Understanding Your Social Customers

Following on from my recent post, ‘Embracing Social Customer Service’, I want to offer a closer inspection of the ‘social customer’. The growth of social media platforms has been accompanied by the evolution of this new type of customer. An understanding of your social customers is an important step towards effective customer service on social media estates.

Social customers’ interactions with brands and businesses online are fundamentally different to those of traditional customers. They are often impulsive, driven by the emotion that the customer is experiencing at the time of posting.

A categorisation of the different types of social customer can help to effectively manage and engage in social customer service. This post identifies three of the most commonly seen types of social customer:

The Ranter

This customer is simply out there to complain. Most of the time, they are not seeking help, they are purely seeking attention from their friends or followers. They have had a negative experience of your brand or business and they want to warn others for this reason. Be wary of responding to this customer’s outbursts, as engagement is likely to escalate the situation. An attempt to convert may end in tears.

A word of warning: properly assess the situation if you are considering engagement. Check to see if the customer has any previous contact history logged in your systems.



The Attention Seeker

This customer wants your attention! So give them it, and fast. This customer has taken to social media because they are seeking an immediate response. It’s likely that they have been frustrated by your traditional customer service channels and they are now vocalising their problem on social media as a last resort. This may also be a modern customer who has previously used social media as a customer service platform – they have high expectations and expect your brand and business to deliver through social media. Don’t be frightened by this customer’s complaints, there is an opportunity for you to deliver great service and in turn create a brand advocate.



It is essential to understand the difference between The Ranter and The Attention Seeker to avoid sticky situations.

The Promoter

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad. There is also a social customer who supports your brand or business and they use social media to let others know that they have been pleased with the product or service delivered. Be sure to say thank you to this customer for their kind words and think about potential opportunities to create a super-fan.




Take action and spend time understanding your social customers. Make sure that agents participating in social customer service, are also au fait with the different needs and motivations of customers who are vocal in the social space – it will result in more effective social customer service.

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