What was the last text/SMS message or social media comment you received? Was the message about getting together with friends or family for a meal or maybe some playful banter about the latest sports rivalry? Or maybe the message said something like, “Need grocery items. Can you stop on your way home?”
I get this message often from my wife. She and I use digital communication during the day to coordinate plans and stay connected. The trend of constant digital connection points like email, Twitter, and SMS are essential to how more and more young professionals are staying connected to both personal and professional relationships. This desire for dialogue and connection, of course, is not a new phenomenon. I’ve often quipped that the first Facebook was the local post office or tavern (think Cheers) and the very first Instagramers were cave men.
Humans have always been social communicators. Which should lead one to the logical conclusion that communication is less about technology and more about human social behavior.
Brian Solis, author, speaker, and principle at Altimeter Group says that, “Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” Brian speaks to large companies and brands about the vast importance of the human interaction with consumers on social channels. Think about the tweet that complains about a delayed flight or the less than expected customer service at a restaurant. Or how about the email that a client sends demanding an explanation of the invoice? It is true that ‘How’ and ‘When’ a business responds to a customer’s complaint is important, but the first step is to ensure that there is a response. I agree with Brian that social media – whether external (FB/Twitter/etc) or internal (email/Yammer/Red e App) – is more about social behavior than technology. However, I would add this statement about the technology though:
The most important and powerful button on any social media platform is the ‘Reply’ button.
A business replying to a complaining customer means that the business cares enough to find out what went wrong. An airline that replies back to a disrespected passenger does more than give out free drink coupons; said airline proves it is human. This type of human response from a large brand / company to a customer / employee is the way forward for those seeking successful and fruitful relationships with digital communication.
Replying to every email, every tweet, every social comment isn’t easy to scale. I get it. It takes a concerted team effort especially for large brands working in many countries and various languages. Even though technology provides consumers and employees the ability to communicate quickly and instantly in the digital age, it doesn’t mean that the human need for social interaction and dialogue has changed. It hasn’t and it won’t. The only thing that has changed is the reply ‘button’.
Red e App Product and Engagement Director