Customer Service & Social Listening: the 5 Second Rule


Content manager at Brand24 | Writer & Host of #SocialRecap

The 5 second rule has been widely popularized in western culture, referring to the amount of time that food is still “safe to eat” after it’s been dropped on the floor. 5 seconds is not long. There’s not much you can do (or finish doing) in such a meager amount of time. You can stand up, sit back down, you can sneeze…. or you can make a life-changing decision.

That’s what Mel Robbins writes about in her most recent book The 5 Second Rule, which she sums up like this:

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”

Makes sense. I know that if I’m not driven to action soon, things tend to progress… slowly, let’s say. (I own a pair of skinny jeans. They’re sitting in the back of my closet. I think they’ve been there for 2 years now. They may never see the light of day.) Great ideas aren’t easy to come by, but follow through can be even tougher. Mel’s advice is simple but important, and when you think about it, the 5 second rule can apply to anything, even social listening. Maybe especially social listening.

How many times have you missed out on a golden opportunity just because you didn’t react fast enough? Have you lost customers because you waited too long to get back to them? Or maybe you weren’t slow, but your competitors were faster? Apply the 5 second rule to your customer service strategies and stop losing out to your competition. And once you’ve gotten a handle on juggling all the customers that you’ll retain this way, you can also use this rule to increase their numbers.

Brand24 can help you with this – and it’s free!

First things first: how do you implement the 5 second rule in your customer service strategies? You start by responding to your customers as quickly as possible. Easier said than done. The fastest way to do this is through social media. That’s where your customers are talking to (or about) you. If your responses have been snail-paced or you’ve been neglecting social as a meaningful avenue for customer service, these 21 stats may change your mind.

Use Brand24 to find instances where your customers are trying to get your attention across various social media platforms. Start by entering keywords that you want to track. Suppose I worked for Joseph Enterprises and I wanted to find customers who’ve been talking about Chia Pets. I’d start by selecting keywords or phrases that are likely to be mentioned in a conversation about, well, Chia Pets. I would then enter those words into my project. This is what that would look like:

After setting that up, I’d start receiving notifications in my project dashboard about any on-line mentions containing those keywords. For Project Chia Pet, I got results like this:

The first mention is a no-brainer. As long as I’m paying attention to my Twitter account, I can easily respond to customers that address me directly.

The 2 examples after that depend on whether I’ve been tracking mentions about my product hashtag. As you can see, this is definitely worth doing, especially if you’re interested in increasing sales and developing good customer relationships. And now you know how. It’s pretty easy, right? Just think of all the on-line conversations about your product / brand that you’ve been missing out on. No more! Set up your own project with Brand24 and let the tool collect this information for you.

In the mentions above, Chia Pets have neither been addressed directly nor via hashtag. The audience is doing what comes naturally, and just talking about the product casually. Unless you’re using a social media listening tool like I did here, these can be much harder to keep track of. And then you’d lose out… on sales opportunities, customer engagement opportunities, and, ahem, entrepreneurial inspiration. I, for one, am intrigued by the notion of growing a Chia Pet using different seeds.

And to engage your (potential) customers, all you have to do is click on a mention from your Brand24 dashboard and you’ll be able to respond directly. Benefit from receiving real-time notifications of any on-line mentions regarding your brand / product and make it work for you by responding in real-time.

The 5 second rule doesn’t give you long to work with, so you better make it count. It only takes 5 seconds to make a life-changing decision. No pressure. Make it one that will improve your customer relations and help you increase their numbers.

The key thing to remember is that 5 seconds is just enough time to act, and act fast.

It’s tempting to put things off, especially when you’re busy, but some things can’t wait. We’ve all been there – get swamped with work and miss an e-mail from a good friend… days turn into weeks into months. Suddenly, the message is no longer at the top of your inbox. It moves to your 2nd page, your 3rd, and finally… you have to use the search field to find it. By then, it’s kind of late to respond. You love your friend, but… awkward. Next thing you know, you’re at her wedding, sitting at a corner table sandwiched in-between her husband’s 5th cousin twice-removed and his dentist’s dog walker, straining to hear the maid of honor as she makes her toast to the happy couple’s eternal bliss. I may or may not be exaggerating; this may or may not have happened to me. But I digress. And please don’t pity me. Just don’t make the same mistake I did.

Show your customers you care by reacting as fast as possible. You were efficient enough to use a tool to find their conversations about your brand / product. Now go the extra mile and show them you care by reacting as quickly as possible. Avoid getting seated at the ‘extra’ table across from a hunter who barely made the invite list… did I mention that I’m a vegan?

More overshares coming soon. In the meantime, remember to NOT follow in my footsteps and use a tool to find and listen to your customers so you can react to them as quickly as possible.