Why you should reply promptly to comments

reply promptly

Do you remember your mother telling you to reply promptly to whoever sent you birthday presents? I suppose this is considered old-fashioned now, as thank yous are usually carried out verbally when receiving them.

My grandmother was a stickler for courtesy, and bread-and-butter letters were an absolute must. We were forced to write them as soon as possible after the event. Any delay would have been considered rude.

I smile whenever I receive thank you letters from my nephews and nieces, knowing the nagging that must have gone on to get them to reply promptly. And yet, this is preferable to not knowing whether the present was a success or not.

How quickly do you reply to comments?

In fact, do you actually reply at all? I am guilty in forgetting to reply, let alone replying promptly, to comments as soon as I receive them. There is a check button in Settings > Discussion which should notify me whenever a comment is posted, but it seems to have given up on me...

Comment notification via email

What I really ought to do is to regularly go into my blogs to check for comments at the same time as updating plugins, etc. Or recheck that notification button again. Forgetting to do these simple tasks might show a blogger who doesn't care about their readers.

And, of course, remembering to reply promptly to comments isn't confined only to blogs. Social media makes it easier for prompt responses, but even so, the constant engagement notifications delivered by my phone has also caused me to turn them off lately.

Remember your manners...

We are constantly bombarded with social media, which we are expected to respond to immediately. Most of it is trivia, so likes, emojis and memes will certainly suffice. But there are occasions, especially if you are running a business, when more effort is required.

You know your readers, followers, customers and advocates are your life blood. They should not be forgotten, overlooked or pushed further down the to-do list. They should be treated with the priority that they deserve.

This is when the necessity to reply promptly comes into play. Regardless of where you receive your comments, you need to have a strategy in place to be ready for them, if you know how important they are to you.

Take a look at the infographic below:

Why you should reply promptly to comments

And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.

We live in a world of immediacy

Since Web 2.0 reared its head over the parapet, we have become accustomed to receiving information in real-time. I know Web 2.0 allowed us to spontaneously respond in situ to whatever had stimulated us, but before spam, even blogs were able to publish comments immediately, along with their replies.

The luxury of immediate responses means people now expect an instant reply. Conversations can ping-pong with increasing rapidity, albeit sporadically in a bitty-format, triggering instantaneous responses from all quarters as the discussion develops.

However, this means people's expectations have reached a high level. 75% of queries posted on social media expect a reply within 24 hours; 42% of them within the hour! In this 24/7 world where nobody seems to sleep, you have to reply promptly in order to keep up.

The importance of showing you care

If you want to get your readers, followers, customers or whatever on your side, you need to let them know how important they are to you. Therefore the best way to do this is to reply promptly to their comments, enquiries, questions or points of view.

How you achieve this is in the manner you respond. Appreciatively let them know their opinions matter to you. You don't have to approve of all of them, but certainly disagreeing politely using necessary tact will certainly go a long way.

It is the very act of replying which shows how much you care. You have taken the time to read and respond. Your actions show you take what they say seriously, and have taken time to think about an appropriate answer.

React positively before things become negative

Anybody who is expecting an answer, and one doesn't materialise, will soon get frustrated, annoyed and disgruntled. This is a hotbed for negative thoughts, which can soon get out of control and spread accordingly.

This doesn't mean you need to be on tenterhooks, poised for whenever a comment appears to suitably pounce on it. But it doesn't mean leaving your comments, on whatever platform, for several days before giving them their due attention.

If you reply promptly, you could avert any negativity which could possibly brew due to neglect. Successfully spread positivity by answering a question, solving a problem or making a difference to your commenters' lives.

Keeping the most important people sweet

Swift replies are paramount when it comes to customer services online. On many websites, the only way to successfully make contact with a query is through social media. Queries via chat bots end up going round in circles, as the specific question doesn't tally with what they've been programmed with.

Satisfaction is vital if you want happy customers. Especially if they have been bamboozled by an annoying bot. Having an actual human replying quickly to their disgruntled tweet could make all the difference to whether they stay as a customer or not.

Since it is now impossible to phone or email large corporations, it is imperative their customer services online are second to none, and are not governed by AI. Customers want immediate communication with someone who understands their predicament, rather than battling with an algorithm.

Reply promptly to keep up appearances

There is no need to instantly be ready with the correct answer. Customers will be perfectly reassured with an acknowledgement saying you'll get back to them later with the answer. However, remember to return within an appropriate time if you want to maintain your reputation.

It is this human element which has the influential effect. You use ordinary words and phrases to strike up a rapport through empathy and understanding. Very similar to what happened over the phone in the old days.

This genuine desire to help the customer is what makes the difference. You need to be interested in them, rather than trotting off the usual spiel from pre-determined responses. Customers who are made to feel special are much more likely to return.

Wanna guarantee that sale?

If you are successful with your prompt replies, and manage to solve the problem, answer the question, strike up a conversation, and satisfy your customer, it is highly likely you will achieve a sale or gain a new client.

There is no need for the usual tacky sales-talk. The pushing technique only alienates people. What you need to focus on is pulling people towards you by saying what they want to hear, and offering what is important to them.

And you can use commenting via social listening to do vital research about your customers, to find out what they want, what interests them, and how when you reply promptly the effect this has on them.

How necessary is comment replying?

Imagine you have poured your life and soul into a comment on someone's blog, or to an opinion presented on social media. And you sit and wait for an answer, and nothing happens.

I suspect you'd be pretty annoyed, even perplexed, at this total disregard for your efforts. Why did you even bother if this is the reaction you are going to get?

This is why it is important to reply to your comments. Take a look at the infographic below:

<Why you should reply promptly to comments

And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.

Welcome people in with open arms

Blogs should not consist of one-sided conversations. Closing comments turns your blog into an ordinary, non-interactive website. Web 2.0 means they are not designed to act like that. The ability to comment is a phenomenon which should be embraced.

Therefore engaging with your readers and followers is imperative for a blog's success. It is the same for social media profiles. The fact you can reply promptly encourages conversations, starts discussions, highlights opinions and opens up others' points of view.

Social media isn't just somewhere to promote your lifestyle. This is where you can communicate with others, talk with them freely, find out about them, and how you can help them (and they for you in return).

Find out more about people who matter

Any platform online benefits from having an audience or following. Otherwise you would be talking to the four walls of your office without any feedback, getting more despondent as to whether what you are doing is worthwhile or not.

However, if people did bother to comment, they would certainly be pleased with a prompt reply. Get it done soon enough and they may even be still around to answer it. Striking up a conversation will soon result in a new and possibly loyal friendship.

You can use these discussions to find out more about your readers, and in return their feedback will help you to improve what you can offer them. And taking this onto social media opens it up to a wider audience, who might equally be interested in what you're talking about.

Be a human within a world of automation

Use comment replies to showcase your personality, which may not be so obvious in your original post. Here you have more of a free rein to express yourself in a way which could entice or encourage people to respond.

Replying revealing you're human can have a big effect on people, providing a sense of relief they are talking to an actual person. Now they can communicate properly, without having to do battle with the intricacies of AI and algorithms.

Chatbots cannot joke or empathise with feeling for predicaments. Neither can they suss the most appropriate words or salutation for the presented demographic. Sometimes spending half a minute doing this correctly before tackling the main point of the query could win you several rounds towards respect and trust.

How do you want people to view you?

You need to seen as is someone who wants to make a good impression and win the trust of their followers. Taking time to reply promptly to comments with the most appropriate attitude could help towards this.

Engagement is about communication, conversations, making connections. Treat it like talking to your readers, customers or whatever, only you're doing it via a comment box or within a social media thread.

But at the same time, be aware of how you are coming across. Be chatty, helpful, forthcoming, enthusiastic and funny, but at the same time consider how what you say will effect others, how they will react, and how this enhances their perception of you.

Take advantage of safety in numbers

A lively blog or social media profile, with ready responses leading onto spirited discussions, certainly becomes more attractive to not only your regulars, but to others passing by as well. And also to the algorithms commanding reach throughout the social web.

This frequency, combined with a welcoming mindset, will contribute towards amassing a large audience. The ability to reply promptly certainly applies here, especially if you want to maintain your newly founded community.

Allow your regular readers to feel comfortable about returning. Give them what they want to talk about. Make them feel special, needed, wanted, appreciated, and encourage them to start their own discussions within your space.

Steal a march over your competitors

How effective is your online customer service? Even if you're not available 24/7, how frequently do you attempt to check and reply to comments, queries, complaints, even testimonials and thanks?

The art of replying effectively is to be available to answer. You could state on your website the hours you are able to respond, which is certainly applicable to small businesses or solepreneurs. However, sticking to this is imperative.

Businesses and organisations who are able to provide suitable, reliable and applicable customer service online, managed by humans through platforms which can watch several channels at once, will certainly be miles ahead of their competitors who aren't doing this.

Ready to reply promptly from now on?

How swiftly do you respond to your comments? Is the ability to reply promptly having the desired affect? Are your customers satisfied, your followers energised, your readers happily returning to read more of your posts?

Always remember the old adage: "People buy from people". This doesn't mean outsourcing your replies to agencies, filtering your enquiries through automated bots, entrusting algorithms to do you dirty work for you.

Unfortunately this means using humans to talk to other humans, through the power of real-time social media. Proper conversations. Real connections. Prompt replies. Making the world a better place.

Let me know what you thought about this post in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.

Alice Elliott
Check out these awesome related posts...
And let me know your thoughts about this post below...
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}