The WooCommerce Voice
We aim to channel the WooCommerce voice in every bit of branded content we create and add to the worldwide web. Life is short and words are everywhere, so best we choose thoughtfully. Every word our customers read is a tiny pixel in their overall perception of us, and we need to paint a coherent picture to form a relationship with us.
Words can elicit emotion, inspire action, add value, and make magic in people’s minds; or they can be vanilla, boring and just get the job done. Words have the power to build brand affection and create connections.
Big brands – such as Coca-Cola and MailChimp – have a distinct feeling about them. We believe a brand’s voice goes a long way in making it personable and strong brands work hard to inject something identifiable into all written communication. We try to do this, too! When customers read our content, we want them to feel Woo in every word.
No piece of copy is exempt – the thread of our brand needs to weave through everything from product copy and tweets to checkout messages, promotion Ts&Cs, blog posts and the way we sign emails to our customers. If you spot something that sounds glaringly unlike us, call us on it. We will reward you.
Consistency doesn’t mean sameness, as our team is composed of many individuals and voices, after all, yet WooCommerce words should strike a familiar chord. The language we use will differ because each of us is different, but there is a spirit and a flavor that is overarching. Keeping this in mind helps us when crafting content.
Addressing a customer as an individual is an opportunity to create a connection. A careless word, a sarcastic response, or something written in jest that gets lost in translation and is taken the wrong way, can start fires that are difficult to extinguish.
In tickets we use snippets for efficiency but, where possible, we always add something that makes the interaction unique. Perhaps acknowledging someone has been waiting unusually long, wishing them well on the eve of a new year, sharing that we’ve visited the city the customer lives in. Anything that shows we are humans goes a long way in building customer loyalty and retention.
Our tone is always respectful, always patient, and always humble. We promote honoring one another and speaking to others as we like to be spoken to.
The WooCommerce Website
We sell products to people everywhere, and it is important that our copy is non-jargony and not boring, and gives people what they need to make a good decision. Our product page usually has one or two playful bits but for the most part explains what’s necessary. The checklist below is a rough guide of what ought to appear on every Woo product page:
- Thoughtful product title
- Short description + longer description
- Video + image(s)
- Link to docs and demo
- Who develops the product and provides support
If you see a page that is lacking or a way we can make it bettere, give us a nudge.
In every blurb or description, attempt to add a little something that pops and is an adventure to read. Copy shouldn’t be plain, and people’s attention spans too short. This applies to our Jobs page, About page, home page, and customer stories. It also applies to messages in the dashboard.
We have a number of emails that are sent to customers as part of transactions with us, e.g., Orders, payment, renewals. We use them as opportunities to relay important information but also to highlight who we are.
Ensuring our brand voice is heard without overkill helps us understand emotions that someone might experience when receiving mail – account suspension vs. account upgrade. Transactional emails should mirror the moment they’re attached to.
We send mail to customers each month with roundups of news, product releases, survey requests, etc. These contain our tone, and are always signed by individuals. Our email philosophy: Honor people’s inboxes! We keep an eye on unsubscribes and are focused on sending mails that people feel excited to open.
On the blog
Our blog has multiple authors. Articles cover a broad range from products, tips, and case studies to customer and agency stories, and they reflect the true voice of an author. For guest posts, there is no expectation to write in the Woo voice.
Successful social media communication is predominantly about empathy. When someone reaches out to us, we need to work out what they are feeling and respond as quickly as possible.
The tone on social media can be more casual and friendly than on product pages, but we’re never over-familiar or make assumptions because one knows what anyone is personally dealing with, and what is going on at the precise moment you collide online. Maybe someone is having the worst day of their life. If there are clues or indicators about what emotions a person is experiencing, we factor that into our response and mirror it back. If they are frustrated, we acknowledge this. If they are making jokes and having banter, we can take a chance and do the same.
Social media is primarily for connecting, inspiring, educating, and entertaining, and anything we share or say is framed to include one or more of those areas.
When a customer resorts to social media to vent about an issue, it must ideally:
- Be resolved immediately – give them the answer in one-go
- Be acknowledged and then taken offline quickly (trolls be trolling)
Social media accounts are very public spaces and conversations that happen there are live and watched. This has varying implications. Firstly, everyone is a lot more sensitive and self-conscious. Never reply in a way that makes people feel stupid. Even in cases where someone is asking something silly, turn it around and make them feel glad they got in touch. If we take longer than 6-8 hours to reply, it’s much like a tennis game when someone returns the serve after two weeks.
Once someone is upset and on their soapbox, it can be quite hard to get them off. We need to respond quickly, gently, and respectfully. Acknowledge frustration, let them know what action you are taking, and then take steps to ensure it won’t happen again. Publicly providing long and technical answers creates an expectation that we are willing to do this again and again, and we want to instead build a community where members report problems directly in live chat and tickets or a support forum, not on social.
In early 2014, we decided to retire our dedicated @WooSupport handle. More at: Why We’re Retiring @WooSupport on Twitter.
Anyone who takes time to share a compliment or reach out to us will get a reply, and this reply is personalized in some way. Be curious, not creepy, and read their Twitter bio and include a detail about them or look up what they ordered.
It is crucial to play it safe on social. Keyboard confidence makes normal, meek people into aggressive werewolves. If ever we make a mistake, we relish the opportunity to show we’re not robots.
Customer support and emails
Our mission is to help people. This is the driving force behind the quality of our email, live chat, and ticket communication.
When crafting replies to customers, we strive to make them a pleasure to receive and read, and this affects and informs everything from response time, layout, choice of words, spacing, line breaks and spellcheck to making sure the email signature is awesome and ensuring that attachments and links are included.
Unlike social media, tickets and live chats are from individuals and not written in our collective WooCommerce voice. They are professional and friendly, with recognizable hints of our brand voice in choice of words. We use full sentences and always start a mail with an appropriate greeting and the customer’s name, and end it with a professional closing statement with our name and email signature.