How Canned Responses Can Work for You
When are canned responses useful?
Canned responses (also called scripts or templates) were already being used in email but they're equally useful in social media. When people address your company on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, you should give satisfying answers. The faster you can help a customer, the better. That is why it is important for your social media managers (or customer care agents, community managers, etc.) to know how they should reply. Via training and manuals you can define your workflow and a specific tone of voice. Once this is settled, you can make your workflow more efficient with canned responses. These come in handy when
- There is some typical content you often share: help articles, FAQs, whitepapers, etc. Include the links to this content in canned responses so you don't have to go and look them up.
- There are difficult questions customers often ask that require a complex answer. For example: people will often reach out to companies asking them to sponsor a certain event. Unless the event really fits your company's identity, you probably won't agree to this sponsoring. If so, you need a corporate approved answer explaining the reason for your rejection. A simple "No sorry, we don't do this" isn't sufficient.
And that is when canned responses are a blessing. In both cases they save you lots of time and energy. There's no need to keep reinventing answers if you already have perfectly good templates.
How to use canned responses
It's important to carefully think about which canned responses you need. You should base this on your social media managers' experience. They know which (difficult) questions tend to come back and thus need a standard answer. Once you have an overview of all the canned responses you need, you should structure them. Use clear titles the social media managers can use to browse for the appropriate canned response. Use tags to label them with relevant information. An example: when someone sends you a message on Facebook asking to sponsor an event. Canned response:
Use with caution
To many people canned responses sound horribly wrong in the context of social media since they might take away the social element. However, canned responses don't mean you should operate like a robot, picking the right response and never adding a personal touch. Make sure you personalize your answers. Make them specific for each situation and edit them as you please. Canned responses should save you time but you should make sure you still sound human.
You should also take into account the different nature of the several social networks. Twitter requires responses of 140 characters or less. Facebook and Google+ give you more space to utter your response. Use tags to label canned responses that can be used for Twitter, Facebook, etc.
If your social customer service is already up and running, now is the time to start working with canned responses!
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