Ok, so I’m a little slow on the uptake.  Take heed mom.  It worked.

Anyway, as I reflect on my recent trip to the SOCAP (Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals) conference in Atlanta this week, this was my big take-away.  Sure, there were plenty of learnings, many great people I had the pleasure of exchanging ideas with and loads of content.  But this little nugget from David Alston, VP of Marketing at Radian6, was the winner in my view.

David was a panelist on social media in customer service that I had the privilege to moderate.  Also on the panel were folks from Omaha Steaks, Mars Chocolate, Gallo Winery and The Coca Cola Company.  The discussion was robust, as we covered a myriad topics from engagement guidelines and staff skills to organizing around social media and coordination between customer service, PR and Marketing.

In the course of the discussion, it dawned on me that the general concern in the room was focused on connecting with and finding solutions for social customers in need, whether those customers be angry and dissatisfied or simply reaching out for answers.  But, David raised a point that has potentially been overlooked by customer service professionals.   And I’m not so sure it didn’t sail quietly by many in attendance this week.

Social media has provided companies, and in particular customer service, a unique opportunity to engage with happy, satisfied customers in a way never before available.  So, unless you’re company is so universally despised, I have to assume you have more than a few customers that like your company and its products and service.  I’m not even talking about the advocates or raving fans, just those that generally dig what you do for them and are talking about it somewhere on the social web.

David’s recommendation? Find them and say “Thank You”.

In customer service, we have been programmed over time to be in constant problem solving mode; to turn those dissatisfied customers around through our skill and passion for the trade.  So, it might just be a simple issue of opening our eyes more and spending time looking for and engaging with a few more happy customers.   Social media gives us that opportunity.

Make engaging with those customers a priority within your social customer service engagement plan.  You deserve it.  Your happy customers deserve it.  They’ll thank you for it.


  1. Hey there Barry,

    It was great to finally meet you in person Barry. That SOCAP crew was so welcoming and the discussion was top notch. Really glad I had the opportunity to speak on your panel with such great advocates for social business change.

    And without trying to sound too obvious, thanks for sharing my thoughts on the topic. If a business has a goal of building relationships with their community/customers you just can't go wrong remembering to say "thank you."

    See you at the next SOCAP event if not sooner.


  2. Hi Barry, great to meet you at the symposium as well!

    Thanks for calling this point out – you're right, I think in our efforts to manage the risk and exposure, we often give disproportionate weight to the “squeaky wheel” without acknowledging the loyal and happy consumers who are already our allies and brand advocates. I know as we write our procedures we’re trying to take the best of all these approaches!


  3. David,
    Same here. Hard not to get a positive vibe hanging out with a bunch of customer service folks. Never short of convo! Your participation I think really helped to validate the participants' opinions that customer service really is a critical linchpin in the entire social business ecosystem.

    Look forward to contining our dialog.

    thanks for stopping by and again, for the inspiration.


  4. Claire,
    thanks for stopping by and commenting! That is actually a really great and bold move! What a novel concept! How about a metric? How many happy customers did you engage with today? In a perfect world the ratio of happy to total will someday be 100%.

    Best of luck as you (we both) move forward together.


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