People like to connect with people — and that applies to the business world, as well. Research indicates that people are more likely to buy from brands for which they feel an emotional connection. Brand affinity leads not only to increased sales — it also drives customer trust, advocacy, and retention. With the advent of social media, the opportunity is ripe for businesses to show their human side and engage on a more personal level with customers.
What does it mean to “humanize a brand?” It means showing that real people — and thus values and culture — are behind the corporate logo. So how do you go about humanizing your brand? Below are three ways RingCentral, the company I represent as a social strategist, has made our business more human to our customers.
1. Provide customer service across traditional and social channels
RingCentral is in the business of keeping businesses online. We understand that when customers reach out for help, they expect a timely response. That’s why we offer 24/7 phone support, as well as customer care via Twitter, Facebook, the RingCentral Forum, and any other social channels where customers post inquiries. Our customer service employees are trained not only to solve customer issues, they are also expected to express care and empathy.
Surprisingly, a whopping 70% of Twitter complaints are ignored, according to research firm Maritz. Ignoring customer complaints has a pretty serious downside: 89% of customers switch to a competitor following a poor customer experience, according to a Right Now Customer Experience Impact report.
Bottom line: show you care about your customers by responding to customers across any channel where conversations are taking place about your brand.
2. Express personality, sincerity, even humor
For too long, businesses have adopted “corporate speak” language. As consumers, we’ve all heard it: the cold and distant tone of voice, annoying business jargon, and generic catch phrases like, “we’re sorry you feel that way.”
Talk like a normal human being. Whether you’re on the phone or on Twitter, speak in a conversational tone. Eliminate business jargon. If you’re really sorry for the customer’s experience, apologize directly and take some ownership, e.g., “we’re sorry for your experience, and we’d like to ease your frustration.” That’s true sincerity.
When it’s appropriate, be humorous. This shows a fun side to your business and spreads some joy among your audience. On the RingCentral Facebook page, we occasionally infuse humor and fun through trivia questions and photos with captions.
3. Publish behind-the-scenes photos and videos
Capture employees in action as they’re working diligently, collaborating with one another, or enjoying company festivities. Images and videos of employees working and having fun are a very impacting way to convey that there are real people behind the brand. It also shows the value and culture of the company. All these elements work to personalize your brand, thereby deepening the emotional connection with your customers.
Additionally, humanizing your brand can make it an attractive place to work. Recently, RingCentral was listed as a top employer brand on Instagram by SmartRecruiters, who observed that “Ring Central employees are happy to be working! They feature pictures of Ring Centralers in all sorts of places. We really get a feel for the type of people that work there. By putting faces behind the brand you can establish personal connections with viewers.”
Instagram isn’t the only place where we showcase the bright, lovable faces of our employees. We regularly post photos and videos of executives and employees to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. Watch the silly TGIF video below, and check out our behind-the-scenes playlist on YouTube.